Q: When do you decide a story is finished?
A: It depends on the story. Some stories burst into existence and write themselves in a matter of days or even hours, leaving only a little polishing to be done. Others slowly accumulate writing and edits over months—maybe even years—until I’m finally content with them. Sometimes I’ll think a piece is finished, only to find myself reopening it later and starting a new round of drafting and edits.
Usually, I decide it’s finished when it reads like a story, and not like a draft. It’s a feeling more than anything else, but when you’re a writer, you have to learn to trust those feelings.