I finished my first short story in almost nine years today and it feels great. This is a story I’ve had in my head for a while and wanted to write, but I’ve mostly been focusing on novels lately and have gotten out of the writing for free game, so options were always going to be limited. Then lo and behold last year I got an email from an old friend who was editing an anthology and wondered if I might like to submit something. The money offered was good, and provided the story wasn’t awful, acceptance was virtually guaranteed, so that gave me the freedom to really dig into the uncomfortable parts of this story without worrying about how it would appeal to a submissions editor.
The next week I filled out the contract, opened a file with the story name and then sat on it for a long time mulling the story over in my head. The final version is much, much different than from the version I originally had in my head. It was originally going to be a revenge/protector story featuring a complicated and horrible character I wanted to attempt to make sympathetic. But as I worked through the story in my head, the plot just wouldn’t work. I finally cracked it open when I switched to the POV of the mother involved and suddenly I had a doozy of a piece about a mother faced only with bad choices and how she navigates the loss of her daughter. I’m very happy with how it turned out and hope my career included many more invitations to write for anthologies because I love doing it this way (actually, I have one more invite I accepted that it technically writing for free but the proceeds will be donated to a cause I care a great deal about, so I’m excited to do it).