Something I am very much aware of as a budding writer is, you must always be ready to learn new things. Another thing I believe is that you can never have too much critique, and should never take it badly when it comes your way. Recently I published the first and second parts of The Skid Journals story series, feeling rather proud of my efforts. This is not saying much, however, given that when writing in the past I would feel ‘good’ about what I was doing. And if checking over my old EVE Online character story backlog has taught me anything, it is that my writing had a long way to go back then. Either way, that does not mean I took a look at my new works here and realized I had written a mess. Far from it, in fact. Though who knows how I might feel in 10 years time, looking back at this site. Only time can tell.
Back to the present, however, a good friend of mine offered to provide me with some feedback on the first journal. I had mentioned in my previous blog that I have a friend who used to edit professionally. By way of a quick plug, her name is Cheyenne and you can find her own writings and assorted art on her site, aka Iron Dragon. Cheyenne is also the friend who prompted me to begin this site, as well as setting me up with discounted hosting, and provided me with support setting up the site. She approached me soon after the second part was published in the beginning of March and offered to spend some time going over the first part to give me some pointers. I had expressed to her a couple of times in the writing that I had struggled with some of the technical details, again as mentioned in my previous blog about my experiences writing the first two parts.
With my blessing, she was ruthless with her suggestions and corrections and returned to me a document smothered in red ink. Even then, having asked for this in the first place, it felt a little overwhelming to see that many corrections. Initially, I will confess to having been intimidated by the prospect of editing the first part to such an extent. Even after taking the time to read through Cheyenne’s revisions first and seeing they were not all that huge of a task, (lots of red on a page and large blocks of inserted comments can make it look a larger job than it actually is), I still felt it hard to get started on this process. Why? Well, I guess you can think of it like this. When you have ‘finished’ a thing your brain will file it away, check the box on the to-do list and unburden itself with thoughts of the task. With that comes a nice dose of ‘feel-good’ chemicals as a reward for all your hard work. It’s like being told you have to go back and do it all again, which is likely to demotivate anyone just a little.
The last two to three weeks have seen me tackle this document, on and off, making the changes needed to bring the story up to par. I am not changing any of the content of the story as such though a few clarifying lines here and there as needed have been added. It has felt a little slow, almost like writing a story from scratch in that sense even if not in actual substance. I tend to find that as I pass the halfway mark of anything I am working on I find a nice zone where I can work harder suddenly, and progress increases multiple orders of magnitude. In the last two to three days I feel I have broken the back of the rewriting task and feel I am near the end.
Once I have done I will update the existing entry and blog again. I wondered at first if I should preserve the original work but given nothing is changing story-wise it would make little sense to have two copies of the same story on the site. Still, until this is done I will not be working on the next part beyond the rough draft I already have.