This was a tough decision for me. I’m not one to give up easily. I do think any idea can be salvaged. But that still doesn’t mean something is publishable, or a least publishable in the way I want it to be. Or that the time spent fixing the story isn’t better spent on writing new ones.The entirety of her post - which has amazing advice in it about why you might consider the trunk and how to know when it's time - had me cringing and nodding in sympathy. I just retired the first story of 2012, which was also one of the first stories I wrote a few years ago when I decided to take a serious stab at writing.
The first time I wrote it, it was a flash piece (based on a dream, I might add). It always bugged me that I couldn't place it. It bugged me even more that there was something about it that just didn't feel right.
This year, short on ideas for Write 1, Sub 1, I decided to take a stab at rewriting it, from scratch. This second effort was much longer. It had more developed characters. I introduced an amazing grandmother character. I cooked up a central romance that was sweet and endangered. The main villain got a fair shot at redemption. The tentacles were writhing. I sent it out a couple of places, but gee if I didn't still think - sorry, know - that there was something essentially wrong with the whole thing. Probably that same thing was wrong when it was a flash piece.
I'm not sorry I tried to rewrite it. It was a good lesson. I didn't have a clear idea of any changes I wanted to make to the original story. "More detail" was how I approached the rewrite, but I laid that detail out on the same skeleton as the original piece.
The bottom line for me is that I don't want to fool myself into sending something out when it's got my Spidey Sense tingling. If it doesn't feel right, I might not be able to put my finger on it, but I would rather put my efforts behind a piece I believe in. Other shorts I've written this year have come together in a much more felicitous fashion. I couldn't necessarily put my finger on why they work and this other piece doesn't. I don't think a writer always knows, either. There are plenty of pieces that I am not sure about that I send out anyway. Sometimes that works out, and the story becomes brilliant in my mind in retrospect. (Yes, because someone else liked it. I am sometimes shallow.)
It's just that when there is that feeling that something is missing or lacking, that there is something about a piece that gives me the hinks, I would rather put it aside.