You may remember a short time ago I decided to pursue new writing opportunities. One of those opportunities was to edit a short story I'd written during my December short story challenge. So lately, I've been immersed in short story micro-editing. And I must say I'm enjoying it more than I thought - now that I'm finished of course!
Here's what I learnt:
- Short story editing is great practise for novel length works
- Detail is important - both what you include and what you leave out
- Always search for more unique words to replace the ones you've heard before
- Refine the interrelationship between setting, character and story
- Focus on a different aspect of editing with each read-through.
Again, the use of Susan Bell's book The Artful Edit and her 'micro-edit checklist' (pp 136-137) proved invaluable. Bell sites great examples of how each aspect of the micro-edit applies to real cases. Her best advice: 'The micro-edit in particular thrives on the writer's ability to "read slowly."'
So how do you know when you've finished editing? This has always intrigued me, particularly when it comes to lengthier works. There is always something else you can change. But I'm now aware (after over editing my first novel) that there comes a point when you have to stop. For me that point came when I was debating whether to include or leave out an 'a'.
But the most exciting part of editing my short story is that I'm finally starting to hear my own writing voice. Maybe this comes from reading my work aloud many times over and analysing every aspect of my writing. But there it was - in the words I use, the detail and the things I write about.
Feel free to share your micro-editing tips in the comments section.