Sometimes there’s only so much that editing can do to improve a story. After editing it over and over, it can seem as if it isn’t going anywhere. This has happened with my stories…if I mention that the story’s older.
With my newer stories, everyone’s always enthusiastic about me editing them again. It’s always positive. But when I’ve mentioned that I’ve edited a piece a few times before, I get a sigh instead. A few people will tell me to quit as if there’s no way to improve the situation. They’d shrug as if it was just another bad idea.
But I’ve always been stubborn.
When I was about ten or so, an author visited my elementary school. This author—who’s name I cannot remember anymore—talked to us about the necessity of failure. To express this concept, she told us a story.
A while back, she had dedicated hours to writing a novel. She put her heart into it and sent it to a few close friends afterward to see what they thought. Her friends never replied back to her. She took note of their disinterest. So, her response was to shove the novel under her bed and never look at it.
I had always thought that she did something wrong. Perhaps her story was good, but it was just told the wrong way. Or she could’ve given the story a break and returned to it with a fresh start later. Every story needed to be told.
I couldn’t understand how someone could put so much effort into something and just shove it aside when it got a disapproving look. At that moment, I decided I wouldn’t give up on my stories. I wouldn’t shove them under beds.
I’ve run into my fair share of older stories hitting a dead end. But I’ve also found ways to revive the stories. I’ve given them to editors and critics. I’ve put them off for a bit until new ideas form. I’ve tried different editing techniques. My stories improve.
So, I will keep editing my novel even if I finished it years ago. I won’t give up on a story because stories are meant to be told.