Never Make Me Cry

I had a major breakthrough on one of my short stories yesterday, and got some decent work done on the book. Not as much as I would have liked–and yes, I am behind on it–but progress is progress and I will always take it. Here’s hoping I can get back on schedule this weekend. A couple of really “on my game” days is all it will take, really.

Hopefully, some of that magic will occur today.

It’s always lovely to have a breakthrough on a story. This particular one was written several years ago for an anthology submission, was turned down for that–then slightly revised and resubmitted twice more, only to be rejected twice more. It’s seem right for yet another submission call, so I dragged it out again because I know there’s a publishable story in there somewhere. Yes, I can be stubborn, and I am determined to get this story not only right, but published somewhere. (I hate that there are so few markets for short stories, but that’s a whole other story.) But I did go through it another time and make some good corrections; then last night in the car on the way home I was struck by the proverbian lightning and realized exactly what was wrong with the story, and now I know how to not only fix it, but make it so much better.

It’s SO annoying when it takes me so long to work out what’s wrong with a short story.

THIS is why I find short stories so hard, I might add. Sometimes a short story just springs from me, the first draft just being rough but the actual story is there and just needs tweaking, some polish, and some refinement; other times it takes me years and I can never quite put my finger on what’s wrong with it–and then, hopefully, out of the blue the answer comes right to me, like yesterday.

Needless to say, I prefer the former over the latter. There are some stories still languishing in my files, waiting for the lightning bolt to strike. Some of those waiting for me to figure out what’s wrong with them include “Fireflies”, “The Ditch,” and “The Weight of a Feather” (although I think I’ve figured out how to fix that one).

There’s another subset; stories that began as ideas that I started writing, got pretty far into, and couldn’t figure out how to end: “The Scent of Lilacs in the Rain”, “Never Kiss a Stranger”, and “All Hallows Eve.” What often happens is the stories turn out to be different then the original idea (the last being one of those) and yet I still try to graft the original idea onto it rather than saving that for another story and just writing the story as it comes to me.

Idiocy, really.

And now back to the spice mines.

Today’s hunk is Zac Efron, on a skateboard.

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