I've gotten (to use an inelegant but useful verb) a lot of mileage out of "Just Balloons, Please" which has gone through various drafts with various names. I used to claim I had revised it over and over, but I have come to understand that when I changed it--adding one sentence, deleting another, changing a word here and there, or switching the order of paragraphs--I wasn't revising. I was editing, or word-smithing. Call it what you will, I may have been improving it, but I wasn't revising.
When you revise a manuscript you look at it with new eyes and alter it in some fundamental way. You need distance for that. In the story's first years, back when it was called "Amanda's Birthday Balloons," or "Too Many Balloons," or something similar, I usually sent it out within a week of its most recent rejection. At the same time it was a mainstay of my school visits, where it was unfailingly popular, another story that seemed to inspire students to draw pictures. No distance.
There must be an optimum time for looking at a manuscript with an eye towards revising. You can't do it when you are still in love with it, but if you wait until too many subsequent stories have claimed your love and your efforts, this one may have calcified in your mind, and it will be almost impossible to find your way back into it.
To mix metaphors badly, I'm afraid that "Just Balloons Please" is like an old favorite dress. I know it's out of fashion but I won't add it to the clothes destined for the church rummage sale. I'll leave it hanging in the back of the closet to remind me of happy times when I wore it. And who knows, one of these years it may come back into style.
Thanks for visiting again. Happy reading, Everyone.
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