How to stop trunking my short fiction before it's even submitted?
March 21, 2013 10:36 AM Subscribe
I've been writing short fiction. I've got my process down pretty well, to the point that I am not getting stuck in writer's block hell or any other common pitfalls. I have ideas, and I'm capable of getting them down on paper. I revise them, I produce new drafts, etc.
My problem comes in the last phase of the process. I don't know when to say something is done
posted by deathpanels to Writing & Language (11 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I'll write four or five drafts of a piece, send it to my workshop group, get some useful feedback, and then try to incorporate their notes into a "final" draft. But at this point, I don't feel like the story is finished, per se. Instead, I get it to a point where I am at best mostly happy with the story but I don't know how to make it "perfect." Then I stall, I lose confidence, and I put the piece in a dark, damp corner of my harddrive where it never sees the light of day, because I just don't know how to proceed.
Perfection, I realize, is impossible to achieve. I would like to fix this problem of trunking stories before I even submit them. Some drafts are of course not meant to be, but I find myself frequently throwing out work I'm otherwise happy with because I don't know how to make it "done." If I were a professional writer, I could send "almost done" drafts to my editor and let them propose some changes, but alas I am very much a plucky amateur. Would hiring a professional editor on a per-story basis be advisable? Should I just submit my "almost done" stories for publication and trust that the editors of publications to which I submit will provide some suggestions if they like the piece but feel it lacks polish? I want to understand the "right" way of handling this part of the process, because my current fumbling, childish abandonment of my own work is bumming me out.
(By the way, at the moment, I'm writing stories that fall into either the category of "soft" science-fiction or science-fiction-flavored literary fiction, if that makes a difference.)