- Don’t write your story by committee.
- Do send it out!
Let’s look at those in a little more detail.
- DON’T write a story by committee.
Despite all my invaluable revision tips, in the end, what makes your story idiosyncratically YOURS is important. It is good to listen to your critiquers, but you are the final say. Especially if you and your stories tend to be an outlier (if you have an unusual voice, or subject matter that doesn’t seem to be in vogue) then you may have voices telling you to change. It can be hard to determine when you need to listen to those voices, and when you have to listen to yourself. You often have to KNOW the rules before you can break them (IE, you need to know WHY you’re going against the grain, and understand when that’s the right choice.) As Daniel Tiger sings: Keep trying; you’ll get better!
- And DO send your story out!
I don’t recommend revising a story or novel for years and years. I look back at my earlier work, and I think: I would write that differently now. But is that always a good thing? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Yes, I have some skills now I didn’t then. But on the flip side, my current obsessions are different than when I was writing ten years ago. I was chewing over different themes. Just because I wouldn’t write something now, doesn’t mean it wasn’t good to be written then, and sent out then. I encourage you to do the same.
Thanks for following along with the Revision Chronicles! Check back next month for a new topic!