Saturday, March 29, 2008

When a story's done

What do you do when you've finished a story? I remember a college creative writing prof recommending we bury a story in a drawer for three months and then come back and rewrite it with fresh eyes, which isn't all that different from what I do typically. Usually once I finish the first draft, I give it a day or so and then do one quick polish of the story before posting it for peer critiques. Then I'll let it sit for a while--not always the full three months, but something like that--before I return to it for whatever revisions are necessary. Then I have both fresh eyes and the comments of critiquers.

I finished a story about a week ago...but I haven't gotten around to that second step of a rough polish and posting. Am I suddenly having a bout of over-protectiveness? Does some part of my brain recognize that the story still needs something else before I can get helpful critiques? Am I just feeling lazy about writing? I don't know, but I thought hearing what others do might be interesting and helpful.

4 comments:

Paul Abbamondi said...

I finished a story last week, printed it out for a final edit, and....have not looked at it since. Will today.

Generally though I finish a story and submit it that night. But some I know just need a second hard look before they can go out into the scary world of slushpiles.

Daniel Ausema said...

So quickly? There have been stories that I've turned around that quickly--like if it's for a particular themed anthology or something, even as recently as Shimmer's clockwork issue--but usually I like to have a bit of a gap in there before I decide it's ready.

Thanks--I like to see how various people approach such things.

Jana Lubina said...

After I write the first draft of anything, I let it sit for a week before taking it out for minor grammar/spelling and "flow" changes. Afterwards, if it's going to a crit group or partner, I send it out and promptly forget about it until they get back to me.

And than the real work starts; including a line by line edit with Elements of Style open and by my side... literally. Writing is easy. Editing is a freakish nightmare.

(Oh and "Hi!" I just randomly got here and felt like sharing my .02)

Daniel Ausema said...

Hi Jana--thanks for stopping by! I agree that editing tends to be my weakness. Not so much nitpicking and such for spelling and grammar, which is fine, but when either other readers or my own inner editor recognizes that something needs a more serious revision... Yeah, then it's easy to get lazy.