The Journey’s Just Beginning

Today’s post comes from The Quotable contributor, Anna Piaia. Ms. Piaia’s short story, “The Lucky One,” will appear in Issue 6.


“Is it finished?”

I never know what to do with that question. A story is never really finished, is it? There’s always something more that could be done. I’ve read things I had written years ago and I immediately began to edit them, because it’s instinct. My gut reaction, when faced with an old piece, is to improve upon it. That will never go away.

I have never said a story of mine is finished. I have always said that I’m done with it. Because once I am done with it, and I give it to someone else, it’s no longer mine. I have no control over how someone reads it or interprets it. The author John Green has said numerous times, “Books belong to their readers.” It is a simple, powerful truth.

As an author, you can have ideas about the characters, but ultimately, when it is in the hands of your audience, their perception is the one that matters the most. I’ve spent hours in classes or with friends, arguing about what an author meant to say with their word choices. In the end, it’s what I try to read that is most important.

When I’m writing a story, I’m not really thinking about how a person will read it. I used to. It took me a long time to realize that my control over my characters stopped when I handed a piece over to be read by someone else. As soon as I realized that, I found a sort of freedom. Writing became much easier. I stopped worrying about others and started thinking about the characters, about telling their story in the best way possible. I started telling tales to completion. I took the character as far as I could.

So, to answer your question, no. The story isn’t finished. But I’m done with it. Now it’s the reader’s turn.

photo by: geishaboy500