Writing tips

Writing Progress Update 8/24/16: When to Revise

Photo credit: crdotx via Foter.com / CC BY

As promised in my opening post, here’s what I created and worked on last week:

  • A couple of blog posts (one a review, which I’ll post in the next day or so)
  • Tweaks to a finished story so it was short enough for a submission (it was just a shade over a 4k word limit)
  • Story submissions to a few magazines (this is writing work too… otherwise I avoid it)
  • These tweaks helped break the ice for me to keep revising a story I’ve been working on with fantastic elements

That last bullet is the important one. I want to keep the blog going and it helps keep me in the writing game, but I need to get back on my fiction. And that story has also been one of the things I’ve been avoiding, and I need to stop doing that.

Sometimes it can help to sit on a story that is frustrating you when you just aren’t sure how to deal with it, coming back to it when you have the desire to fix its issues (on some levels with writing, you have to want to say something, as Fitzgerald argues for here). But at some point, you just have to deal with the thing–otherwise it’ll never happen.

And I so want this story to happen. It’s my first story that has a clear fantastic element to it. Even better, it’s something of a Ray Bradbury-esque story, where one change from our normal reality makes for terrific and even disturbing insight (like “The Veldt”). I love stories with fantastic elements, but it turns out that a lot of my ideas have just been straight realism so far–for whatever reason that’s just how it’s worked out. I had this idea during my first semester working on my MFA (three years ago!), and I had to start working on it right when I got home, I was so excited about it. I had a great first draft and revised it well that first semester, but then I had to leave it behind while working on other projects.

So yeah… finishing it would be a great milestone for me. The difficulty is that it’s like 95% of the way there, with some really tricky tweaks needed to make its main character and his situation work as they need to. I’ve been tossing and turning on how to make those tweaks, which has led to avoiding it. They’re just not going to happen without me looking into the story and digging into it, though.

That’s me and what I’ve been working on. What have you been creating this past week? How have you been connecting with the world, rather than avoiding it?