Revising that old stuff

Ever since late September, I’ve been writing iteratively: revising a story a half-dozen times before it’s even finished. And then I’ll often hold off on declaring it done until I’ve rewritten the ending a few times as well. The result is that by the time the first draft is complete, my stories have about as much revision as I am capable of giving them. Oh, they’re not flawless. If I subjected them to critique, I’d probably find alot more that I could do with them. But, generally, I’m satisfied with them. I often wait a few weeks, give them a few more passes for style and spelling, and then send them out.

This is not, however, the way that I always worked. I used to race through and complete a first draft as quickly as possible and then hold off on revising it for six to nine months (out of sheer inertia and lazineness). This system was tremendously annoying and also kind of silly, and I’m glad that I abandoned it.

However, I still have about 11 stories that I wrote under the old system, which have just been languishing for ages. I’ve seriously considering just not revising them and not submitting them. This prospect is a little tempting since nowadays I’m suffering from a relative lack of markets to submit to. I’m ineligible for Writers of the Future; I can’t submit to Strange Horizons because I’m reading slush there; and I can’t submit to Clarkesworld or Apex for a few more months because I’ve recently sold stories there. I know, I have a hard life, filled with terrible problems. But, anyway, it wouldn’t be entirely awful if I didn’t have as many stories coming to market as I usually do.

But I couldn’t just abandon the work like that. Some of these stories are actually not at all bad (my recent sale to Clarkesworld is a story that came from this period). So I think I’m going to spend the next month doing some intensive revision. Editors, beware….eleven steaming Kanakias are about to be dropped on your desks.