I recently completed a story. For three years it sat in my computer, resisting further scenes, which I thought it needed. I had this beautiful ending line – “The train went past, and after it was gone, all that remained was the terrible silence”. I couldn’t let go of that line, I though I needed to build to that point, that that was the end of the story. I thought because I couldn’t write the scenes that drove the story to that end point that I had lost the inspiration for the story.
I left it alone, although every time I did go in and read it, it begged to be completed. That last line hung in the air around it like the terrible silence. I even took it to another writer last year and asked for suggestions. She didn’t really make any, except to say she liked the dialogue and that she sucked at dialogue. (Sometimes we are so self-absorbed!)
Fast forward to about six weeks ago. I happened upon a call out for submissions to Overland Magazine, for manuscripts from new writers. I opened my folders and looked through. And that story, stubborn little thing, suddenly showed itself. I restructured the paragraphs – actually, I moved the scenes around into a different order, and suddenly (like a b-grade story…), there it stood. Completed. I tweaked a couple of words, tightened a few lines, and sent it off. I’m still waiting on the reply, but apparently they do read them all (I heard that from the editor herself at a writers’ festival).
After I submitted it I asked one of my lecturers (a published author and reader of much beginner fiction) to read it. He gave me positive feedback, not much editing, and the affirmation that I could get it published ‘somewhere’.
So the wait continues, and supposing it is rejected, the hunt remains for the right market. At the very least though, I can stop carrying that story around, wondering how and when it’s going to be finished.
And that fabulous last line? Is it?
If it is, it’ll fit somewhere, some time.