A Story of Revision

I have this little story that only a handful of people have read. All in all, everyone agrees there's something good going on here, but I couldn't seem to put my finger on what wasn't working. The character was solid, a little narrative heavy, but only one guy is seen in the story, so I let that slide. I just didn't have a sense of where to take this ball of 90% and turn it into 100%. So, then I submitted it to my critique group. Like a white flag going up in a war zone, they spotted the issue and immediately everyone in the group recognized the problem. I had the story's beginning, middle, end, but I had jumbled it up and a portion I felt was middle material, they unanimously agreed belonged as the hook at the end.

It's times like this when you have to take your pride out of your chest. Remove ye ol' ego from your body and set it on the table behind you, drape a blanket over it like a sleeping bird in a cage, and turn around and go back to work. I totally saw their point, I just hated the amount of cutting, slicing, mending and glueing that would need to be done to make the middle the end and the end turn into the almost end.

There I was, author of this 3,000 word story about five or six pages long, staring down the barrel of 26 pages of rewrite information, notes, comments, little stars *** and these guys ~~ and other suggestions like, "this sentence adds nothing to the story. Cut." Sure, there were parts of the story they loved, the same parts I loved, but they saw the white flag and pointed it out in front of everyone. This is when I usually quote the movie Abyys and say, "It's alright, we knew we were going to see this" and shrug off the scratch to let it heal.

All good writers (and bad writers) need to be told when they fail, where they fail, how they fail, and why they fail, and if you are a good writer you'll let the sting subside, toss some vinegar on it, and get back to work. For the last month I've been actively converting the mass of suggestions into a story that is stronger, more deeply felt, and more long lasting than the original and it's all because I faced into the flame that is the revision process. If you can learn to do this, nothing will prevent your writing from growing or stop you from finding your full and true potential.

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