Look for the Hot-Spots

I finish them all. This comes out of some kind of professional pride. I finish even if I know or strongly suspect a story is crap. You’ve got to get it done and see what you’ve got. Put it in a drawer for a few weeks—this cliché is true—and then take it out again, rub your hand over the material and look for the hot-spots. By a hot-spot I mean merely the good stuff, the true stuff. Actually, it’s what you tend to wriggle away from on the page. The stuff that makes you feel uncomfortable or shameful in some way. The stuff that embarrasses you, that isn’t trying to sound like, you know, a piece of cool prose. The stuff that comes from deep within you and mortifies you. These are the hot-spots. They make a story come alive.