I’ve been experimenting. The usual steps have been: write a story, fiddle/tweak/play for a bit, then format for submission to journals.
But then I started reading Sarah Selecky’s blog. (She wrote the Giller short-listed collection of short stories, This Cake Is for the Party, and if you haven’t read it, well, what are you waiting for?) She has a five-part tutorial on what she terms Deep Revision and they have completely transformed the way I attack the revision/editing stage. And I mean attack. I am now armed with scissors, tape and a mess of coloured highlighters.
If you follow her suggestions, and you don’t have to follow them all but I recommend that you do, story revision will take a lot longer and be a lot more challenging. But you will also make some surprising discoveries about the story and maybe about yourself. And, the goal of any writer, you will create stories that are stronger, better, and point to something larger.
So, back to the title of this post. You’ve finished your story. That’s great! But don’t go hunting up journals on Duotrope quite yet. The work has only just begun.