So I've been revising my short story collection. Again. Putting in newer stories. Taking out other stories. Tinkering (improving, I hope) stories that have already been published. Catching typos and repetitions and writerly tics.
This is the sixth official revision. At least there are six versions of the Word doc that contains the manuscript. The truer number is probably more like 20-25. Something like that.
And this time I did a little something different.
I wrote out all the story titles on 3 x 5 index cards. Then I spread the cards out on the floor. Arranged. Rearranged.
This really helped me "see" the collection as a whole (vs. scrolling through the Word doc).
At one point, my five-year-old son Ethan came into the room.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
"Well," I said, "I'm trying to see which order I want to put the stories in my book. To see which one should go first and then second and then third and on and on. Does that make sense?"
"What do you think?" I asked.
He looked down at all the index cards, all the individual stories that hopefully come together as something more, something greater.
"You should put the best story first," he said.