Sometime earlier this month, I mentioned a new short story I had just recently completed. You can find that post here. I also mentioned needing to trim it down to around the 5,000 word mark or below, even though the rough draft clocked in at around 6,800 words or so. It was a tall order, but I was dismayed when, upon re-reading the draft, I ended up only cutting around 400 words when all was said and done. Dang it! Simply put, there was way too much in the story which I felt was critical to what I, the writer, wanted to have said. Try as I might, I simply could not cut anything more out besides the odd word or three here and there. Baby stuff, really. Not the major cutting I would need to do in order to get the ms under 5k.
To make matters more complicated, a dear and trusted friend of mine who I shall not name but who's opinion I trust more than anything, agreed to do an early reading and was able to hash out some of the finer points with me. We both concluded that, rather than cutting anything from the manuscript, I should in fact add more. Specifically, my friend felt as if the story was missing a key scene. Something that would not only help explain the motivations of my protagonist better, but which would also allow some of the finer plot points I was being coy with make more sense to the reader. And I agreed with this assessment.
So I went back to the drawing board and crafted a whole new scene to insert. The scene turned out really well, and I'm very proud of what it brings to the overall effect now.
See? Collaboration is wonderful!
But here's the thing. The story is now 7,400 words long. Not terrible; it still falls under the 7,500 max for a classic short story. And I'm sure I can pare that down by another 200 words or so. But it might make this a little harder to sell to certain markets.
But that's besides the point of this blog post. What I wanted to ask of you, my friends, is if I could get any volunteers to do a second round reading for me? I trust my regulars here, and all I'm really looking for is someone to do a cold reading and give me their frank opinion on what I wrote. You don't have to get too technical with line edits and pointing out typos and grammos and all those sorts of nitpicks--although, I certainly would not begrudge that level of attention to detail. No, if all you can do is give me a quick assessment on whether or not the whole bloody thing works as a story (e.g.: yes, it does; or, no, it has some issues, dude!) then that will be perfectly fine as well. As will anything which falls in-between these two extremes.
All I'll say about the story itself is that it is dark and mysterious, with vaguely supernatural and religious undertones, although if you really know where to look you will realize that it takes very definite sci-fictional cues. Or, at least, SFnal ones. Speculative Fiction is, after all, a very broad and generous genre. This story in particular deals with the themes of death, love, and fate. With heavy focus on the first two.
So, if anyone is interested and up to the task, please contact me via e-mail (it's up at the top right of this blog, under my profile) or via my Facebook inbox, and I will send you the link and password to access the Word doc. It will be saved as an .rtf (Rich Text Format) file, so it should work on everyone's preferred device of computing. I hope.
And I must stress this: Please do not feel obligated. I will not disown you for not reading my story. I don't even really need a whole lot of readers; just one or two who are dedicated to the task and have the free time. Of course, the more will always be the merrier . . . but don't feel pressed if you really can't be bothered. I of all people understand how real life gets in the way of things, and there will be no hard feelings on my part. I totally understand.
That being said -- those who do undertake this mission, I will love you long time and FOREVER! :) Not that you in any way need to find that a significant motivator.
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