Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Pimp My Short Story

Pimped !
Less blogging and more pimping. I've been seriously pimping my short stories these days. Meaning I've been revising and rereading and revising and reading-out-loud and printing and scribbling and reprinting. They were all stories that were written last year in a flurry, sent off, rejected (mostly) with encouragement.

Well. There comes a point where wildly sending off material that has just been whisked together is not a great idea. Sometimes it has worked for me. Sometimes - very naughtily and with great enthusiasm - I sent off a just-finished text which went well in a competition or was taken by a review. A miracle! But other stories came straight back and I knew they were lumpy and unfinished.

I confess I find rewriting and revising very hard work. It's a different frequency, isn't it? It has none of the distilled pyjamas-all-day elation of writing. Oh no! It is a plodding, hike-around-the-house-and-come-back process, like checking on a fevered child you wish would just get well. Excuses are sought for more coffee, for proper chocolates. It is necessary to jog at the end of the day rather than scream.

And there is no way of knowing when you are in the thick of it. Whether you are over-writing, flogging a dead horse, getting mechanical and losing freshness. Who can tell? You have lost the guiding hand of the unthinking first draft and you are doing homework, writing an essay, trying to get it right for your teacher.

It can feel like that.

But recently (with the aid of an early evening jog through fields of baby green wheat) I've given up the fight. Pimping is possible. I can add and elaborate. I can slash and burn and delete. I've even become quite mean.

And, you know, sometimes, a delicately-pimped story can even end up looking like this:

Also pimped !

Happiness is.. My story 'Love and Death and Cell Division' will be published in Ambit this autumn. And 'The Book of Bruises' will be coming out in the next issue of Structo. Hooray!