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As I mentioned yesterday, you can’t let fear of perfection get in the way of a first draft. That’s where editing comes in. 

Editing is the difference between a messy first draft and a finished piece.

Once I get a general idea of a story, I ask myself a few initial questions:

  • Is it written from the correct point of view?
  • Where does the story really begin?
  • What is the piece really about?
  • Is the piece worth my time and effort?

From there, I write a second draft to get the story clearer in my head. That draft can be exposed to a critical eye in relation to vocabulary, grammer and structure.

Rinse and repeat.

“I would write a book, or a short story, at least three times—once to understand it, the second time to improve the prose, and a third to compel it to say what it still must say. Somewhere I put it this way: first drafts are for learning what one’s fiction wants him to say. Revision works with that knowledge to enlarge and enhance an idea, to reform it. Revision is one of the exquisite pleasures of writing.” – Bernard Malamud