Time to Revise

I set out to write a short story. I worked through the draft and it took longer than I anticipated mainly due to the research involved. The next step is editing. I am not a fan of editing. I recognise the importance of the process, the refinement, removal and alteration achieved through editing is fundamental in turning a merely ok story into a good one. I just find the process agonising. I’m sure I’m not alone.

My story has been drafted and now I need to take the next steps. A couple of people have read it and offered comments, which were greatly appreciated. They pointed out things I should have considered earlier. I need to check the science again, the timing of actions and events. I also need to make a choice.

The story sits at around 9000 words. It’s in novelette territory. Too long for a short story and not long enough for a novella or novel. I could cut it back by a couple of thousand words, but by the same token, there are aspects to the setting, characters and plot that could be followed. It could push into novella or novel territory if I think it feels appropriate to do so. It could be a serial. I think it potentially has the set-up to be any of those longer forms, and ideas are percolating. But… I set out to write a short story. Maybe I should cut it back, pare away those aspects that speak of larger actions and setting related machinations to focus on the core story. I haven’t decided yet. I’m waiting on some more feedback, I’m also going to finish a first edit, then leave the story for a week or two, get some freelance work I have on the docket completed, and come back to it with fresh eyes.

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As for the first edit… This has been reading through for consistency. I also made a list of words from various online articles and blog posts that I should look at removing from the story. In MS Word I used the ‘find’ and ‘replace’ functions, replacing the words with highlighted versions of themselves so I can run back over and find them more easily. Then spot, hopefully, whether those words serve a function, whether they need to be rewritten or whether they can be cut.

Two useful sites I found some solid advice for words to avoid are TheWritePractice, and the website of Diana Urban. Both are well worth checking out!



It’s a Start


I have finally finished my first draft of the short story I was considering in my last post.

It was a fight.

Not because of the fiction aspect, which I enjoyed immensely, but because, for better or for worse, it turned out to be a science fiction story leaning toward hard sci-fi.

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I had to research. Hours of research. As much time researching as spent writing. Maybe more.

I am no rocket scientist, and yet I spent hours reading about Delta V, orbits, the use of radar in space, specific impulse, and Indonesian swear words. Writing is funny like that.

I feel relieved to have finished. Elated. The next step lies ahead: editing. I am not confident I have all the science correct, so I need to check it and have it checked. I am not confident the story builds to a satisfying climax, so I need to have people read it, and I need a break away to come back to it. There are many things I think will need to change, and the emphasis on some things early on may need to shift or be removed. It may also be the start of a novel, and if it is, then that needs planning, otherwise I need to cut the word count significantly. So much to think about, and much to do.

All that aside however, the first draft is done. Done. Done and I am thrilled. I have the next story lined up in my mind (the next half a dozen truth be told), so we’ll see how it goes. I need to come back to this one, but I want to spend time away to asses it properly. It may be a week, it may mean writing something else in the meantime. Either way, I loved it, and am looking forward (strangely) to editing it.