I had an interesting experience the other day that I thought I’d share with my fellow writers (and readers). I had finished my second short story and sent it off to my beta extraordinaire. The feedback I got caught me by surprise.
“Loved the story,” she said. “That’s a very good first chapter. Where is the rest?”
“There is nothing more. The story is finished,” I answered.
“But it’s not! I want to know what happens next. This episode is over, yes, but the story itself isn’t finished.”
I didn’t try to argue with my beta because experience taught me that most of the time she was right anyway. Instead I went back to my story and thought long and hard about it. At first, I couldn’t see how I could continue it – in my mind, the story was finished. But something kept nagging at me for the next two days. I was neck deep in the revision of my novel, but my mind kept coming back to that short story, over and over again.
And Friday I finally had that ah-ha moment. You know, that moment when the scene you had been struggling with all of a sudden comes out seamlessly, or when you manage to fill in a particularly baffling plot hole? Yup, that moment. To me it was the realization that my beta had been right – there was more to my story than I thought at first. And I knew exactly where that story still had to go, and where it would end, for good this time. Now I just have to find the time to sit down and write it. So what I thought would be a short story turned out to be a novella instead.
It’s the first time this happened to me, but it’s true that I am just an apprentice, as far as writing goes. So I am wondering, did something similar ever happen to you? And if yes, how often?
I want to hear your stories. How often did you think that your story was done when in reality it wasn’t?