1. ManicHedgehog
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    ManicHedgehog Member

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    Letting finished stories simmer?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ManicHedgehog, Jan 2, 2011.

    One of my biggest problems as a writer has been over-enthusiasm with finished products. I don't finish stories too often, so when I do, it becomes a real event, and I can't wait to share it with everyone.

    However, when it comes to short stories, that usually means finishing the story in a couple days, giving it a few read-throughs, and sending it out to friends, family and message boards the day it's done. Although I'm rarely displeased with the final product several days later, it's always easier for me to step back after a few days and see what should be changed to improve it.

    I know that's not the right way to go about doing things. I'm wondering, how long does everyone here usually wait before sharing their work? And how long is a general rule of thumb? What benefit do you personally get out of playing the waiting game?
     
  2. solosilver
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    solosilver New Member

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    I actually do the same thing when I finish a piece, except I tend to "finish" short stories in one sitting because they are generally less than 5 pages. The only problem I have found with it is sometimes I make careless mistakes on the first draft. After having people read the original I usually wait a month before going back to edit. I generally come up with a few things that need to be added, or removed. Occasionally I'll go back to things a year or so later and if I still feel they have merit I will revise them again.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there's no 'right' or 'wrong' way to do it... there's only what works for you and what doesn't...

    i wouldn't recommend that my raw mentees do what you do, but if you've been writing for a good while and it's been working for you, then it shouldn't matter what others do...
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I always have a project. so I pick up a new one whilst I am waiting. I find that is vital for the distance. With a short story I only leave it 24-48 hours but may come back to it months later it is interesting to see where I have improved as a writer. Also to practice that type of editing.

    With a novel I leave it a couple of months. I find it easier I love the first two days after finishing a rewrite or a first draft find my brain gets some calm and peace before whirring again.
     
  5. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can let my friend read something right after it's finished, but I have decided to never send something to get published until I can read it a year after finishing it, and not be embarrassed by my own writing :p
     
  6. Edward G
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    Edward G Banned

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    I labor over my writing a great deal. I do not believe anyone is a "natural" writer the way people can be natural sketch artists or something. I believe that there are four stages to writing.

    The first is the planning stage where you decide on the theme and moral, work out the plot points, create the characters and that sort of thing.

    The second stage is free writing. It's the rough draft. You just let the right side of the brain take over and write the story how you feel. This is a very important stage and it's important that the left side of the mind (the analytical side) does not interfere.

    The thrid stage is revision. Here you go in with the left side of the brain and revise. You ruthlessly edit and craft the story into its final form.

    The forth stage is the line edit. Though you may have been working on gramar and punctuation in the third stage, in this stage you go through each line of the text and look for gramar and punctuation errors.

    You should lay a short story aside for at least a week between each stage and perferably a few weeks between the third and fourth stage.

    Then you are ready for contests or publication.
     
  7. Sarah's Mom
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    Sarah's Mom Member

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    BTDT! Maybe you could pick three people to send it to right away, to kind of satisfy your need to share - but wait for actually publishing it by putting it on a website or whatever. So, you get to indulge yourself, maybe get useful feedback, and also be able to take some time to do a later rewrite.
     
  8. MsLee123
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    MsLee123 Member

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    Generally I wait 6 weeks before I share my work with someone. I'm not short story writer, however, so the time may vary. With my finished novels (and by finished I mean I've looked them over at least twice) I wait six weeks, and then go back and edit again. I pick up a lot of mistakes and issues I wouldn't have otherwise. Then I send it out to my other friends who are writers. One of my stories has been finished for almost six months and I'm just now at the point where I'm comfortable enough to even think about publication.

    Everyone is different, but I hope this helps a little :)
     

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