Edit edit edit.
That's been my past week or so: lots of cleanup on the four pieces I finished recently and the short story I just sent out (see last week), with more planned.
Once the results for the F-W December challenge come out and I see how terribly I did, I'm going to tear back into my entry and edit heavily. Goals: punch up the humor (primary) so it sings instead of is squashed like a bug by me trying desperately NOT to be funny, and lay in a bit more foreshadowing as to the main character's change of heart.
I've found it bemusing how many people had a problem with the downer ending in this story. The vibe is a light, Hollywood romantic comedy (as one reviewer said), and I wanted to stand that on its head, but people really seemed to want Good Things (tm) for the MC and her fairy cohort. I do think playing up the humor so it's actively funny will make that pill easier to swallow, but I was surprised by the reactions.
Generally, I'm not an unhappy ending kind of girl. I tend to write longer stories, and I feel that all the blood, sweat and tears my characters expend ... they deserve the happy ending. It's often a bittersweet conclusion or a "Yes, but ..." conclusion, but I hate to go through a bunch of angst just to end on failure.
Interestingly enough, the short story I'm currently working on (my Jan challenge entry) also has an unhappy ending. I think I came to the realization it had to go that way as I was contemplating the main character's arc ... if you don't step up, if you take the easy way out, there are consequences. So yes, it was very necessary here.
I've done it a few times before, but most of the time, it's a surprise or an inversion ... the story seems to be moving along well, and then things go very bad. I guess there's just a limit to how much darkness I like as a writer ... but by contrast, Polestar - which starts bad and gets worse, leaving the MC on the wrong side of a no-win situation - is one of my favorite pieces. That one would be in circulation already, but I'm trying to sell its prequel first ...