I got a new rejection this week, with some solid feedback on the piece. At first I wasn’t phased by it – I knew could take the advice on board, and rework the story a little, then send it out to another market – but then I went back to trying to work on my new short story and hit a wall.
I was going about telling it in the same way that earned me my rejection. In fact, I’m pretty sure this is the way I have told some other stories in the past and while I know that it’s a technique I’ve seen used by others, I just couldn’t do it again. I ended up frozen, unable to see how I should write the story, and constantly repeating the phrase in my head about what I couldn’t do.
Anyway, after some mulling, and wailing about how much I suck, I left it alone for a little while, and as always, the answer came and hit me in the face. The scene I had written was the end of the story. Not the beginning. I mean, lots happens after that scene but the really interesting stuff, the real meat of the story, was before then and in order not to fall back on ‘static backfill’ I should start the story earlier, and end with the scene I had already written. Though of course now it needs rewriting – something I can easily do.
I love it when good feedback is provided. It gives me the opportunity to learn and grow as a writer. I am pretty sure that I could simply submit this story elsewhere and have it accepted, but I want to make it the best I can, which requires a little more thought and work. And I want to do that, I want to put out stories that are great, not just okay.
Feedback is subjective – not all of it should be applied, all the time. Editors all have different opinions, and they may not agree about what makes a story good. In this case, I can see that the feedback is widely applicable, and I can make my stories stronger by taking it on board.
Happy writing everyone! I will hopefully have time to get this first draft out over the weekend. The concept is really exciting me, and I’m trying to push it as far as I can.