Editing a Short Story – Before & After

Editing is weird.

Part of me really hates it because work bleeehhh.

Part of me really loves it because the satisfaction in stripping down a piece of writing and making it sound much better is just addictive. So addictive in fact that it’s hard to take a step back from the work and realize that it’s as close as finished as it can be.

I recently edited a short story of mine, Pink Hair, Red Blood, and I felt like sharing an excerpt of the edited version with you guys. Just cause.

So here goes.

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PINK HAIR, RED BLOOD

ONE

I didn’t want to believe it was true, but my brothers insisted it had worked on them so I had to see for myself. So I sneaked out of the house when everybody was asleep.

Following their directions, I crossed the forest, made a left at the scarecrow, and spotted the cabin made of bones. My brothersThey had said to knock four times, once at each corner of the red blue wooden door, so I did.

It opened. slowly and too quietly.

Slowly and too quietly.

A girl with pink hair and of about ten years old was smiling at me. Her hair was pink and her dress black. I was disturbed by her eyes; they had the exact same almond shape than mine. Roby and Melville had told me the girl had eyes as blue as theirs, but I was staring straight into the same dark brown of my eyes.

She’s right on time Is that her,?” she asked.

“Um, I’m Cam,” I said, unsure if she’d been talking about me, or even to me. “Are your parents here?” I asked.

Her smile was distorted, as though she’d put on her mom’s red lipstick for the first time.

“They always look so scared,” she said.

I cleared my throat.Um, I’m here for the cup of tea.”

She waited a second before answering, as if listening to the echo of my words. “They all come for it eventually.”

She let me in and rushed to get the kettle hung in the hearth. In the ashes, roses were burning, their dark petals crippling. She pulled the kettle out. “It’s ready, ladies,” she said.

“Is there anyone else here?” I asked.

She sat on the floor in front of an ivory cup. “Just us. Sister, I need a drop of blood for it to work.”

At once, sSomething stung the back of my hand. I gasped and looked around but nothing sharp was near me. Nothing could have pricked me, y. Yet a fat, red drop was running down my hand.

“They’re always so scared,” the girl said, pouring hot steaming water in the cup. “It’s just a drop.”

I held my hand over the cup and two warm drops fell in it. They swayed swaying in the water, as a knot formed in my stomach. The girl blew on the liquid and it turned to a pink as bright as her hair.

“Hurry before it freezes,” she said, giving me the cup.

I was astonished to see cCrystals of ice were already tracing the edges of the water. I took and the cup; it was icy in my left hand and but scalding in the right one, the one that had freed the blood.

I drank it all. It didn’t taste like anything, but it smelled like smoke. “What now?” I asked.

She giggled, and I really wished my brothers had been lying about this all when the girl’s petite figure started to blur.

To be continued


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