I’ve been working on a longer piece the last few weeks for a Halloween-like submission, and while I’ve finished the story, I’ve regrettably decided not to submit it. The story hasn’t had time to cool.
This pains me because the story is already a year old. It began last summer for another market, similar Halloween theme, as a 2K horror about scarecrows, but I missed that deadline and went over the word count anyways, finishing the rough draft at 3.5K. I wasn’t disappointed, thinking I’d just let it cool for a while, you know, like a year.
Once I dug into it this year though, the story line went through a good shift and ended up at 5.5K. Seems to be a repeating pattern. I wanted to make this deadline, so I busted my butt and managed to finish a decent polish on the story, now at 6.5K (still within the 4k-9K guidelines). However after changing that much of the structure, and adding a few more thousand words to it, I feel it needs to cool more before submitting. For a piece that size, I like to have at least a few weeks if not a month or two.
Even though the story is clean, might have a good chance of getting accepted, it’s just not finished yet – and that’s the tough part. When do you draw the line on completion? Many writers recommend never submitting anything you aren’t 110% satisfied with. It’s a bummer to have to wait another year for this story to see publication, but I owe it to my readers and myself as a writer. I can’t rush into a deadline and skip a cooling period, so the story will have to wait another year. That’s the problem with theme-specific works. Fortunately, I’ve plenty more to work on, like Zombie Elves Take Manhattan.