The first story I ever had published was a short story in Cricket magazine. It's a story based on a misunderstanding about a southern saying and how it leads the main character to realize the challenges her Japanese mother faces with the English language. It's based on an actual incident in my life but the ending didn't occur to me until I was grown and could appreciate my mom's situation. Even though the story was accepted by Cricket magazine, it required more editing to tighten the story. Paragraphs were omitted as well as unnecessary words. Many magazines, including Cricket pay by the word. Back then they paid 25 cents a word so I winced at all the words that had been sliced. When I saw all the slashed-out text I wasn't sure the editors had liked my story at all. Reading through the edits though I could see that I had details that bogged down the story. Accepting the changes to the ending was harder for me. I really liked my last sentence and thought I needed to make some sort of statement that tied the whole story together. It took awhile for me to see I wasn't allowing the readers to find the meaning for themselves.
This is a copy of the edited version of my story. I learned a lot by reading the changes that were made. It helped me to keep an eye out for wordiness, verb tenses, etc.
The artwork for "Smile Talk" was done by Lori McElrath Eslick. As a writer you usually don't have input into the art for your story. So it's always a nice surprise to see how an artist interprets your work. The story and the art meld together so the artist deserves to be credited for attracting and drawing in the reader to the story. The words do the rest.