A lot of aspiring writers make the mistake of thinking that once they have finished writing a first draft of their story, that that is the end of the process. That their story is ready for publication. This is not true. Your first draft is a raw expression of what you want to say. Like processing a diamond, your story needs to go through a number of other stages before it is ready for publishing.
Some of the most suggested are the following:
- Read your story out loud to yourself and see if you can follow its rhythm and what it is about. You are your initial audience, if your story does not convince you, chances of it convincing other people are even smaller.
- Print your story out and read it on hard copy, its amazing the things you do not notice on a computer screen that will suddenly jump up at you on paper.
- Ask someone whose opinion you value to read and comment on your story. This can be a hard thing to do, but it is a useful one nonetheless. Another set of eyes can bring a fresh perspective to your story, or help you with sections of your story on which you may be stuck. Also if your aim is for your work to be read, critique and criticism are things that you as a writer are going to have to get used to.
- Rewrite, go through the above process again, and stop when you feel you have said, and done everything possible to shape and reshape your story.
At this point your story should be ready to be sent for publication. But bear in mind that wherever it is you send your story, they too might suggest further editing before your story is published.