At the end of August I attended an online workshop, Short Story Intensive with Mary Robinette Kowal. The ultimate assignment for the class was to write a short story based on all the previous work we’d done. We had ninety minutes.
I was pretty proud of my first draft, and the only real issue my readers (Mary and two of my classmates) had with it was the ending wasn’t as satisfying as it could have been – the bad guy went down without a fight (and off screen).
The ending I had worked, wrapped up the plot and character arc, but didn’t have the same emotional punch as an actual drag-down fight at the conclusion would have. Of course I knocked out that last scene (~450 words) in the last fifteen minutes before I had to submit, so overall I was happy.
Yesterday I sat down to revise my ending. It took me an hour, and here’s what I did.
- Original Draft Length: 2,885 words
- Cut original ending(1): Removed 196 words
- Started new ending(2): wrote 94 words
- New ending(2) didn’t have the feeling I wanted – cut it
- Started ending again (3), splitting part of it into a separate scene: wrote 263 words,
- stopped mid-sentence, second part of ending(3) not working: cut 157 words out
- Finished story with modified ending (3a) – a total of 456 new words
- Draft ready for beta readers: 3,152 words
So my story, which got it’s working title (Whatever It Takes) after I got the ending squared away, is a tad longer than I hoped. I was aiming for 3,000 words, but at this point I’m going ahead to send it for feedback, and will worry about trimming it once I get some reader reactions, and perhaps find a potential home for it (or at lest identify potential submission options).