Editing a ‘Feral’ story

I have had an interesting experience the last few days.  Sort of an epiphany on a better way to approach my editing process.

I mentioned before that I stopped writing a story targeted for an anthology when I realized that I had discovered the open submission call for the antho. much too late and would not be able to finish a polished draft of the story in time to meet the deadline and submission criteria.   The story idea was so good it wouldn’t leave me alone, and I realized that I could rework it into a tale for my science fiction DuaLine/WarpLane milieu.  (I still can’t decide what to call it.)  This story, “Feral”,  is contemporary in that universe’s timeline with “The Journey” and “Language Barrier”, flash fiction stories that I have sold.

I knew where the story was going, so I started adding new material where I had left off.  When I hit spots where I had to contemplate what to write next, I would go to the beginning and edit the story to fit the new material–switching the background setting, revising characters and terminology.

For the first time working on a story, I realized that I was subconsciously thinking about things like plot cohesiveness, and strong characterization and point of view.  During the edit, based in part by the new bits I was writing, the story changed from a plot driven story into a character driven story.  The original ending morphed into an additional conflict for the protagonist to deal with.  The new climax/ending (which I am in the process of finishing the first draft of) is not only is a proper ending for the story, but it also very strongly continues the theme and reinforces the overall conflict that defines the DuaLine/WarpLane milieu.  For one the secondary characters, “Feral” is a prequel to a story where he is the potagonist.  This prequel is currently out in the wilds of submission.  I have plot ideas for this milieu and I am sure the main protagonist from “Feral”, Samantha, will pick up some of those for her own future tales.

Epiphany, ‘ah-ha’ moment, the light bulb came on; whatever you want to call it, I think I have found my editing legs.  I know I still have a lot to learn about this process and about the craft of writing, but this feels so comfortable.  I am very glad that I decided to finish ‘Feral’ before I tackled edits for a few stories I have that are nearly finished.  Editing is going to be much more fun now, I think.

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