Polish Your Diamonds – Quick Notes on Re-Writes

Polish Your Diamonds - Quick Notes on Re-Writes

The heatwave is over, thank God. Makes you wonder how Tennessee Williams, and William Faulkner did it. They wrote amazing, poetic stories about love and loss. All I could do was take care of the cats and try not to think about moving to Siberia. A rejection and a round of feedback from my beta readers is the source of this blog post. These quick notes on re-writes are a reminder to you, and me, of an important writing rule: polish your diamonds.

What does it mean to polish your diamonds? What do you do when you have a story idea you believe in that keeps getting rejected? The same thing you do with a diamond you dig up from the earth. A raw diamond doesn’t look like much of anything, at first. As you can see in the picture above, it may look like a piece of glass. But jewelers have a trained eye and the ability to see the gem underneath the flaws. Gems are made through the act of removing the stones flaws, and that is the perfect metaphor for your story.

Every story is a gem unto itself. Maybe a half-carat, maybe five, who knows. The craft of writing is about unearthing those gems from the deep mines of your mind, and then polishing them until they are the precious stones you always knew them to be.

Frankly, I blame other famous writers for the misconception that first draft = last draft. It’s not true, like ever. Writing, re-writing, feedback, more re-writes. That’s all part of the game. Sure, you may run across the occasional fully-polished gem ready for market as soon as you see it, but professional miners know not to expect those kinds of miracles. Instead, they know it’s about climbing down into the pit, doing a day’s work, and then seeing what you find.

So for both of us, my advice through these quick notes on re-writes is, polish your diamonds! They’re there. They’re beautiful. Your stories are waiting for you to do the work to make them shine.