Writing–Polishing the Ivy Novella

An open can of shoe polish with a side-mounted...

No, this damn novella still doesn’t have a title, but I can at least call it almost done (my beta reader found a HUGE problem that I have to figure out how to fix, but that’s another post).

When we last left this novella, I was in the process of revising it, specifically focusing on cutting down the word count. And I hated it as a story. That happens sometimes for me when I revise projects. I get to the point where I think it’s shit and I no longer want to even look at it. Some projects I learn to love again; some I never do.

I honestly thought that Ivy was going to fall into the the latter category. I didn’t think it was that great and was really considering not to self-publish it like I had planned (setting up another dilemma of me not keeping my word, which is an issue that’s another post all together). But I was determined to at least see it through to the end. I wanted it to be completely done even if I did decide to shelve it.

And then I started polishing the piece.

For me, polishing means I start at the very last sentence of the work and read the whole thing backwards, one sentence at a time. It’s a trick my honors English teacher taught us. It takes the sentence out of the context of the story so you can find errors more easily (your brain isn’t lulled and reading things the way they’re supposed to be, not the way they are).

It was during this polishing business that I found that I did like the Ivy novella, a lot more than I thought I did. Sure, it still has some issues that need to be cleaned up, but on the whole, it’s a lot more enjoyable for me now than it was before.

I guess reading it backwards helped me shake it loose from the context of my dislike, too.

If only it could have given me a title for it.

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