It’s fascinating how stories can develop during the editing phase. I thought I had discovered the main scene for my Last Line piece, but now that I’m re-reading it I’m beginning to alter my own perception and it’s changing in my mind. Because of this, I think I might be converted on the editing front: I think I might actually like it!
The story has a word limit of 1,500-1,700. The issue I am writing about – a mother’s acceptance that her daughter is a transsexual – is a major issue. Therefore, trying to show the change in such a short amount of words is very challenging. But, I’m always seeking out new ways to test my writing ability and I want to explore if I can get such a character reversal in a short piece like this.
As a result, the story has altered several times and is still not fixed. The key, I think, will be getting the tone right. It’s a big ask – for a mother to accept her daughter as her son – so I need to identify a clear starting point that will allow my protagonist to move forward and yet, give her the opportunity of exploring the past with a new understanding, so that she can arrive at the conclusion that her child is her child, no matter what sex they are.
It’s also a sensitive issue, so it has to be handled with tact. I could have chosen a much easier solution to those last few words of ‘I never saw Emma again‘, but something about this story makes me want to write it. If I can get it to work then I think it could be an interesting take on a relatively unexplored topic. Whether or not it will be suitable for Writing Magazine is something I’m not yet concerned with. As I said, this is a story that seems to be compelling me to write it – as challenging as it may be – so I’m going to stick with itand see where it takes me.
I’m getting to know my protagonist quite well now and I believe I’ve captured the reasoning behind why she finally accepts her daughter becoming her son. It’s actually the means by which to prompt this change that is altering when I re-read my current attempts. There has to be a sense of simplicity for this story to work in such a limited frame, and it is in determining this that I think the character reversal will be most believable. There’s also the question as to whether to be upfront about the issue right from the start, or to withhold the transsexual nature of her child until the end, as part of the climax.
After all this, I’m beginning to find the fun in editing. It’s the questioning: the ‘what if’ game; the constant barrage of possibility that results from reading my writing with a critical eye. It’s the identification of those perfect coincidences that you often find in other authored works and realising that these can be built into my own story just as sneakily as they might have been woven into theirs.
It’s enlightening because I’m starting to see the improvement in my writing from one draft to another. I can see progress, and that in itself is rewarding. I’m rising to the challenge and enjoying it.
Finally, I understand why editing is such a key part of writing and how it needs to be included as part of the skill of writing itself. Who knew that editing could be just as much fun as the writing?