These things take a while. According to my revision log, I started writing Millennium Surfing in January 2013. That is months and months earlier than I remembered. The first draft was completed in July 2014, making it an absurdly long gestation period for a short story – albeit quite a long one.
I then received genuinely useful feedback from a whole bunch of readers between July and October and began work on the second draft, which was completed at the end of March. As of last night I completed the third draft. So by some measures I’m speeding up.
If the second draft was about adding character and flavour to the story, the third draft was about tearing it to pieces and chopping off unnecessary appendages. It’s a much leaner, subtler and less indulgent story now and quite different from the cold, overly detached first draft.
The first draft clocked in at 12,700 words. The second was 15,400. The third and mostly final draft is 12,300. My intent was to cut it down to about 10k so that it was eligible for submission to Interzone, a magazine I’ve always dreamed of being published in, but that goal is still a long way away.
A story is as long as a story needs to be and, currently, Millennium Surfing is wanting to be about 12,000 words. It’s out for feedback once again so that may highlight opportunities to whittle it down more but, if not, I may just have to resign myself to it being unsuitable for Interzone.
I’ll probably send it off to them anyway, on the off-chance that something grabs them. There’s always the next story, after all.
Talking of which, that’s probably going to be called A Day Of Faces, and the current plan is to release it episodically via Wattpad as something of a seat-of-my-pants storytelling experiment. It’s science fantasy and deliberately anachronistic and is so far hugely fun to write. It’s also about as far from the Serious Science Fiction of Millennium Surfing as I can get, which I imagine is entirely deliberate on the part of my subconscious.