In search of an ending

I’ve been fortunate (I guess it’s fortunate) in that nearly all of my stories that have been published have not been altered by the editors who accepted them. Of my thirteen accepted and/or published pieces, only two have been revised (and those were merely suggestions for revision, which I accepted).

The first was my story “Race to the summit,” which you can read here. The editor wanted some of the story order rearranged, and some of my original description in the story he found comical (which it wasn’t supposed to be). So I made those changes, he published the story, and the rest is history. (Or fantasy in this case.)

The second is a recent acceptance, “Velvet Elvis,” which will be coming out in Bartleby Snopes sometime next month. In that case, the editor wanted to change only the last sentence; in fact, it was only the last word of the last sentence that he wanted changed. I made that change willingly. You’ll have to judge whether it works or not when you read it.

Today, I received the third editorial change request of my humble career. My latest acceptance, “Respite Room,” which will come out in Little Patuxent Review in January (print only), needs its ending fixed too. In fact, once again, it’s the last sentence that the editor wants strengthened/clarified. So I’m working on some ideas, and I’m open to suggestions from the editor. I agree that it will likely improve the impact of the story.

But am I starting to see a trend in my story-telling skills? Can I not always write a good ending?

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3 Comments on “In search of an ending”

  1. Brian Keaney Says:

    An editor once cut twenty thousand words from a novel I wrote. I was outraged until I realised the I greatly preferred the very much slimmer version.


  2. Most of the short stories I’ve had accepted for publication in journals remained unchanged — the editors just wanted me to send an up-to-date Word document, which they published as it was. I think some journals only accept the work they want to publish as-is. This has its advantages and disadvantages. One of my friends, however, had a bad experience — a publication made some subtle changes to her piece (without alerting her) that ended up disrupting the flow and potentially confusing the reader. Fortunately, most editors won’t change anything without running it by the author. (Says the writer who is an editor by day and who changes people’s stuff ALL THE TIME. But creative work is different….)

  3. Paul Lamb Says:

    Still, I’ve seen many novels that I thought could have benefited from even the littlest bit of editing but seemed to have been rushed to the printer in first draft form. I won’t mind if an editor wants to overhaul my submission. I won’t enjoy the work of it, but I will appreciate the value of it.


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