I completed the first draft of Unfair Advantage 2. I wanted then work on smaller contests, namely this Irish one. Sadly, all the stories fizzled. I’ve attempted multiple stories but nothing stuck. With the Irish flash fiction, I keep coming up with either vignettes or pieces that are literary for the (contest) theme of Time. They specifically reference how Time can fit in any genre. Genre, exactly the thing I’m looking for, and all I can do is generate these slices that seem like they came out of an MFA program. Which is a tremendous shame… I would really love to have a good idea and iterate on the 500 words. So much of my reluctance to edit is the size of what I work on… even 3k words seem like a tough edit. 500 words is perfect for cutting everything that doesn’t directly contribute to the story, working each to sound lyrical. I just need that spark!
And if I could find that story idea, I’ll incorporate the ideas on editing from George Saunders and the amazing A Swim in the Pond in the Rain. I’ll do a series of posts specifically on this book, but he counsel on editing is fantastic. Keep reading and working on your story over weeks and months. Remove anything that doesn’t move the story forward or display something important about the characters. It’s the repeated process of editing and considering, re-reading and changing that creates something worthwhile. And he doesn’t prescribe rules or a list of don’ts. This advice struck a chord; dozens of micro-edits over time allow a writer to create a voice. Compare this with other books on editing and their rigid rules. More on Saunders later.
This leaves me in a tough spot with the normal backlog of pieces to edit and nothing solid to work on for my daily 500 words. In theory, I’d love to have a set of drills or practice items to work on, then spend the rest of my morning writing time on editing and re-reading. I’ll keep looking.