Start writing fiction: characters and stories
Start writing fiction: characters and stories

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3.2 What is editing?

Figure 3

Editing is an important part of the creative process. You will learn some hints and tips for editing your work: when to look at the big picture, when to look at the detail, and when to share your edited writing.

A writer is simply a word for a person who writes. That’s all it takes to ‘qualify’ as a ‘writer’. But remember, published stories and novels very seldom emerge fully formed, or perfect, as if by magic. They have undergone many transformations before they reach the shelves. They are rarely, if ever, the raw expression of a writer’s output.

The short story writer V.S. Pritchett habitually wrote first drafts that ran to ten times the length of his final draft. This underlines the integral role that editing plays in the business of writing. A draft is just that, and can be revised up until the moment it is ready for publication.

To start writing fiction also means to develop your faculty of self-criticism. A great part of writing fiction is knowing how, why and when you should edit your own work. This is just one of the points at which honesty enters the equation of writing. The more ruthless you can be about your own work, the better it will be.

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