26th February

I’ve not written a blog post because I’ve had nothing to say. Better to say nothing and be thought a fool, than to open one’s mouth and confirm it, as the saying goes.

I’ve been writing a story that has a strict 2k word limit. My initial draft was over 3k. The venue the story is for is on my ‘hit-list’. I have a story for it that has been in production for about 14 months, but is still not finished because I’m still seeking the right balance of theme/presentation and don’t want to spoil the core idea with a less than best story. The current story, though, is a beast of a different nature. I jotted down the parameters, did an solo idea-blast session, then a short free-write to coalesce the better ideas.

From there the story flowed out & 3k words later it was time to start cutting. I did a whole bunch myself, then reached out for help. Mark Schultz┬ádid a first pass for me and gave some solid help, then kicked me in the butt and said ‘finish the rest’. So I did. But being a delicate flower I asked for more help.

My fellow first reader at Plasma Frequency, Gemma, stepped in.

She spotted the flaw at the heart of the piece.

See, in cutting it down from 3k to 2k I had lost all the subtleties that allowed the MC to be the MC they were. I ended up with an easily guessed twist and on the nose dialogue. Panic time. (Also, this came on the same day I had 2 submission rejections, and one of them pointed out several 101 typos – it was not a good day for my writing confidence).

Option 1, the easy option, was to do nothing. Forget the whole thing and put the story into my burgeoning ‘to be revised file’. Option 2, the cowards/fools option, was to submit it as is. This was never going to happen. Option 3, wallow in self pity and then do the damned edits required.

I went for Option 3. It reads better. The feedback is positive as well (apart from an odd typo).

I’m in no way sure that this submission will get past the first readers, never mind anywhere near publication. But I am massively pleased that I chose Option 3. Too many times I’ve tried Option 2, so many of my pieces are victims of Option 1 (often as a result of being put through Option 1).

Onwards and onwards.