I finished a new ~4,000 word story for a pro-paying anthology submission last night and mailed it off today, for Story #32 completed of my 2011 short story challenge. I thought the story turned out pretty well, but who knows. It’s impossible to judge your own work, so I will await the judgement of the editors, but I feel like I put out a good effort for this one and I’ll simply hope for the best.
I also received one rejection back from a story that had been out for a long time, and mailed it back out the very same day– to a market that pays better, even– so my race score now stands at 26.
I decided the ~5,000 word story that I had tentatively earmarked for the anthology had too many problems at present, so I decided not to mail it off yet. I’ll revisit that story in a while and decide what to do with it, with the options being mail it out as is (if fresh eyes revise my opinion of it), trunk it, redraft it (write most of it starting over from scratch), or most likely, add some scenes and word count so that it can deliver better on its original promise.
The absolutely key thing to avoid is a death-spiral of revision, tempting though that may sometimes be. I found myself quite tempted to start fiddling with this one, which from experience I know is at best a fine way to waste time and at worst a very effective way to ruin a perfectly good story. This is also what Kris ‘n’ Dean preached repeatedly at their Short Story Workshop– it takes a lot of experience and skill to make anything more than superficial revisions to a story, particularly if you let youself slip into critical voice– so I just set it aside and completed the other story instead, and now I’m glad that I did.