IWSG: When do you know your story is ready? 5 tips to consider …

Insecure Writers Support Group BadgeEntry for October’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group:

Although I haven’t had a fiction story or novel published, I have published “for hire” articles in B2B magazines. One article was for Energybiz magazine on the benefits to companies of offering recurring online charge payments for things like utility bills. Another article discussed the challenges to Florida public safety communications during a hurricane. In my personal and professional writing, I know my article is ready when:

·  I’ve reviewed it and taken out as many extraneous words as possible. I write my first draft and then go back and only keep what is absolutely necessary.

·  I feel like all the questions have been answered, at least all that I can think of. If I need more information, then I presume that other readers will also. I try to provide as much information as concisely as I can.

·  If I’m storytelling, I try to begin and end with emotion. I remember stories and articles when I can relate to the writer and the writer makes me feel something. I try to do that in my writing. If I haven’t figured out what the emotional hook is, then I’m not done.

·  It’s necessary for me to write the draft without interruption, to get my thoughts down on paper (or in the computer). I then let it “rest” for a day or two if there isn’t a tight deadline. I then go back and edit the piece and its then that I know if I’ve hit my mark or it needs a good rewrite.

·  I believe good photos are as important (or perhaps more important) than the text many times, so if it’s a business article or blog, I work to find appropriate photos that work with the story. It’s best if I can also provide the photography as in my latest blog post about my recent visit to an elephant sanctuary in Indiana. We are such a visual society and with social media, good photos matter.

Do I always accomplish these five goals? Of course not. I do keep them in mind so as to write a better story or article. And, there is usually the ability to rewrite or edit if need be!

What are your tips for knowing when a story is ready?


  1. Reply

    Very useful tips! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Reply

    Hi Diane, you obviously know your stuff, these are all great points

    1. Reply

      Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. Reply

    I like your list. And paying utility bills online! LOL. Starting with emotion and ending with emotion. I’m writing that down.

    1. Reply

      Thanks for the positive feedback. I appreciate it!

  4. Reply

    I bet writing articles is really great discipline for writing fiction. You understand how to compact and get it done quickly.

    1. Reply

      Thanks, Alex. It can be. Still hoping to finish my mystery novel

  5. Reply

    “try to begin and end with emotion” An excellent tip!

    1. Reply

      Thanks for visiting today!

  6. Reply

    When I am writing for hire (magazine articles, online publication posts, etc) I also find that I write better when I set my first draft aside for a couple days and then return to it. It’s like I need that extra time to see it again with fresh eyes. I almost always am able to improve my draft. I just have to be careful to schedule in that extra time to be sure I meet the deadline!

    1. Reply

      Thanks for visiting my website and for your comment. Sounds like we have had some similar experiences. Have a great weekend!

  7. Reply

    I love the idea of including something emotional for a reader to grab onto in your writing. I always aim for that, but don’t often (feel like I) succeed. Images definitely help though! You can definitely save a lesser written work with beautiful pictures!

    1. Reply

      Thanks for visiting my blog. I appreciate the encouragement.

  8. Reply

    At least you have guidelines, even if you don’t always use them. I give the story an okay when my publisher quits suggesting I change things and my critique partners have nothing but compliments. That’s my gauge.

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