Got plans to revise two stories and finish another over the weekend. Revising short stories is something I’ve cut back on lately; I still give them a brush-up, but in general I find they’re compact enough to where I don’t need to go back and spend a lot of time refining characters and sharpening incomplete themes and all that mess that shows up in the course of a 300-page novel. I don’t think there’s a direct cause and effect relationship here, but since I’ve stopped the heavy revision of short stories, I’ve started selling a lot more.

The first exception is the first SFF short story I wrote two years ago. The problem is one of the main SFF elements was based around something out of a dream I’d had, and while this dream had an unusually strong narrative–normally any involvement of a dream in storytelling should be met with violence–there’s always been an undeniable dream logic to part of the resulting short story that I’ve never been satisfied with.

So it’s earned a few rejections, the most recent of which came yesterday. I gave no more thought to it than “Damn, I think there’s some really good stuff in this story, why doesn’t someone pick it up,” and as I was wandering around a parking lot, the solution came to me fully-formed. It involves aliens, but I don’t think that has anything to do with the fact it was 103 degrees out at the time.

The second exception is for a market that asks, oddly, to see just the first part of your submissions, and then if they like that they’ll ask to see the complete thing. I got a “Let’s see the rest” from them, which is cool, but now I of course feel compelled to fix the hell out of the part they haven’t seen yet. If I’d sent the whole story somewhere and they’d simply rejected it, I’d have no such instinct whatsoever.

It’s an unusual set of work for me, but these days I try to switch up my process all the time just to learn new things and build some new muscles. I imagine it will meet with as much success as when I started lifting weights, and strained my back for six weeks by sneezing.

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I am a Science Fiction and Fantasy author, based in LA. Read More.
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