After Viable Paradise, I made it a point to temporarily trunk a lot of my submission stories. I wanted time to process what I learned and then review the work I had out there to make sure it still represented me or required some adjustments. Most of them it turned out, needed more work.
Little by little, I’ve been tweaking those stories and getting them back out into revisions. I’ve sold two of them since then. But then I came across one that was a pain to read. I always suspected it was too long, but I discovered there was too much baggage on the main character and the story ended up drastically overwritten.
I dug into it with my red pen, but then I discovered my normal revision process of marking up the manuscript wasn’t working. I don’t mind a lot of red on the page, to the contrary I love it, but there was more red ink flowing than there was original printing. So I’m starting a new process for this story that scares me. I’m taking one paragraph at a time and reading it, determing if it serves the new or old story, and then rewriting it as needed.
I tried this approach many years ago and it killed the story for a few reasons. I got lost in what I was reviewing. It took too long to get through the story so I forgot a lot of what was old and what was new. My skills have improved since then, so maybe it’ll work this time. We’ll see if it works. If not, I may try the “full rewrite from 0 words” approach. I’ve given myself a deadline to get this done by Saturday night. Time is definitely not on my side since I write when I’m tired and the red marks on the manuscript form my revision map. I have no map. I have guidelines and determination. I also have a story whose core I love and I will see this thing fixed properly and resubmitted.