Well, I didn't meet the Sunday night deadline for finishing "The Machine".
Where do I begin? Well, I re-read the story about four times on Saturday, and it felt fine, but I was concerned with the ending, which felt kind of flat. But I didn't revise anything, or write a single word of prose the whole day. Sunday comes, and I'm still not in the mood. And believe it or not, this is strange for me.
Sunday night, I get the radical idea to change the tense of my story. It was written in first-person past....but in the original writing, I unconsciously slipped into first-person present, and I really liked it, but the forty-five hundred words before it were all first-person past, so instead of changing the whole thing, I just changed the ending.
But on Sunday I say "Why not?" and go back and change the entire story's tense.
I think it reads better this way, actually, but I still need an ending. I sat in front of my laptop all day today (quite literally) and got nothing done. I even had my brother come over (he's a writer, too) and we brainstorm, but come up empty.
Out of the blue, it hits me. I have my ending. I have my ending, and I have my story.
And now that story in the slush pile at a certain magazine. I will not break my personal code (the one I broke last time) and say where. But don't worry: this market is among the fastest in the land, and if I'm rejected, I'll hear back in a day or two, so you'll all know before the end of the week, most likely, what the outcome is. Of course, if they want to publish it...it could take a little longer.
ANYWAY. I'm just very relieved to be done. I have literally looked at this story every day for the last two weeks, and I'm about as sick of it as a person can be. It got to the point tonight where I couldn't look at it and be happy about it, and I think that's when I've held a story too long. I would have just started making changes for change's sake (God I hope I didn't do that last night...). Is the story perfect? No, but I think it's good, and I think it can stand with any other story in any professional market.
Let's just hope our friends at the magazine agree.