The Plight of the Short Story

When I first sat and read through the manuscript of TO WRITE A NEW NAME, I knew I had a winner. Yes, it needed revision and polishing. But it was a damned good story told in a good voice. That’s a feeling of absolute promise.

But it’s somewhat crippled by its length. Too long to be a short story, too short to be a novel, it falls in the gray area between all those. The biggest problem with this is that there are maybe five magazines that take work that length. The writers conferences don’t want something that long. If it was the right length, I’d be submitting it in contests in a flash. But I can’t, because they want UNDER 3000 WORDS!!!

The deadline for the Southeastern Writers Conference submissions is April 15. I can’t write a new story by then, no way. It’s possible I could take RED SUN, but I have little confidence in that. INHERENT will be a second draft by then, almost feasible, but certainly not ready to submit now. I might be able to squeak SAINTS AND VIRGINS in under the wire… Maybe.

Shall I go for it? I like SAINTS AND VIRGINS, but I don’t know if it’s compelling enough. Or shall I pull out the stops and see if I can write an incredibly good story in one week?! (No. Not doing that…)


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