I’m in my happy place tonight, my house on Langeland. Easter holidays are here and they’re going to be all about writing, reading, baking and board games. I can’t wait! If I haven’t solved my IT Manager career crisis by the time I have to leave, I’ll be incredibly surprised.
I’m on the same sofa I’ve been sitting on, on and off, in different houses, for more than thirty years. We really never throw furniture away in this family. There are candles and tea cups and chocolates on the table. My son is on the other sofa, snuggled up under his duvet, and I’m editing my short story.
Normally when I edit, I edit as I go. I start correcting at the first mistake I find and don’t stop till the last comma. Today I’m trying something different. I want to get a real feel for my story. I want to just immerse myself in my characters’ world and see if it rings true. Every time I stop to change a comma, I lose that feeling. I’m thinking of the form and not of the story. Once I finish cutting half a paragraph or adding a little here, I’ve lost the sense of where I was.
I’m finding that this method of editing requires a lot of self-discipline. And I mean a lot. The kind of self-discipline I usually only need to draw on when there’s cake in the room and I’ve already had two slices, but it’s just so good.
I keep wanting to change a typo, a phrase, a slight duplication. I want to re-write, take something out, put something else in. But I’m trying really hard not to. I want to, just once, read my story through the eyes of someone not obsessed with sending it out there.
Having said all that, I like doing it this way. Part of me feels like I am taking time away from “real” editing, but I’ve sent part to the kitchen for more chocolate. I’ve never written a short story before, I’ve never been bound by a word count. I have to see if I can convey the emotion I need to with so few words, and I can’t do that if I keep jumping into full-on editor-mode. My characters are still angry with me for binding them in this short story when I had promised them a full-length novel. I hope I can do this well enough for them to forgive me one day.