I’m in the middle of writing a flash fiction story for Karen Michelle Nut’s Halloween Flash Fiction Bash. My story will be on her blog on the 17th. It’s 99% done, and I could simply give it a proofread and send it in. If I did that it wouldn’t be the best story it could be. The temptation to send that story ASAP is great. I don’t want Karen to worry that I’m going to be late. The earlier I deliver my story, the better and more reassuring for her. The story, however, needs a little polish.
I’ve been reading a lot of indie fiction recently. I’ve read some terrific novels. I’ve also read some novels that could have been terrific if they hadn’t been rushed to publication. I’m not talking about misplaced commas, tricky antonyms and creeping apostrophes. These are writers who have conquered all the little details. They have solid plots and good characterization. What they don’t have is that final polish. Sections feel rushed. They lapse into narration to get from one good scene to another, and almost lose us in the morass in between. The dialogue gets the job done but doesn’t sparkle or sound authentic. The balance of the story is sometimes off, or little details weren’t researched as thoroughly as they needed.
All of these are issues that can be solved by revision. Nobody I know likes to revise. When you first write something, it’s like falling in love. Everything is new and fresh and beautiful on the first pass. Revision is that relationship stage where you argue about whose turn it is to take out the trash and you find your beloved’s socks all over the living room floor. I’m sorry to tell you that somebody has to take out the metaphorical trash– that is, do your revisions. If you skip those deep revisions and call it done after a spell check, you short change your writing. Your writing deserves better; it deserves the best that you can give it.
So let your story marinate a bit. Revise it with a clear eye and a cool head. Don’t let the new story energy fool you into hurrying things along. Your faithful readers will love your work even more, and you’ll build your craft as a writer as well.
- One line, a thousand thoughts. (brunelwriter.com)
- Flash Fiction vs. The Epic (quilltwist.wordpress.com)
- On Crit Groups and Editors (laurabrewer.us)
- Revision (megabert.wordpress.com)
- Revise Revise Revise (patriciachats.wordpress.com)