Part of the writing process is letting work sit for a while – a couple weeks at least – before editing it. You have to take some distance if you want to really catch areas that can be improved, plot holes, ugly sentence structure, typos; that kind of thing. Usually, I begin to hate my work in progress about three quarters through (where it becomes a slog), and I’m thoroughly sick of it by the time I type The End, so this break is useful. When I get back to it, chances are I’m happy with most of what I wrote, and only need to make a few changes before getting it out there.
But yesterday I went back and reread one of my pieces. And I’m embarrassed to say, it was kind of bad. Reading what I had accomplished those months ago, I was appalled by my use of semicolons. (Seriously, why was I using all those semicolons?!?) Characters I’d been happy with seemed flat, when exposed to the harsher eye of now. Even the sex scenes didn’t do it for me the way they should. In short, it just wasn’t that good.
Not sure what happened. Part of it was the length restriction. Now I realize I have been lazy, giving myself all the words I like to tell a story, instead of forcing myself to get it in under a certain word count. (Want to check out a master of great erotica with specific word count? Go read Interludes: A Collection of Short Erotic Fiction, by Harmony Kent. All fabulous stories, and so impressive how she keeps them focused and well crafted in each length. An excellent collection!) Basically, I am dissapointed in myself.
So next steps are to stick it on the back shelf for now, finish up my current (and currently dragging) work in progress, and then let that sit while I revisit, revise, and rewrite the poor, mediocre story. It has the bones to be good, I know it. Just needs a little love and a hell of a lot of editing!