I’ve finished my story. What to do now, what to do?
When you’re absolutely sure that you’ve finished your story, send it to your unsuspecting loved one, or some brave, un-condescending volunteer for review. Listen to their advice, genuinely listen to it, and change the stuff that sounds like it needs changing. Keep your first draft copy somewhere, too, for psychological comfort. Once that’s done, and you’re ready to submit the story to a publisher…don’t. (Unless you really could use the money, but…) Set it aside and let it sit for a few months. Don’t touch it, unless you really need to. Just let it ripen and simmer there. Come back to it and read it again with a fresh eye (that’s as fresh as it will get for you, anyway).
I’ve noticed that within about 6-12 months, some things will pop up that you’d have never, ever noticed before. Awkward things, any inconsistencies, etc. You know, stuff like, “I want a dandelion,” Mary said, immediately followed by, “A yellow dandelion,” said Mary. At this point, do another revision. And keep going, until you’re absolutely sick of, and simultaneously pleased with, IT. But don’t over do it, either. Submit it, already!