What's the oldest story you've gone back and edited ?

Specifics about craft, talent, technique, etc.
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bobsandiego
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What's the oldest story you've gone back and edited ?

Postby bobsandiego » Tue Jul 21, 2015 8:44 pm

So in passing I mentioned to my short story agent that I had the old short that was 'too dark' to show around to anyone and she instantly wanted me to revisit it and show it to her.
this story is a dozen years old and for the last two weeks I have been editing the hell out of it. Man there loads of passive sentences, telling not showing, excessive dialog tags, and even a bit where the character looks in a mirror for self-description.
So I was wondering has anyone here going so deep into their junk drawer and how did it all turn out for you?
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liz
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Re: What's the oldest story you've gone back and edited ?

Postby liz » Wed Jul 22, 2015 12:49 am

I recently pulled something out of the closet that I wrote around 7 years ago and I'm editing it for a mag submission. It's been interesting to see how my writing has changed since then, particularly in terms of narrative voice. I remember at the time I tried to write it as a close third-person, as close to first first-person as possible, but reading it now it comes off as pretty omniscient.

Editing it again has been cool though. It's almost like I'm editing someone else's work, which is always less stressful for some reason, and so things seem to be clicking into place better.

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Ishmael
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Re: What's the oldest story you've gone back and edited ?

Postby Ishmael » Wed Jul 22, 2015 1:30 am

I didn't write short stories before about 2010. When I started I didn't know much about short story writing but I had some good ideas. Having gone back and retrieved some from my first couple of years I've been able to lick several into decent shape. So far I've had four of them accepted.

Please will somebody buy my newer stuff? wotf011
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Re: What's the oldest story you've gone back and edited ?

Postby amoskalik » Wed Jul 22, 2015 4:15 am

So far my one and only sale is from stuff I wrote over 10 years ago. No editing required (although it was only 100 word pieces).
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orbivillein
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Re: What's the oldest story you've gone back and edited ?

Postby orbivillein » Wed Jul 22, 2015 5:02 am

My earliest short fiction I trot out from the trunk and revisit after every substantial advance of writing skill I notice. The story is one page typewritten and decades since first reduced to writing, after years in the brain box from early childhood recurrent nightmares. The versions' file is itself two decades old; the handwritten original in a spiral notebook, also in the trunk. I do that revisit to evaluate my writing growth. Keeps me humble, too. Maybe someday the story will pass into publication; meanwhile, the story stands as a bench marker.

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Re: What's the oldest story you've gone back and edited ?

Postby scott.parkin » Sun Aug 16, 2015 8:07 pm

I recently published a story that I first wrote back in 1990. I mostly left it alone and just refined (light rewriting) some of the description in the opening scene-setting, then did a simple reduction edit on the rest.

I just sold another to an anthology call that I originally wrote in about 1993. I changed one sentence to meet a requirement of the anthology (there had to be a kiss, so I added one; it was a romance anthology oriented around that most basic of romantic expressions---with a story that was already a quick-paced, good-natured spoof on the Romance genre).

Mostly, I don't go back that far (I generally only keep my last ten stories in circulation, dropping older ones out as I write new ones). But when there's a theme call and I have a piece that I think can fit, I look to see if what I know now can help me refine an existing manuscript or whether I just need to start over again (as I did recently with a story for the Fiction River series; a story that I first wrote almost thirty years ago, tossed, and started from scratch for a military sf theme issue).
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Re: What's the oldest story you've gone back and edited ?

Postby E.CaimanSands » Mon Aug 17, 2015 3:32 pm

SPAM! Spam, eggs and ham. Someone nuke Melvin please or else I guess I'll have to wake up Gator. She's sleeping though, she's had a heavy weekend (you don't want to know) and it's best to let sleeping gators lie and all that.
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Ishmael
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Re: What's the oldest story you've gone back and edited ?

Postby Ishmael » Tue Aug 18, 2015 1:50 am

No!

You mean he didn't write a story called Reviews for ... etc?

Well surely he should. I don't want to hold the record for the fastest rejection for ever you know.
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disgruntledpeony
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Re: What's the oldest story you've gone back and edited ?

Postby disgruntledpeony » Tue Aug 25, 2015 6:26 am

Unfortunately, most of my early works were fanfiction, which means I have little to no interest in revisiting them. XP Oh well.
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kentagions
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Re: What's the oldest story you've gone back and edited ?

Postby kentagions » Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:53 am

I had some down time last week because my Q4, V32 is done early and I'm reading and writing other things while I let that story ripen in my head. (Note: I like to replay a story in my head for a while. My idea is that somewhere in my head is the perfect telling. After a week or more I reread to see where the story in my head and the written one differ. Then I edit based on the one in my head.)

I reread a fourteen hundred word, humorous Sci-Fi that I brushed up for an open mic night sponsored by an old workshop four years ago. I began to edit, realizing that the story had publication possibilities. A spoken story needs a few things that written doesn't (unless you can speak in italics or thought bubbles, and stage gesticulations need written visualization) in order to play well in print. In the middle of editing/rewriting, I remembered that this story had been shelved in 1987: same plot, same setting.

I checked an old hard copy - one I'd received back with R from Omni in its SASE - since the original with its rewrites is forever stuck on a 6 inch floppy *checks gray hair in mirror*. The hard copy deserved its stationery form rejection from Ellen Datlow, but the idea is intact 28 years later.

The story received quite a few laughs at open mic night, so I'm hoping an editor out there might need a 2,000 word humor piece.

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Re: What's the oldest story you've gone back and edited ?

Postby Dr.Bob » Sun Sep 06, 2015 4:59 am

Okay, make me show my age.

At last weekend's 2-day Writers of the Future conference, they emulated the true Winners' workshop by having us close our eyes and choose an object for a story prompt. The item I selected opened up a rusted lock to a cobwebbed crypt in the sub-sub-basement of my mind, bringing to light the mildewed memory of a story I wrote 36 years ago (beat that).

Following instructions, I sketched the outline onto a 3"x5" note card. Mr. Farland then instructed us to write this story and submit to WOTF by 30 SEP. (oy!) So I began to re-compose this decomposed tale from ancient memory during my cross-continent red-eye flight home.

However, I just discovered the original tale among my old papers, Smith-Corona typed with whiteout corrections et al..

It seems I recalled the story very well. While there has been maturation of my writing style (and life experience) since then, my younger self had (untarnished) imaginative insight and an instinctual (if imperfect) unerstanding of voice and a neophyte's appreciation of the power of words to elicit emotion.

With the quarter deadline approaching (and my working 12 to 14 hour days at a busy hospital this week), I've begun rewriting this old tale instead of writing it anew from memory--although the latter may be the wiser course if time only permitted. However, rewriting old words and stitching in new ones I fear may result in me laughing maniacally toward the heavens while driving rain and lighting pummels these western Maine mountains. "It's alive!" Hahahaha... wotf039

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