The writing process

The other week I wrote a short story for a magazine.  The minute I finished it, instead of the usual happy haze of completing something new, I felt uneasy.  After a lot of pondering, I realised why I felt so uneasy: I hadn’t really explained the characters’ motivations enough.  What seemed obvious to me wouldn’t to the readers, and in a story about revenge, the reasons for that revenge weren’t clear.  All the readers would have seen was somebody dying, without enough explanation why.  Which in most circles of writing, goes down rather like a lead balloon, and understandably so.

After yet more pondering, I saw how I could make the whole thing work better.  Two days ago I sat down to re-write it, but with limited success.  I knew the direction I wanted to take it in, but the words just wouldn’t come.  Finally, yesterday, I got the inspiration I needed, started from scratch with a new title, at least one new character name, and a much better sense of direction, and managed to make it three or four hundred words longer while I was at it.

It’s still not perfect, and will need the usual tweaks, fiddling and fine-tuning before it’s ready to go out.  But I’m much happier with the overall result.  If anyone ever thought writing was easy, though, this is yet more proof that it’s harder than it looks!

4 thoughts on “The writing process

  1. Oh yes. Even as I have recently published two books, I can see in my own work, there is room for improvement and that can be in a second edition. How much tweaking, fine-tuning, nitpicking etc, should be done? I don’t even know lol but I will never feel it’s perfect.

  2. Margot Kinberg says:

    Tess – Your story sounds very familiar. I’ve often found that when I’m not easy about what I’ve written, there’s a reason for it. I have to go back (sometimes after leaving a project for a few days), look it over and sometimes start all over again. And the end result is just about always better than my first attempt.

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