Posted by: oneyearbook | November 4, 2009


I forgot to mention that last week I sent a short story off to a magazine. And now this week I will send another one! This can only end well: either I will start a collection of rejection slips or I will get something published. Both would be steps forward for my career.

Anyway today I was looking at my most recent short story effort and considering what changes I’d made in it since the first draft. Is it instructive to note that it went from about 5,900 words in the first draft to 4,500 in the final one – and that 4,500 words was the exact length of the short story I finished in September? Perhaps. Then I decided to compare them more, well, visually:

Story draft 1

Story draft 1

Story final draft

Story final draft

Mexican Blanket A (on the left) represents the initial draft of the story. Each colour represents a ‘section’ – I was initially going to do it by paragraph but there were too many – and everytime there’s white space there’s a break in the story. On the right is the finished product, showing how bits and pieces moved around, sections were shortened or removed entirely, etc. There was only one part where I felt I needed to add a new colour to represent a previously non-existent part, though. My editing process for this piece, it turns out, was less about producing new material than about finding new ways to interpret and connect that material I’d produced.

Plus both of them really would make lovely Mexican blankets.


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