Some Thoughts on Editing

After I created my “about” page for this new website, I decided to add my most polished stories. As I did so, I stopped and reread parts of them. Generally, I still love them as much as I did when I first posted them. However, some rough patches jumped out at me. I’ll have to go back over them again to smooth them out.

This, I think brings home the greatest challenge in editing: Namely, being patient enough to set aside a story which you think is done and very clean. And then, after not looking at it for several weeks or months, to come back to it with fresh eyes. It may seem counter-intuitive to let a story collect dust as it were before sharing it. Moreover, simply handing it over to an editor is not the answer for me. Before I have someone edit one of my stories, I want it to be as perfect as I can make it. This is not mere pride. I find the story as I write it. If I give someone something that is not fully cooked, so to speak, the editor will give me their critique, and in the jumble of the partially-form story and the critique, I will lose (and actually have lost) the story.

So, the moral is, let your stories collect a little dust, and then come back to them. They will thank you for it.

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7 Comments

Filed under Ramblings

7 responses to “Some Thoughts on Editing

  1. Good advice. I’m doing a second draft of my novel and left that alone for about 5 years. That is maybe too long, but at least I’m coming at it with fresh eyes 🙂

  2. Totally agree that a little distance from the work gives us a better perspective. It’s amazing how different things look when we give them a little cooling off time. Both the positives and the negatives.

    • tkguthat

      Sonia, sorry for the delay in responding…Very true. It’s a lot of fun to come across a line and think. “Wow, that’s pretty darn good!”

  3. Let them air, yes! If I begin editing, I force myself to edit the whole darn thing again, not just a part. Even the next day, the reading isn’t as fresh, Robin

    • tkguthat

      Robin, thanks for stopping by the new blog! Yes indeed. For longer stories I try not to reread anything but the last paragraph I wrote before pausing the previous day. Until I get into a grove and find the story, I’ve found that editing just makes me crazy, fixing things that may not need fixing, and generally forcing the story this way and that. As you say, let it breath 🙂

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