Editing and Time

Quite a combination…

A few days ago, I entered a competition by writing a short story about celebrating New Year’s Eve. As with everything I write for submission, I went over it many times and made a few changes here and there. When I was finally happy with it, I pushed the submit button and fired it out to the competition website. All was then good in the world.

Until last night…

I was tucked away in bed watching a little known TV comedy in the UK called Count Arthur Strong. (Personally, I don’t think it’s that good, but it makes me laugh so it’s become one of my guilty pleasures.)  This particular episode was about problems with changing the clocks back (and forward) for Daylight Saving time can cause problems.

After it finished and the credits rolled across the screen, I had a light-bulb moment…

The ending of my New Year’s Eve story had the main character lose his clock minutes before midnight so I ended the story with him starting ‘a steady count to three hundred’.  Not a problem? Well, my brain suddenly reminded me that I mentioned the time was 23:57 when the clock broke.  Three minutes is not three hundred seconds and so the final line that the whole story had worked towards fell completely flat.

I’d read that story close to three dozen times picking out grammar errors and tidying up the text to meet the word count.  On each run through, I’d completely missed the emphasis on the content of the story. Fortunately, I contacted the website and, as I was still within the submission period, they let me resubmit my corrected version.

So many times I read that we writers should keep the internal editor away whilst we write.  This particular episode has taught me to allow the writer back in when I edit.

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2 comments on “Editing and Time

  1. The Guardian says:

    Mathematics.. Never the strength of a creative writer! All the best for the competition 🙂

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