Spent the dawning weeks of spring typing like a madwoman (yes, between 11:00 p.m. and 2:30 a.m. for the most part, really don’t try that at home). The result? One completed science fiction short story ready for submission to the internationally renowned and equally terrifying Writers of the Future contest.
Current track record with this contest?
Outright Rejected Stories: 3
Honorable Mention: 1
Silver Honorable Mention: 1
Opportunities Remaining: unlimited.
I don’t give up easily. But because my stories are usually part of something much, much larger, I’ve got a lot of allusions and backstory stored in my head nobody reading it knows.
It makes it difficult at times to know a good story from a bad one. That and the usual lack of sleep.
Deep fears about this story: It’s too long, it’s too confusing, the sci-fi aspect is too soft, I’m literally just hitting all the tropes of the genre and still running, I have successfully created the first viable work that is 98% backstory, 2% action, and the last story I submitted was rejected anyway, so they’re probably not going to like this one any better–chocolate, please?
In other words, I’m feeling about like usual.
What I did rediscover this time around is that I’m probably going to be a very good novelist. This short story is drawn from a small part of my 2019 NaNoWriMo project. So all I really had to do was tighten up the writing, finish the ending, fill in some plot holes, and cut it down to a whopping 17,000 words. Easy, right?
I cut so many things out! I had 17,000 words and it wasn’t nearly enough space. Best friend’s love interest? Almost entirely deleted. Dramatic sequence at final conflict? Forget it. Every scene longer than a page? Squished into two paragraphs. The opening sneeze? Vanished entirely.
I yearn for the day I am an established author and can gleefully move on to novels as expansive as I like.
On the other hand…
Maybe this is a good one. Maybe my characters’ voices are as strong as I think they are. Maybe they’ll sing out over the rest and make it one worth remembering.
Maybe it’s a story that will make the reader fall in love.
Just as soon as I get myself to hit submit.