Friday, October 05, 2007

When is a story finished?

Answer: For me, when it's published.

I'm always pulling out old short stories, some I wrote as far back as 15 years ago. Sometimes I find the story just isn't that good, so I put it back in my collection file or close its really old file on my really old computer. But other times I find there is still something in the story, something I believe that makes it publishable.

In those instances, I go back to work on the story. It's extremely rare, maybe two out of some 30 or 40 stories,that I feel very little work needs to be done. Usually a pretty massive rewrite is involved. Sometimes it's just a matter of editing andcutting.

See, it's like this: I'm a better writer now than I was then. I'm also a better editor than I was then.

This doesn't mean I'm a great writer, nor that I don't have room to improve,but it does show my skill level has risen over the years.

Every once in a while I'll look back at a story I wrote nearly 20 years ago,in my late teens or early 20s. None of those stories are worth a rewrite, though I have found a few character names there. Still, it's fun to look back and see just how bad I was.

And how much I've improved.

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