Friday Revisions: How to be Objective Within a Short Time Frame

As I write about revisions, I’m struggling with a short story. It is difficult for me to write to topic, and this one demands just that— it is in response to a call for submissions for an anthology. I had the first draft down last week, and this week it is all about polishing! Some folks love re-writes, but I’m not as lucky.

But I realize I need to be real objective, real fast, because I know I can’t hear the story’s hearbeat. It is faint, nearly gone and that, obviously, is a bad sign.

My tricks to get objective during quick revisions:

1. Completely forget about the story for as much time as possible, except when I go to bed…which is when my subconscious takes over, and I’m dragged back to my story world.

2. Pretend that the story is written by someone else, and I need to do a critique.

3. Look at the bits I discard as excess wood from a beautiful sculpture.

4. Draw a mind-map, or fill up index cards with the scenes and then play them around.

5. Pray hard, walk a lot, eat chocolate.

What do you do when you have very little time between the first draft and the final product?

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Add Yours
  1. Damyanti

    Start, massages and chocolate? sounds like a vacation! 🙂

    Bryce, yes…I tell myself I need to be objective fast when the deadlines are close…and hence the pretense of editing others' work.

    Amberr, those are ideas I need to try…thanks for the visit, my dear.

    Joy..anything goes as long as it makes me more objective.

    Rosalind…I think Chocolate got the most votes!

    Lynda…they are my faves too 🙂

  2. Rosalind Adam

    I'm with everyone else. The chocolate looks favourite. I've never consciously tried pretending the story was written by someone else but it's an interesting idea.

  3. J.L. Campbell

    I like that idea of pretending the writing belongs to someone else when it's time to edit. I guess that's why it's recommended we put the work aside for a while before going back to it.

  4. Amberr

    I take a power nap, then shower and revisit it afterwards. Sometimes resting and freshening up helps cleanse the perspective, too, or at least it feels that way to me.

  5. Bryce Daniels

    Objectivity is a key component for me. I've done some flash fiction with daily deadlines, and found myself shelving the first draft and coming back to it hours later. Like you, I pretended the piece had been written by a stranger, and went to work.

    And yes, another vote for chocolate.

  6. Damyanti

    E. R. King, yes, we could all use excuses to eat more chocolate! 🙂

    Loree, Yes to MORE!

    Sylvia, I tend to agree. Did you receive the message I left you on your giveaway post?

  7. E.R. King

    Awesome suggestions, especially number five…because I'm already praying and I can always use another excuse to eat more chocolate!
    (I'm following you through Google Reader!)