Writing Tips | The Story Elves - Help with writing, editing, illustrating and designing your own stories

- Tip -

Put stories away, to sit in the dark


When The Waking Prince was finally written, I did something you might find peculiar.  I climbed the stairs to the attic, opened the door and slipped the story pages into an old elf shoebox.  I crept away, back down the stairs and left the story there, in the attic, in the dark.

I went about all of my usual business.  I started another story, I visited my aunt Trubelia in the Northern country, I made tasty stews and tended to my two mischievous goats…everything as usual.  Time passed.  Weeks passed.

Then, one day, I passed the stairs to the attic and I remembered that the story was up there, in an old elf shoebox.  I crept back up the stairs, with candle in hand, to retrieve it.  And, as soon as I had the story in my hand, it felt different to me.  It no longer felt like my story.

It felt like its own story.

I settled into a comfortable chair, with two logs just added to the fire, and I read.  Why, by this time, I had almost forgotten the story and all of its twists and turns!  I didn’t even recognize some of the writing!  Who wrote this story?  I asked myself!

And, as I read and enjoyed the tale, one or two ideas surfaced in my mind.  Even though I had, in fact, read the story many times before as I was working on it, suddenly I saw it with fresh eyes.

I should really suggest these ideas to the author, I thought to myself.

New idea: When you finish a story, put it away in a safe, dark place.  Don’t give the story another thought.  Let it vanish from your mind.

A day will come when you suddenly remember it.  Retrieve it from your hiding place, read it, and notice if—mysteriously—it now feels like the story was written by someone else.   Furthermore, as you read, notice any  ideas that spring to mind for changes.

If your story is for school, it is perhaps not advisable to put it away and forget about it for weeks.  Your teacher will be annoyed.  However, if you are writing a story on your own, or if you would like to work further on a story after it has been returned by your teacher, this is a very useful tip.

When I gave The Waking Prince a fresh reading after leaving it in a box in the attic, I immediately saw what the story wanted as its final touches.

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The Story Elves - Help with writing, editing, illustrating and designing your own stories