Today I got my first rejection in ages, and I was just so pleased. No, really. OK, so I’m disappointed I didn’t sell the story, but after a sale, the second best response is a positive, personalised message from the editor.
Here’s what he said:
Unfortunately, I’m going to have to pass. This was a hard decision; it was a lovely story, and there’s clearly a lot of potential in the concept. I daresay you have the underpinnings of a fascinating setting and characters worth following, but in the end, it didn’t mesh with the stories I’ve already selected. Good luck finding a home for it elsewhere.
Maybe he was just being nice, but any kind of personal reply is a big step up from a form rejection, so I’m happy with that.
Reading between the lines, though, I’m wondering if he’s trying to say that the story was a) a bit underdeveloped and possibly b) a bigger story squeezed into too short a format. I’m sure the former is true – I dashed it off at the last minute and sent it in without first running it by my writers’ group.
As for the second, I suspect I’m not cut out to be a short story writer. If I come up with a character interesting enough to write about, I want to spend more than a dozen or so pages in his or her company. Certainly, after finishing this story, the characters lingered in my head for several days and I was reluctant to go back to my revision-in-progress.
I guess now I have a decision to make. Do I submit this story to my group, give it a polish and send it back out to another market, or do I use it as the basis of the novel I was planning to write for NaNoWriMo? It’s set in the world I was going to use, so it’s definitely a possibility. I think I leave the idea to percolate for a bit whilst I finish HTRYN – I have a few months to decide…