I’ve come to the eleventh of the twelve stories I thought were worth salvaging. I read it for the first time last Friday. It is a little scary, actually; 8,000 words–lots and lots of exposition. My descriptions are thick and stultifying. Reading it is like trying to breathe in an August swamp.
The fact that this story ever saw market is a little embarrassing.
That it saw market so many times is an indicator of where my brain was at.
Thank the powers that none of the editors I sent it to actually printed the thing. [Fat chance, but stranger things have happened]
The story itself is perfectly fine, by the way. By that I mean the story’s purpose and its fundamental content. The characters and plot are interesting (to me at least), and are meaty enough to hold structural integrity with regard to story mechanics. I’m convinced the manuscript’s past failure had nothing to do with the story itself, and everything to do with the writer.
I wish I could describe how freeing that feels.
Problems within me can be overcome, you see. But a dead story can only be grieved for and left to clog hard drives.
Ron’s corollary: There are, in truth, very few truly dead stories.
So this morning was spent ripping up this manuscript. Most of my manuscripts I can improve merely by cutting words, but this one requires major surgery. I’m stripping expository stuff, mostly, and I’m trying to juggle to story components so that they make basic sense. When I’m done with that, it will be time for a serious pass at the micro-writing.