So, it’s been an interesting month.
I’ve already laid out my concerns about the results in the post from last week. I’ll also be resuming the vlog and the regular updates this week. I guess I needed some time to scar a little and start writing again.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to re-visit one of my old stories, one that’s gone through so many edits because it’s one of my favorites. Here’s the progression of the story over a year and a half:
1. Two poems are merged to create the piece
2. Piece gets added to my thesis
3. I graduate
4. I take my thesis and turn it into a manuscript and the story is left out
5. Story is shopped around some, no success
6. Story changes plot and a fourth part (it’s a sectioned story) gets added
7. Story is shopped around, no success
8. Story is workshopped with my flash fiction mentor, extra section is edited out, story reduced to <2000 words.
9. Story’s name is changed.
10. Story is shopped around, no success
11. Story is re-edited and reduced to <1000 words
So we’ll see what becomes of it. Even if I get rejected again, I had a lot of fun going in and playing with a scalpel to basically take out 1,000 words without compromising the story. What helped is—“Yes, your journalistic background! JESUS shut up with that.”
I can’t shake it. People will argue that I was never a real journalist because I didn’t cut my teeth working for some big shot newspaper. That’s fine. I don’t claim to be the best journalist. If I was, I’d have stuck it out and made a career out of it like some of my friends have, and they’ve gone on to work for the AP and CNN. It wasn’t my career, but just because it wasn’t my career doesn’t mean I can’t apply the things I’ve learned to my actual career.
And one of those things is one of the rules of the industry: It’s easier to cut out than to put in.
You see, news writing is very simple:
So once all the data (quotes, figures) is gathered, the journalist builds the story around a template and send it off to their editor. If it’s too long, then it’s easy to cut from the tail end, from the stuff that wasn’t as important. If it’s too short, then the reporter has to add stuff, usually in the form of quotes. The problem with that is that it exposes the journalist to a whole lot of Murphy’s Law scenarios. What if they can’t find another person that was there? What if the subject of the piece is not answering? What if a source of information for the piece was very forthcoming originally, but then was told by their superiors/someone else to not divulge any more information?
I took that lesson and applied it to the most recent round of edits. Cut out a lot of unnecessary stuff to make a proper short story.
On to more writing stuff. I wrote the first creative nonfiction I had written in a few months over the weekend. The first draft was shit, but after a few pointed questions, I completely took the prompt I received and revamped the story and had a lot of fun doing so.
I’m glad to be writing again, because I want to continue doing my part to provide some inspiration and representation as a writer for those that may not have that. If I can get someone’s torch going, it will all have been worth it.
Oh, and some more exciting news are coming :D