This morning I’ve reached for one of my old stories and brought it back to existence.
The readers in Serbia have appreciated it and a literary magazine published it three years ago. My intention was to translate it and distribute it to my English-speaking audience.
According to my recollection, it was a solid, creepy, dark story, and I was hungry to work on it.
Once I opened it, I realized that it’s a tremendous pile of shit and I couldn’t understand how it got printed.
For a moment, I wished to put it back where it belongs; back to the aisle of long-forgotten memories.
Then, I’ve given it one more shot. It had potential. All it required me to do is to clear the dreadful stuff.
The next obvious step was to place my editor’s hat and cut the crap, starting from page one.
The authentic version had 6788 words. 30 minutes afterward and it ended up with somewhere around 2700 words.
It was the proudest moment of my entire writing career: I’ve experienced the finest reduction in my life.
I’ve wasted the approximately 75% of my solid narrative and made it even better.
Redundant characters and irrelevant information – gone; everything except the details which grip to the bone of the story – flushed down.
My confidence is high now. I’ve understood how much I’ve learned during the last three years of writing. Now, I’m ready to take the next step; the novel number two.
The spirit will fade, just as it did before, but at least, I will remember the occasion when I realized that I’ve grown into a stronger writer.
If you‘ve got an old story too, try to scoop it out and trash it as much as possible. Make it better. It’s a valuable lesson.
Trash your current work too. Trash relentlessly. Trash until it’s great. Remember, 90% of your work is worthless but save the great 10%.
I wish you a happy trashing.