A few years ago, I wrote a short story on a lark. It was not good but in my judgment it was not terrible. It was easy to write compared to serious non-fiction of comparable length so I figured I would do it again when I had some spare time. That may still happen sometime, but if it does, it will not have been easy. I have now gone through ten drafts (actually, eleven but one of the files is corrupted and I can’t look at it) and almost all of those drafts were pages and pages of writing.
You would think that if you already know what happens, figuring how to tell it should not be that hard particularly if you are not too concerned about quality. And it is not like I have been going though all these drafts because the events in question have been changing. ON the contrary, in all of the drafts, nothing about the basic facts of the story change. All that changes is how I try to tell those facts.
Even though it is my own writing, I actually found in interesting to go back and review the different ways I tried to accomplish this over the years. On the off chance that others might find it interesting as well, I have put the first paragraph (or the first and second if the first paragraph was really short) of each draft I have access to with some commentary below the jump.
Continue reading →