Editing: Court of Scales

Last night I finished switching Court of Scales from first person present to third person past. It was a fiddly initial pass and I still have other things I need to do--making sure the story elements line up, making sure the characterizations come through, making sure everything is described so someone who isn't me can 'see' it, etc.

Then, all day today I agonized, because every time I sat down and opened up the story I couldn't think what to do with it. Literally. I just sat there staring at it, or avoiding staring at it. I couldn't wrap my head around working on it. I couldn't even get my fingers to type. They sat on the keyboard, poised, and did nothing while I stared.

I kept coming back to it though, over and over. Trying to figure out how to proceed. It's not the first short story I've edited and it's not that difficult a story. But something about it bothered me, and I couldn't figure out what.

Hours later, having come back to it several times, I got sick of it and deleted the entire first paragraph. And, lo and behold, suddenly the story made sense again! I had started in the wrong place, with the wrong thing, and because of that every time I looked at the story, I couldn't move past it.

The killer is that I knew this. In the back of my mind, where it waited fairly quietly until BANG! I had complained about the story to my fiance several times and every time I said things like "I just look at the first paragraph and can't get any further." *shakes head at self* Sometimes it goes that way.


Anonymous said…
Short stories can sometimes be way harder than novels to finish; because in a novel, you'll take the long way, even if it means more words. 'Cause it's a novel, you know, and it's okay if it's more words. But the long way doesn't work in a short story, 'cause you're afraid it'll turn into a novella.

Good post! Can't wait to read this short story...:D

Marion Sipe said…
I totally agree. Novels have more room for characterizations and description, and more time for things to develop.

This "short" story is already up to 8,000 words and I'm starting to get wary! I think the main issue is going to balancing the backstory with the action of the immediate plot. I'm having more fun with it now, though! :D

I can't wait for you to read it either! :D

Also, is the next chapter of Reversing Roles the last one? I've kinda been obsessing. *blushes* :D
Ryan Sullivan said…
"The killer is that I knew this. In the back of my mind, where it waited fairly quietly until BANG!"

A classic symptom of the Dark Corner of the Mind.
Marion Sipe said…
I think our subconscious works these things out while we're distracted consciously with other things. I find that, given enough time to mull a thing over, it will usually come up with something.

Of course, it's mostly in the middle of the night, but I'm not complaining! :D

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