As much as I hate getting rid of the good stuff I’ve written, I’ve found revising and rewriting to be a satisfying experience.
One of the most pleasant aspects of the work is revisiting older pieces of writing–pieces that were written a year or more ago. I’m sometimes surprised at how much I like them. I also can see where they are lacking detail, dialogue or logical sequence. I also find paragraphs that are odd, awkward and just don’t fit with the story I’ve written despite my fondness for them, I kn ow they have to go. I keep a document titled Excess Copy. It contains sentences that didn’t quite work, short pieces of narrative that are interesting, but don’t quite move the story along and a few half completed essays that seemed like good ideas at the time, but didn’t develop or grow quite right.
So far, I’ve revised all of Noah’s life stories and one from after his death. That means I’m about halfway through the revision process. I asked my author friend, Adam Schuitema when he knew something was done–that it didn’t need more revision. He told me when his short stories are published, they’re done. I think that’s great advice and until more of my pieces find homes in literary journals or as a book, I’ll continue to revise and refine.