A Writer’s Dilemma

by Lillian Csernica on June 26, 2013

Tonight I’m pondering opportunities and trying to see my way clear to the best combination of factors.  There’s an anthology with a submission deadline of June 30.  I have a story already in inventory that fits the theme.  The story needs to be one thousand words longer, and it needs to be stronger in terms of the horror content.  I think the story has some good selling points.  And yet, I’m torn between several considerations.  It’s hard to buckle down and write when I’ve got all these thoughts churning in my mind:

Do I add the thousand words, or do I keep it short?

Do I make it more to the gore-laden end of horror, or do I keep it in the dark fantasy spectrum?

Do I write in the first person to increase the immediacy of the action, or do I go with third person limited, which most editors seem to prefer?

Do I go ahead and submit to this market because this particular story suits the theme, even knowing the money and exposure will be relatively limited?

Do I build the story into something longer and better and take a shot at a higher-paying, more prestigious market?

How do I decide what my artistic priorities are?

How do I decide what my business/career priorities are?

How do I weigh them both against each other and come up with one prioritized list?  Can that be done?

At what point do I decide I’ve done right by the story, by my career, and by myself?

Time is money.  If I alter this story too drastically, I might cripple it for a wider range of markets.  Yes, I can keep a draft of the unchanged story on file and go back to that.  I’ve already done so.  Still, when do you take the leap of faith and blow up a story, reshaping it into something you hadn’t considered earlier, just on the chance that you might make the sale?  When do you step back and say, no, I’m going to let this one pass.  I’m saving this story for something/somewhere else.

I’d love to hear from you!  Let me know what you think.



Filed under fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Writing

2 responses to “A Writer’s Dilemma

  1. Those are tricky questions. What does your gut say? That’s always a good thing to listen too. It rarely steers people wrong.


    • I went for a second opinion and sent the story-in-progress to my best friend and sometime collaborator, along with a link to the anthology site. Her comments led me to take the story in a new direction.


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