I think I’m finally in the home stretch of edits for my latest short story, “Out Where the Sun Always Shines”.
What I’ve been doing is highlighting the bumpy passages in red (using Word), then retyping, retyping, and retyping until I get something I don’t hate. I leave it there for a night, then re-read the next day. If I’m going, “Why the heck is this red? This is fine!” I change the color back to black and forget about it. (In some cases, I even Frankenstein
But in this final run, I’ve noticed I’m dead-ending on a few passages– even though I’ve run through them a few times, they’re just not working for me. So what I did yesterday was grab some 8.5×11″ scratch paper. Then I visited each highlighted section in the story. Instead of typing, I as many variations as I could by hand, just free-writing, almost as if I was writing it brand new. At one point, I filled 3 pages with different variations on a single sentence.
Tedious? …Actually, no. Tedious to me is doing the same thing over and over and over again with no visible result or change at the end. When I polish, I’m attacking the problem phrase or paragraph from as many different angles I can think of (cerebral! creative!), and when it’s done, I can see the improvement. Hard work, yes. Repetitive and boring? Nein.
Don’t get me wrong–I’m at the “ARE WE THERE YET?” stage. I’m ready to be done with the story. But I’m thrilled to discover that editing is just as satisfying as writing.