I finally sat down yesterday and did some major editing on a short story I'm working on. I actually enjoyed it because I've been away from this project for so long that I had forgotten some of the things I had written. I surprised myself in several instances - there's some really good stuff in there. And now there's even more good stuff in there because I added and removed.
I did some acting when I was in high school and one of my director told me that acting is reacting. I think the same can be said of writing: Writing is Re-writing. Granted, nothing would get done if I didn't sit down and write the rough draft. But it's when I edit and re-write that it all comes together to form something I can be proud of. The first rough draft has promise and it's somewhere to start. But the deeper meaning of my stories and the real character development doesn't happen until the re-write. This is mostly because I don't really know who my characters are at the start. By the end of the first draft I have a better idea, but I get to know them as I wrestle with their development and add the little things that reveal who they are to my reader.
This short story I'm working on still has a long way to go before I'll consider it finished. I've learned a lot in the last month that it's been waiting and I'm excited to implement some of these concepts into this piece. There's more to be done, but I know that this is the refining work that will make it worth my while.
How do you feel about editing? When do you really find out who your characters are?