I'm updating my blog, but I find these rules still hold good.
Interest seems to be in the upswing for short story collections and contests. If you have several short stories, this is the time to gather them together and polish them to a fine glow. And when you afre doing that, here are six rules I'm passing along:
I discovered that all those stories I'd thought were so good had a long way to go to be excellent. I threw out three that I could see were never going to make it. So
1) you have to be ruthless.
When I went to work on one story, I realized that it had been shortened to make the word count for a contest. I was able to go back into my computer files and find the missing parts, which makes a good case for
2) not trashing your earliest versions.
When I knew I had a good story but still was missing something, I found that
3) rewriting beginnings and endings makes all the difference.
A few stories were out of date due to everyday references. I had to rewrite to
4) make the setting clear (the past, the year) or else update to the present decade.
I discovered that while I was careful not to repeat certain words in any particular story, they popped up repeatedly throughout the collection. So I had to
5) comb through all stories in the collection to avoid word repetitions.
Hint: MS Word's Find and Replace makes it easy.
Finally, I made the mistake of trying to make corrections on read-only pages, discovered after having wasted hours (edits didn't save). That entire job had to be redone in a new file. This is a no-brainer, but we all slip up at one time or another. Just
6) be sure your edits are saved!