The CuriousPages Sketchbook

Writing: A Martial Artist Meets his Match


Rhyan moved in with me a few months ago. For the first few days, I was struck by how challenging I was finding the fact that nothing seemed to be in its “proper” place any more. And when I watched him doing things like washing up and noticed that every aspect of what he was doing seemed “wrong” to me, I had to exercise, what seemed like, extreme self control to keep myself from shouting out to him, in shock, that it should not be done like that.

These experiences were the simple starting point for this story. It also contains a lot of the small incidents that have happened between us, some of which quickly became “standard jokes” between us, such as the way he looks at the mirror when we happen to be kissing in the bathroom, so that he can watch us kissing. Yes, that’s right. As strange as it seems, I didn’t make that up. Some people really do do that. Admittedly, he doesn’t carry a hand mirror around with him so that he can watch us kissing when we do that in public; that detail is the exaggeration of my writer’s mind, my “weird” humour.

Five rounds of editing

After the feedback I’ve so far received from readers on my previous short stories, I decided to edit this new story to the best of my abilities. I completed the first draft on 3 September and the final draft on 30 September, after about five rounds of editing, in which each new version was printed out and then worked on from start to finished. The overall process reduced the story by 658 words. I had forgotten how much time and energy it takes to properly edit a piece of fiction, but found the process worthwhile. The finished story is noticeably slicker than the first draft. It is difficult to know when to stop when doing this sort of editing. For me, I decided enough was enough when I found myself reinserting a string of words on the new draft which I had taken out on the previous draft. This seemed to indicate that I had gone too far, in some passages.

With the previous stories, I think I had started to spend less time on this type of editing. I think I was aware I was doing this, but I’m not sure why I “got lazy”. I’ve now set myself the task of looking again at all my previous stories and editing those where necessary, which could well take several months.


30 September 2010


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