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Bottled Voices
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I finished my story! It's called "Her Voice in a Bottle" and it confounded my expectations by not turning into a novelette -- it's a mere 6,600 words.

I wrote an ending yesterday. It was a perfectly nice and good and clean ending. I gave it to Heather, whose response was basically, "Yeah, it's fine." I was wounded. To the core! I wanted it to be great, not merely fine! So I re-read it, and thought about it, and realized, wow, I was being a total coward. I'd refused to examine the real implications of the story. I'd pulled away from the emotional truth at the end, and finished it with some touchy-feely affirmative crap that didn't follow logically from the story's fundamental precepts. It had a sweet ending when it needed an ending that was -- not so sweet. So I thought about it all night, stared at the ceiling, told Heather what I was thinking -- which elicited a much stronger reaction than the ending I first wrote! -- and then lay awake thinking more, figuring it out. I woke up in the morning and the elves in the back of my brain had done their work, and I figured it out. I cut one scene, truncated another, and wrote 600 words of new material, basically two brief scenes. And now it works. It's not tied up neatly with a bow, but it works, and I think the ending is good, whereas most of my endings are merely adequate at best.

I'll let it sit for a day or two, read it again, polish it up, and send it out.

And I'll allow my next story to be amusing fluff if it wants to be!

Tonight, I party! And I'll even be able to enjoy the party without staring into a corner all night thinking about this story.

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