Part of the problem with writing and rewriting in the best of circumstances is that it’s hard to pick up on your own errors. It’s even worse in a situation like Clarion, where we’re writing a story a week, so each day you’re desperately trying to make progress and then edit for structure and then, maybe, if you’ve done really well managing your time, get down to a couple passes for spelling and line edits.
For example — we did a crit on a story I wrote last week today, and I knew the voice needed to be as close to perfect as I could get it, because… well, anyway, the voice is much of the story. I put a lot more time into sentence-by-sentence editing and so on, at one point looking through the whole story for ways to make sentences convey meaning in fewer words even if it broke grammar rules.
I turned it in and didn’t look at it for two days. Today, during crit, people pointed out some obvious stuff (like I mentioned uniforms repeatedly without adding anything) and when I re-read it, they’re totally right. In going through it repeatedly, I kept adding stuff to two different sections, and made them both half-adequate and duplicate each other. And there’s a whole set of minor word-missing errors and stuff.
Ugh. Time pressure doesn’t allow us to step away from a story for a day and, like many of our weaknesses, our problems are greatly exacerbated by the constraints we work under.
I agree with you completely on this. My work suffers until about the third draft and I haven’t been able to squeeze in anymore than one and a half drafts of anything so far. I’m worried that the story i just turned in will be a massive ball of suck because I haven’t even had time to read over it.