Three sentences off…

Hey writers.

Do you ever write a story, and have it ALMOST working–but it’s three sentences off?

Approximately three sentences, of course. Might be a few more or less.  Might be sentences you need to add, delete, change, or some combination of the above.  But those tiny changes make all the difference.

This happens to me a lot. Probably with half of the stories I write.  I get them 99% polished, but they’re just not quite right. I know they’re off but I can’t see how.  And the only way to see it is to put it away for a few weeks or months–which matters a great deal when I have a deadline to meet.

Few critiquers can identify the problem. They can usually point out why the story isn’t working, but rarely a solution.  And if they do propose a solution, it’s often major, like, “chop off the ending and do this instead.”  But it’s rare that I need such extreme measures.  If I’m patient, I can often solve the problem more efficiently.

Is this a common experience? Is this a result of my attention to detail and my efforts to make every word count?   Am I a hopeless perfectionist who’s making this harder than it needs to be?

5 thoughts on “Three sentences off…

  1. I consider attention to detail a good thing, but I wonder, are you still selling the stories at the 99% point, or not until you get them to 99.999%?

    Personally, I look forward to the day when my stories are ONLY three sentences off.


  2. Sometimes I can sell them at 99%. I even get great reviews and so forth. But more often I get what’s become my most common rejection–the “so close but not quite, please send us something else.” This is why I really want to see those last few changes before I submit.


  3. Pingback: Re: Three Sentences Off « Infinite Recursion

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