There was a really good question for this month’s IWSG – When do you know when your story is ready?
The Busan Writing Group that I’m with has put out two anthologies, Nothing too Familiar and Convergence, and each one is a self-published collection of our own stories. We reviewed and edited our own submitted stories in our workshops. We knew we were done when a) our agreed-upon publishing date was looming and b) each story had no major problems that we could identify as a group. I won’t say it’s a perfect process – I have a suspicion that if we had all tried to submit our final stories to magazines and contests instead, only one or two might have been accepted. The stories met our standards as a writing group trying to show that we do actually write and publish.
So my answer to When is it done? is “When I’ve shown it to a good number of people and I’ve acted on their feedback accordingly.”
What the heck is a “good number of people” you ask? Ah, well that varies wildly. If there are plenty of friends around with MFAs in writing or an established sense of good writing, I might only have to show my story to 2 or 3 people. If the people around me don’t have as much experience with writing, then I’ll probably share my work with 5 or 6 others and get a sense of how well the story reads to the general public.
But finishing a story always means sharing it. I’ve tried publishing stories that I didn’t run past others, and it wasn’t pretty!
With how many people do you share your story before finalization?
How important is “beta reading” to your story-writing process?
Leave your answers in the comments!