Sometimes, I look back on things I’ve written and think, “I can do better.” I’ve left stuff out, I don’t like the style, I need better word choices, whatever the case is. Usually, I can’t go back in after I’ve finished a story and do anything to it. Writing purges my brain of the story and all its details, and especially years later, I’m lucky if I even recognize a story as my own. But I’m trying to learn to be a better editor, and there are things about Cass that bother me, and I’d like to feel better about it. I re-read it before I started editing again and I’m still really proud of it, but I could be more proud of it.
By editing back in the threesome in Texas, for example.
Way back in college, I wrote an RPF that was a fantasy within a character’s mind. I wimped out before I posted it and took out the smut part of the fantasy and put it up as a fade to black fic. The smut was half of the reason I’d written it in the first place, but I was afraid. I’ve spent a lot of my life afraid. It’s exhausting. But there’s an incredible sense of weightlessness and freedom when I screw up my courage to stop being afraid.
Fear in writers is a funny thing. It’s just words on paper, how scary can it be? Really scary. Terrifying. Especially for writers who are private in addition to introverted, revealing too much of ourselves is one of the scariest things imaginable. The thing I keep having to remind myself of, though, is that most people aren’t thinking about the writer. In fact, if I’m doing my job, no one is thinking about me. They’re too lost in the story to even remember it’s not real.
Fear kept me from posting that fic with the smut in it until several years later when I decided to stop being afraid, and it’s one of my most enduring stories. Thirteen years later, I still get the occasional email about how much a reader enjoyed it. Fear kept me from leaving Joe and Miguel in Cass Gets Her Kicks and kept me from writing Santa Rosa and Flagstaff to the best of my abilities.
And my abilities have evolved. I have more skill now. I’m better at writing things that are easy to read. Readability is the #1 requirement for a good story, I think. Things that are difficult to read drag readers out of a story, and make all the plot holes, inconsistent characterization, and just general badness that much more obvious.
So I #amediting the vaqueros back into Cass Gets Her Kicks. Cass deserves her cowboys