I recently finished the second draft of a new short story, and at the moment I'm feeling pretty good about it.
The story was inspired by a prompt from The Five Hundred that I used as a jumping-off point and then ultimately ignored. The story wasn't finished after 500 words, and I was feeling inspired, so I just kept going.
I finished the first draft on January 17th with a total of 3123 words. I sent it off to a few people to read and got two sets of feedback, both of which were very helpful.
The next step was to print out the draft and read it aloud with a red pen in my hand. I ended up doing rewrites and tweaks throughout. I think the combination of reading it aloud and working from a printed copy helped me get some necessary perspective on the story.
As I read through the story, I changed the narration from present-tense to past-tense. I also decided to delete several unnecessary characters and give two of the remaining characters more scene time. Finally, I came up with something more active for the main character to do, since one piece of feedback I got was that he was very passive throughout.
After I finished the red pen read-through, I let a few days pass before I sat down and incorporated the changes into my Scrivener draft. Once that was done, I got down to the business of writing a new scene in the middle of the story as well as a new ending.
When I finished the second draft on February 10th, it came in significantly longer at a total of 4422 words despite the fact that I'd deleted two scenes. I started the story on January 14th and finished the second draft slightly less than a month later, which is a pretty decent turnaround time.
As soon as I finished the second draft, I sent it off to my beta readers. I included two new people who didn't get a chance to read it the first time around. My hope is that I'll get some fresh perspectives on the story from people who never saw the first draft.
Although I feel good about the story, I'm not entirely sure if I pulled off the ending. I'm looking forward to seeing what my readers have to say about it. Ideally, I'd like to start submitting this story before the end of February.
As for what comes next in my writing queue, I need to spend some quality time with my outline for screenwriting class. I let story rewrites take precedence and now I don't have much to show for myself at this week's class.
Although I would like to have more than one story ready for submission, I don't want to neglect my outline. That means I'm going to put a pin in my stories for the time being and focus on getting my outline into shape as soon as possible.