Maybe I should have named my blog Potpourri or Pastiche or simply a Savory Stew because I aim to throw a lot of different things into the pot, mostly about reading, writing and art, but many other things, too, because I’ve lived a long time and have a lot of interests. I also will include here thoughts of others I come upon who share my loves. Including those of you who care to share your thoughts and impressions.
Story Length and Rewriting
posted by Ed Farber on February 25, 2013

I wrote a detective story once. It ran over 5,000 words. I sent it to numerous publications and got turned down.  A couple of editors took the time to write and say they liked it, but it was too long. Most other magazines limited story length to under 3,000 words.  I tried to edit it down (rewrites) but when I did it lost its punch. Maybe Hemingway could have done it, but I couldn’t. The story languished in my files unpublished.

I like the story. You might say, “of course you would like it, you wrote it.”

It ain’t necessarily so. I’ve written a lot of stories that I didn’t like and never sought to publish for one reason or another. Most were tossed into the big round file. This one, however, I liked.

I’m going to include it in my Clara Avenue collection. Editors and word limits be damned!

This is not to say that you shouldn’t try to make your stories as tight as possible. I believe you should. Never accept your first draft as the end-all. Rewriting is what really strengthens a story. In my files are stories that have as many as 8 to 10 rewrites, some even much more. I keep them all so that I can compare my “final” rewrite with the other efforts.

I have to leave this blog now…to do a rewrite of a story!


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