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How Do You Bring Fresh Eyes to Your Stories?

Colum McCann > Letters to Young Writers > How Do You Bring Fresh Eyes to Your Stories?

Stories can exhaust us. Sometimes we just can’t see them anymore. We have become so close that we forget what it might be like to read it for the first time. Often we need a bit of breathing space between us and our work. When you’ve finished a story or a poem try putting it away for a week or two so that you can look at it with fresh eyes. Or try different font sizes. Print it out in new ways: justify right, put it in italics, decrease the font size, print it out in book format, so that it feels like an actual book. Find a park bench where you can sit down and read it. Make the park bench somewhere you’ve never been before. Pretend you are a brand new reader. Come home. Read it aloud. Try moving the sentences back and forth. Experiment. Eventually you will find the right shape. Or at least the best shape you can find until you start to share it with others.