Have you ever made mashed potatoes?
I'm from Idaho, so I know a thing about cooking a good potato. (Except for baked potatoes, for some reason? Fail every time.) And my mashed potatoes, guys, are so good that you don't even need gravy on them. For reals. If you don't believe me, come over on Thanksgiving. (This is your official invitation. Please don't lose it.)
But I learned something early on in my potato career: if you mash potatoes for too long, the starch breaks down into a very gummy substance and your potatoes turn into glue. This makes for a VERY unhappy mother when you drop the pot into the sink and don't rinse it for hours.
So, question for you: is it possible to overwork a story?
Yes. Yes it is.
I know, because I've done it.
GIANT DISCLAIMER: Since my last [embarrassingly hyper] post was all about how I got into Pitch Wars and ahkadsfajg kljfkdla and ohmygosh I'm going to learn so much, I want to mention that this isn't a post bashing Pitch Wars, or my mentors, or anything like that. They didn't contribute to this problem. This is all on me.
Here's the thing: I started writing this story six years ago. The idea hit me like lightning. I stayed up until six in the morning writing down scenes that played through my head like a movie. I finished the first draft in six months--very fast, for me--and clutched the story to my bosom like a precious babything. It was ready to face the world.
I learned a little something about writing craft, and began to see how my story needed to be improved. I got critique partners. I joined the writing community. I participated in contests and Put Myself Out There and took criticism like a champ.
And I revised. And revised. And rewrote. Revised. Rewrote. Rewrote. Revised.
Mashed and mashed and mashed and mashed and mashedandmashedandmashedandmashed.
Every pot of mashed potatoes must be squished and broken down. Every story needs revision. But there comes this moment...if you stir those potatoes one more time, they will be sticky and messy and hard to digest.
The same can happen with a story.
I'm not writing this for the pity vote. If anyone reads this, I would be surprised, honestly, because who does blogs anymore? Anyone? But I want to put it out there to the universe. Something about blogging again makes me feel the way I used to about writing. In a word, EXCITED. It's been a long time, and I want it back.
But I need to pull out some new potatoes and a clean pot and remember how to make mashed potatoes that taste amazing. Because when done right? That stuff is irresistible. Just wait until Thanksgiving.