1. yournamehere
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    yournamehere Member

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    How often do you 'update' your stories?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by yournamehere, Oct 21, 2009.

    I've got several short stories in progress. Most of them are actually finished, unfortunately, I can't get past the 'editing them till I feel comfortable' phase. I never feel comfortable with the result. There is always this minimal point of satisfaction with the story.

    For instance, I read a short story of mine to a couple of friends in my english comp class. They thought it was great! I thought it was terrible. I've since edited the hell out of it and still can't find that satisfactory resting point.

    Is there any point where you can become satisfied with the writing, plot and style of a story?
     
  2. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    Consider it a point in your favour that you can always find something to improve upon.

    I'm never really satisfied with my own stuff, because I still have much to learn. But I am reasonably happy with anything I've written to the best of my ability. If I feel I could have done better, I'm not happy.

    Every couple of months, I look back on some old projects, groan, and compulsively rewrite them.:rolleyes:
     
  3. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Every full moon, so long as it falls on a Saturday or second Wednesday of the month.

    Seriously, I will edit a few times. I edit how I paint. When I paint, I first paint the basic shapes and values I want. Once I am happy with that, I add the colors I want. Then I begin refining, added more details to the figures and objects, using smaller brushes as I go.

    After I write the first draft, I go back and add things I feel are missing: introspection, descriptions, feelings. Then I go through it again adding senses: smell and touch mainly. Perhaps a bit of taste. While I am doing these things, I try to remove plot holes (if there are any), and confusing parts. After I am satisfied with the content, pacing, etc, then I do a line-by-line edit. This is when I rewrite sentences.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    once a piece is finished, i have no reason to 'update' it... so, my answer to your question would probably have to be 'never'... or at least 'next to never'...
     
  5. Fox Favinger
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    Fox Favinger Contributing Member

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    I'm the same way. Sometimes I will literally "edit" the actual concept of the story! I've had one novel being kicked around for years that's been rebuilt from the ground up several times, and each time I do that I feel that it is way better than it was before, even though I just scrapped an entire manuscript, and that's not uncommon at all either.

    Bottom line, I'm not content until the story is in print. No I don't believe in doing a "Goerge Lucas" on your on work. That just pisses people off, including me.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I think the actual question is, "How do I know when the story is finished?"

    I know several painters who also struggle with this, who sometimes don't know when to stop tweaking it. A classic example was Bob Ross, famous for the "happy little trees" and similar eye-rolling cliches. In my opinion, most of his paintings were at their best twenty minutes into the show, but in the last ten minutes he would clutter up the paintings with additional features that ruined them.

    My mother has been an amateur painter for decades. Sometimes, she too has a painting she just can't feel satisfied with, and she keeps reworking it to try to fix it. When she does, it always ends up looking muddy. It loses its crispness.

    There;s no such thing as perfect. There will always be aspects that just are';t tre best you could possibly do, especially if you are a perfectionist. But at some point you have to step back and say, "Enough! It's time to wrap this up." You're spinning your wheels, and it's time to submit or otherwise finish that project and move on to the next.

    It's just one more thing to learn as you grow as a writer.
     
  7. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    I do it all the time, but I'm not an expert writer. I learn new things all the time, and with that comes better ways to tell my story. In the revisions it also becomes clearer to me what it is I want to say with it, and how to say it in a simpler and more exciting way. Before I edit a scene, I always ask myself what precise function it serves, where the drama lies and how it ties to the overall theme. To me, it takes time to narrow these things down and so my revisions are necessary. I think what defines a good story is when the author knows exactly where they're going with it, and "rehearsing" your telling of it should help to that end.
     
  8. sirhoot
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    sirhoot Member

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    Use a scalpel but stop before you kill the patient! :)
     
  9. Fox Favinger
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    Fox Favinger Contributing Member

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    lol I like that one. It's almost like you have to know yourself and have a sense of self control as well. That's one thing I've always liked about deadlines. I don't have time to mess around. I focus more and do a more reasonable amount of tweaks to my products. I've only ever had deadlines for sound recordings though and I set them myself as these were self released demos. It really made things go smoother for me and my bandmates, I'm not sure if that will work with my stories though.
     
  10. bruce
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    bruce Active Member

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    Yes, after about six or seven revisions.
     
  11. Operaghost
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    Operaghost Contributing Member

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    I get what the Op is saying though as i am constantly changing my work, even by going back to finished projects form years before because i am not happy with them anymore and revitalise them , which does in fact lead to many unfinished peices, the issue i have is knowing when to stop
     
  12. Leviathanos
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    Leviathanos Member

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    Well, hard to say. If it's a short story we often talk about five-eight sections more than chapters. If i have completed a story, it's "done". But whenever i feel i've grown as both a writer and a mortal, i often go into my folder/notebook and read trough them and edit them. Out of maybe thirty stories (not exact number) maybe four or five are "complete" and those i don't touch anymore.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there's a difference between 'update' and 'upgrade'...

    if the first was really meant, by the op, that would involve bringing events/places/etc. that are mentioned in the piece 'up to date' so it will be more 'current'...

    if what was really meant was the second, then it merely means going back and bring the quality of the writing up a notch, if one's learned to write better, since it was written...
     

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