When is it good enough?

Once again I woke with a story in my head. Well, not so much a story as a What if on my own life. Actually much of my fiction is based on that premise, so much so that I sometimes write the real names instead of the pseudo made up ones. This was definitely one of those.

Of course, me being me, I immediately abandoned my current novel (the one that also came in a dream, the one where, 35k words in, I still have no idea what it’s about) to write this story. Luckily it came out as a short story, two scenes, 2,700 words. I’d nailed it in less than two hours over tea and toast in the coffee shop, after dropping off the kids.

Problem is, I think it’s great. I bought a copy of Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special on the way home (I don’t know a lot about where to sell short stories, so it seemed a good place to start) and I’m all set to send it in. Besides I need to get something published soon before the bills send me back to work.

And that’s my Achilles Heel.

Having been told in the past that my writing was dull, any time I pen anything vaguely readable I’m just so excited I think This is it!

Of course, in reality, I should add ‘sh’ to the beginning of that last word because, as a first draft, it undoubtedly is. The difficulty for me is, once I’ve accepted the ‘sh’ bit, I don’t know what I need to do to make it better.

I write in a certain style, quite simple and chatty. Should I be more descriptive, build in alliteration, metaphors, similes? More sounds, smells, colour? Make my plots more complicated or daring. Make my characters suffer more, make them funnier? And if I do all that (assuming I can, of course, which is another issue entirely), will it retain what I love most; the easy going chatty style? And more importantly, will it sell?

I was always told to write for intrinsic rather than extrinsic reasons: I do love to write and that’s mostly why I do write, but, you know, the bills still need to be paid. I know that only a lucky few make a fortune as a writer, and not that many make a living. I just need to make enough to pay for childcare.  

Hmmm. Answers on a post card please!

4 thoughts on “When is it good enough?

  1. Different writers have differing styles and differing amounts of description and dialogue. You write how you write. If you think your story is publishable then send it off. He very worst that can happen is you get a rejection slip. But you won’t know what could happen if you don’t send it in.
    I would suggest finding an unbiased beta reader to double check your work and to give an opinion as to the quality.

    • Thanks! I would dearly love to find an unbiased beta reader, but I’m scared to join in writers forums and stuff, which only leaves family. They try, but they’re not really target audience, and they would probably worry about hurting my feelings.

      I’m just impatient, because of the need to make a decision about going back to work… When I read the blogs, I see the dozens of stories, dozens of rejections people go through before they find success. I know I need to go through that too, I’m just not sure I have the strength (or financial stability!!)

      • Two ideas – First try searching on line for a local writers group. It’s often hit or miss doing so but you might luck out and find a great group just down the street.
        Second try asking at your local library if they host or know of a writer’s group. I found out just a couple weeks ago that my library players host to several of them during a month’s time.

        Writer’s groups can be a scary prospect but I know a few people in such groups and they love them.

  2. Pingback: Reach for the prize « writermummy

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