P.14: The Other End of Word Counts

Two posts ago, I wrote about that frustrating moment when you write something you really like, but it comes out too long.

I forgot that there is a moment even worse in word count agony. It’s when you write something you really like, and it’s a full and complete story — and it’s too short.

As frustrating as it is to cut, it’s even more difficult to add. Adding enough words to a story to create a whole new scene or more changes a story in a way cutting rarely will. When a story feels finished, I never never want to add. But you can cut in ways that don’t change the spirit of a story, and often will make that story better.

Normally, it wouldn’t matter too much — if you have a story that’s not right for one outlet, you can send it to another — but it is a bigger pickle when you specifically wrote that story for a submission call.

Like I did with this one.


Thankfully, the deadline for the submission call isn’t for a while, so I have time to cook up some other part of the story, but it’ll probably take me almost as much time to figure that out as it did to write it in the first place — because I have to figure out what that new component will be and where it could possibly fit, to make sure it feels like a natural part of the story that was always supposed to be there.

Back to the drawing board for me, trying to think up possible new scenes and figuring out ways to squeeze them in.

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