The Story That Still Insisted

About a month ago I wrote about a story that that insisted on being written. So I finally wrote it, after the concept had been moving around in my mind for a few years.

During the weekend I edited and revised the same story. It hadn’t been knocking on my door quite as loudly as it had been before I wrote the first draft, but after a break of about a month, I felt called to work on it some more.

Just like last month, I’m unsure to what end I’m working on this piece. I keep telling people it’s not my usual type of story, and now that it’s polished I feel the same about it. The disturbing parts are no less disturbing now that I’ve edited it, though there does seem to be more light shining from the ending than before. I can’t decide intellectually if the end justifies the rest of it, but on an emotional level I have to say it feels as though it does. On that level, I find the story satisfying, something of which I can be proud.

Yet even now I don’t feel immersed in it. Even now that it’s revised and edited I don’t get that feeling relief and admiration for having at last completed a story idea I loved and appreciated from day one. It feels more like having served on a jury and done what i thought was right; I wouldn’t line up to be in a jury, and would find some aspects of being so uncomfortable and inconvenient. Yet I would not bend over backwards to get out of it, either, in most cases. It’s something that should be done when it is asked of me, and that’s how I feel about this story.

How does one perfect such a story? When I’m, for lack of a better phrase, “in love” with the material there is that moment when I know, “I’ve got it,”. Does that moment ever occur when you feel responsible for a story you wouldn’t have chosen for yourself? I’m thinking that it is at least possible, since I can in fact detect improvement between the first draft and the current state of the piece. Perhaps I am able to view this story from a more detached perspective and will know all the earlier when I’ve “nailed” it. That is my hope, at least, because I don’t want to go on feeling this story is unfinished for years to come.

Even if the “nailed it” moment comes, then what? Do I wait to see where this story “wants” to go next in terms of publication? Do I post it on my Wattpad and have done with it, or do I do extra research and try to find a match in places i don’t normally look for submissions? Or do I just hold on to it forever and share it with nobody?

I doubt it is the last one, as after all of this I have gone through with it, I at least want someone to read it to tell me if it’s anything. But that doesn’t solve much, because I don’t know who this story is for. Granted, I’m not as precise with my target audiences when writing as most authors are, but in this case I really don’t know who the audience is. It seems mostly literary. Sin and redemption would be the broadest theme I could ascribe to it. It’s under 4,000 words. Certainly it’s dark for much of its length. But not horror, and not Gothic.

What is this story??

I assume I am getting closer to an answer, as I’ve completed one set of edits, and will probably proceed with the next set in the near future. Already I have some suspicions as to what it may all really be about, though when i sit down to work on it, those reasons seem to vanish, and I once again find myself wondering why i wrote this.

That’s probably why it seems so detached, and the answer so elusive…one of those times when it’s so obvious I miss it.

If I do figure out more, I’ll let you know.

*

There is no mystery, however, to the purpose of my recently published short story collection. If you’d like a copy of Thank You for Ten: Short Fiction About a Little Theater all you need is 99 cents, and one of these links. For Kindle, for Apple, and various formats from Smashwords.

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