Submission # 25 and random thoughts on revisions

Sub 25 – Did some light revisions to the story that came back from F&SF (mainly tweaking the opening), came up with a (hopefully) better title, and shipped it out to Writers of the Future. This is my sixth entry to WotF.

Holding steady at 5 stories out to market at the moment. I’ve got one more almost ready to go (a flash story), and a bunch of things that need revisin’. Some writers thrive on revisions. I am not one of those writers. Little revisions I can handle, no worries. Tweak this, adjust that. But when I have to do more than just the minor stuff, I find it really difficult to get in there and revise. It isn’t that I get too attached to what I’ve written. I don’t look at a passage and say ‘oh that’s lovely, couldn’t possibly cut that.’ Mostly it’s that even with helpful suggestions from crits, I don’t know quite exactly what I need to do to fix bigger structural problems. Or how to implement them, but still have the story be the story I was trying to tell. Or something.

Anyway, I’m now experimenting with different methods for major revisions. Things I’ve attempted in the past include trying to re-write the story from memory (on the theory that I’ll remember the bits that are important and the story will be stronger the second time I write it; this doesn’t work for me *at all*), scribbling notes all over a printout of a draft and trying to implement them, and typing up several pages of stream-of-consciousness style notes about what I want to change in the story and trying to implement that. These strategies have generated a lot of frustration, and not much else. I think next up to try is re-outlining the story (I don’t always do an outline before writing a first draft, but it tends to work reasonably well when I do) and then re-writing the story from that. I envision this process to be more like writing a first draft (which tends to give me fewer problems, at least in terms of getting words out) and less like revisions. We’ll see if it works any better.

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