Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Shrine War Draft Gets Cut To Shreds

Last night I met with two friends who have excellent editing skills. I had sent them the first rough draft of The Shrine War and we sat around my friend's kitchen table and began the dissection.

Let me assure you the first draft of any story is basically garbage. You, as author, are too close to the story to see the mistakes and the errors and that is why it is necessary to have an independent person look it over. Guess what they found?
  1. In the 11,800 word story, I used the word 'carefully' 16 times, sometimes repeating the word in the same paragraph.
  2. A Shinto shrine normally has two distinct buildings: the Haiden and the Honden. I misspelled 'Haiden' several times and in one case I confused the two buildings.
  3. In a number of sentences I had the action refer to the wrong subject.
  4. References made at the beginning of the story need to be repeated at the end to remind the reader of what is happening.
  5. I end the story with a character I introduced only by name at the beginning of the tale.
  6. And quite a number of other errors as well.
I was too close to my story to see these errors myself and I'm grateful for the experience of having the story reviewed.

Of course, I did not agree with every recommendation they made. In one instance they wanted me to explain the result of an action in greater detail, but I will deliberately kept the result vague so as to create suspense as it is a common trope in speculative stories.

So, I now start work on revision and correction. Like I said, some writers are talented and can churn out a short story every two to four weeks. My own experience is that it takes me about 6 months.

I feel no shame in saying that. Story telling is a subjective art. There is no set formula. If it takes you a year to write a short story, then that is what it takes. The name of the game is to have a finished short story that you feel good about, spit-polished and shining bright and ready to make the rounds of submissions.

Write on!

1 comment:

  1. One way to spot error is to publicly post what you wrote. The instant you hit the send button, that's when you eyes will start seeing the errors