How To Edit A Short Story? (Expert Tips)
Before you start, let me address the elephant in the room. There is no one objectively best way to edit your short story or any kind of story for that matter. Writing is a very subjective activity. It isn’t math; it is an art. No two individuals would give you the same advice in regards to matters that are factual, let alone something as subjective as story-telling.
Nevertheless, most writers have been able to come with certain “tips, tricks, and advice” to learn how to edit a short story. Be it your first time writing or the last draft, you must add what types of frame you going to use while writing script. So, without additional beating around the bush, here is “how to edit a short story”
how to edit a short story - 7 TIPS
1. Write it… forget it
What may seem like a dumb tip to give a writer makes a ton of sense once you start to think about it. During your first draft, we are seldom able to write something flawless. If you are, congratulations on being the 1% of the writer’s world. Most people tend to make mistakes, thus making editing a necessity.
Once you are finished writing your first draft, forget about it. Do something else, sit on it for a while. Eventually, come back to it with a fresh mind and new perspective. You will be more capable of spotting plot holes, inconsistencies, spelling, and grammatical errors. There is no fixed time but give it at least 4 weeks (the exact time should and will vary from person to person).
2. Read on Paper
Admittedly, the days of writing in a notebook or diary are at an end. It is way more convenient to type something than write it, especially if you grew up using keyboards like most of the new, upcoming authors did. Despite the several advantages, electronics are still not ideal for writing.
Once you have written your story, print it out. Phones, laptops… they can be rather distracting. So, it is recommended that you print your story out and read it on a piece of paper.
3. READ YOUR STORY OUT LOUD
The thing with reading out loud is that you will be able to better notice any inconsistencies or spell mistakes. Just reading in your mind, we often make up words that aren’t there. Another advantage is, after you give your story some time, when you read it out loud, just enjoy it. See if you like the story and the direction it is going in. Try to be a fan.
4. MAKE NOTES WHILE READING OUT LOUD
Once you have read your story out loud, after giving it a day or two, get back and start making notes for the final draft. Make sure that the structure of your story is how you want it to be and is also pushing the story further if a short story is too long… well.
You want the plot to keep moving forward. Every line, every paragraph just pushes the narrative further. Take a note of the theme and characters. The characters in your story should have a reason, a meaning, and an identity.
This is something you must have planned out from the start, but along the way, you can edit out parts where you feel the character isn’t true to, well, his/her character.
5. Keep em’ guessing!
This may not be applicable for very short stories, but in a story, if you have room for some depth, you might not want to be very direct. For example, if one of your characters is very nervous around another, do not outright write “Y is nervous around X”.
You can do that, but then again, you can ignore this article altogether. Display their nervousness through other mediums. Perhaps their actions change in their way of talking or body language.
6. Prioritise the first paragraph.
I was into short stories because my attention span isn’t the best. The same can somewhat be applied to others. This isn’t an insult, just a general observation. I may be wrong, but you can’t deny that the entire fun element of a short story is diminished if you aren’t hooked from the start.
The first paragraph should be your priority. It just hooks the readers right in. You win them, or you lose them here. Leave them wondering because when we have questions, we want answers.
7. Edit the unwanted content
Sometimes, we love a character, a line, or a paragraph so much we simply cannot let it go. If, unfortunately, it doesn’t sit well with the narrative of the story. You must, with a heavy heart, put an end to it and thus “edit the unwanted content”
The above was 7 tips regarding “how to edit a short story”. Hope it helped, and thank you for reading! Also, feel free to comment your own ideas in the comment sections. Sharing information is an essential thing.