WHEN WRITING A novel, the editing process is extensive and we all know about beta readers and getting opinions on the piece before continuing, before eventually submitting it to a publisher or literary agent. In other words we know what needs to be done.
But what about short stories? How do you ensure they are submittable? In an ideal scenario we would repeat the process from above, but if you’re like me your beta pool is very limited and becomes even more drained when people have been reading full drafts of a book. So what do you generally do to make sure they are as polished as possible?
So far all I can feasibly do is to edit out all the grammatical issues and punctuation, not too difficult as they are quite easy to fix due to their length, mine typically go between 500 words of flash to 3000 words with the occasional longer piece. Also, I’ll leave them lying around before editing them, I spot sloppy writing far better once I’ve put a distance between myself and the story after the initial elation of thinking it to be a masterpiece (rarely is that the case…). But I’m often questioning my work when I click send on an email or submission form. I get a horrible feeling, like I’m dirty, because I’m never quite sure how the piece reads beyond my experience, even if I have let it breathe for a few months.
What’s the solution? Is there one?