Then I read it the next day, and felt that something was really wrong. I had put in more of this, less of that, plugged some gaps, but the whole nature of the story had changed. It had had a sort of magical and non-closed ending and now it was no longer magical, it was very harsh. I showed it to my writing group again and they all, without prompting, said the same: they preferred the first version. So, by approaching it analytically, I messed it up completely.
Since then, I've been canvassing opinion from writer friends about their processess. I don't even want to call it "revision" (which does remind me of school). Let's call it "working on" a short story. It seems that I should have asked sooner, because it might have saved me some guilt! Quite a few writers go back into that dreaming "zone", that creative space, to work further on a story, rather than switching hats and turning on some Editor with a capital "E". So, what do you do?
One friend looked through the Paris Review interviews and found this from Marilynne Robinson:
"If I write something and don't like it, I basically toss it. And I try to write it again or I write something else that has the same movement. But as far as going back and working over something that I've already written -- I really don't do that. I know there's a sentence that I need, and I just run it through my mind until it sounds right. Most of my revision occurs before I put words down on a paper."What works for you? I think the message here - I assume - will be that different tactics work for different people. Let's share some!