Step four major rewrite

When you're finished reading and analyzing your story, you might feel overwhelmed by all your reactions and ideas. There are so many. Where do you start?

Start at the beginning. Try to revise in order, the beginning and then the middle and then the end, so that you retain control over how the various scenes will appear to a reader. Take as long as you need. Go back to the beginning as often as you must. Consult your margin notes, and those of Sensitive Reader. Rewriting involves hundreds of decisions, some small and some large; make each one as best you can, keeping in mind that all changes should help move your story toward its climax.

You might feel yourself going stale on the story: a reluctance to work on it or even to think about it, or a feeling in the pit of your stomach that nothing you're doing is actually improving the work. If so, put it away for a few days. If you still feel stale, shelve it for yet a few more days. If you still feel stale, maybe the story's done. Read it once more. You don't, after all, want to be one of those writers who goes on tinkering with the same short story for ten years.

When you've made all the major changes in scenes, characters and structure that you're going to make, take a deep breath. You're almost there.

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