I try to improve with every story I write. I don’t think much about how they’ll turn out as I’m writing them. At that point, I’m concentrating on cohesiveness. I don’t think anyone is the best judge of one’s own work. Not that anyone else’s opinion has more value, but the writer is too involved in creating the story to totally detach when reading it.
My favorite stories to read are those with distinct voices and good pacing. When judging (i.e. editing) a story of mine before submitting, I ask what the story’s goals are and have I met those goals. (Sometimes I’m not aware of the goals until I finish the story.) In terms of style, I try to cut out anything clunky.
To readers of this blog, which of my stories do you think is the best? If you need a refresher, there's Gerald So's Desk. Click on the "Fiction" label.
And now, virtual karaoke:
You're a real tough cookie with a long history
Of breaking little hearts like the one in me.
That's okay, let's see how you do it.
Put up your dukes and let's get down to it.