Changing the Endings of Stories

A few months ago I submitted a short story to my critique group. A sorrowful tale, really, about a simple man alone in his house waiting for his family to return home. While everyone agreed they liked the story and successfully pointed and laughed as they ripped out my had-s, was-s, started to-s, and look-s, the majority of the group also pointed my attention to a plot element I placed in the center of the story. This detail, they said, held my ending. But how could that be, obviously it showed itself in the center of the story?

The 5 Question Test: Are you are writer, or aren't you?

Recently, I've had the honor to see how far I have come as a writer and I have to say, it's really trippy.

In a few separate occasions I had conversations with other writers who were either beginners or writers who've been at this game longer than I, but are apparently a touch more resistant to change. In each of these situations it occurred to me that I have come so far since my early days of writing horrible slop (and thinking it could be huge), that I probably would shred my old self to bits in a workshop with everything I've learned over time and with experience. (To be clear, even in my old college workshop days I loved being told what was wrong with my writing because it felt like progress.)

Your Literary Shelf Life

I have an assignment for you. One that takes you away from the screen you're in front of right now (you know, the box where your friends are?) and sends you out into the world. Don't worry this won't be hard and I'll even ease you, calm your nerves, pat your little head while I tell you a story about me. If you want a story about someone else, so somewhere else. Right?

But this is about me and you, mostly me, but also mostly you. I'm worried about my literary shelf life and I don't know that you've even thought about yours. Now, that's not to say I think I'm tough shit or anything, and I'm not talking about those 15 minutes of fame everyone else has. I'm talking about your works' actual, physical, and very real life on the shelf.