Developmental Edits: Complete!

I’m on vacation this week, but I wanted to update on how my editing on my current WIP is going. When you last tuned in, I had gotten back my developmental edits from fabulous developmental editor Kathryn Craft. After a few hours of despair (“I can’t do this, it’s too hard!”) I buckled down to it and found that it was not as hard as I thought. In fact, it was a challenge that I ended up enjoying!

Put succinctly, my main problem was that some of my scenes were out of focus, not keeping the main underlying idea front and center. Luckily, I was able to keep most of my scenes and just refocus them (explained in more detail in this blog post). I only wrote 2 completely new scenes and a half of another one. The rest were all repurposed with judicious trimming and adding of content. The edits Kathryn suggested helped a great deal–the story really came together.

Working hard, I managed to finish all those edits BEFORE I left for vacation. I’m going to let it sit until I get back, then go through a final polish/tighten edit. With all the cutting, pasting, and adding of words, I only added a new 513 words, but I would like to trim the whole thing down by about 1,000 words to get it to my ideal word count. Shouldn’t be too hard!

Then (drum roll, please!) I start the query process and see if this manuscript has legs!

Enjoy the end of summer, everyone – I am!

Comfort Zoning Out

I admire people who can write short stories well. You’d think that as a writer I wouldn’t be so wowed by people who can write a good short story, but I am. I’m also a little jealous, because the short story is not an easy form for me.

I have written short stories, but none of them have lived up to the best short stories I have read: the ones that make you see a piece of life or human behavior in a completely new way, or that turn a situation on its head so that you think about things you never thought about before, or that simply leave you haunted and unable to get the story out of your head for days – or years.

My comfort zone is writing long. I’m a novelist at heart. But every once in a while I think I should hone my short story skills. I know it would help my long writing and in the market today short stories are a great way to help build an audience online. So lately I have been considering returning to the form and giving it some more elbow grease and education.

It’s hard to stretch beyond your boundaries and try something new in any area of your life, and writing is no different. Learning a new skill set or refining a little-used one takes time and perseverance. But recently a colleague challenged me to write a story using a genre I wasn’t very familiar with. At first I thought I wouldn’t try it. But then I decided to take the challenge and I have found that I am having a great deal of fun doing it!

So maybe now is the time to return to the short story and try to master it. I feel a little like I always do on my first day at a new job—wondering if I actually have the skill to do the job, and if I can learn everything I need to learn to do well. Since I have never met a job I didn’t master, I know I can meet the challenge of the short story writing and triumph.

What writing challenges have you faced and mastered?

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