Tricky decisions and flawed stories

October 22, 2011

I’ve been looking over some of my stories, and reading critiques I’ve gotten for them, this week. And I’ve come to realize that at this point, I’ve got a fair few stories – three or four, I figure, where the following things are all true:

  • There’s good things going on in the story, that some readers like considerably.
  • There’s also plot or conceptual problems in the way that the story is written at this point.
  • Try as I might, I can’t figure out a way to resolve the fundamental problem or flaw, without starting again and writing a truly different story that would share only some of the same elements of character and plot.

So, in general – what do I do with these pieces of my work? Is it worthwhile to clean up the more superficial issues that I do know what to do with, (which usually still exist,) and try sending the story out to potential publishers? Or would I be better off just filing the entire mess, including the critiques, away against some future time when I’ve grown as a writer and might actually be able to (and interested enough to) fix the core problem?

And, if applicable, how do I ‘saviore faire la difference’? That is, know how to make the decision on a case by case basis.

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