Rejections and reflections

I got my first round of rejections this week, so I’ll just say a little about how I’m feeling about that.

Firstly, I was expecting rejections before acceptances, so it isn’t a surprise, but it’s still a bit of a… well, a surprise. Somehow the conscious recognition that failure comes before success, there are many others competing for the same space, I’ve got much to learn in prose and storytelling, they all get swept back behind the unconscious belief that ‘this story is amazing, and it’ll be published immediately!’

So, I’d say the rejections (three arrived at roughly the same time) have grabbed me by the shoulders and given me a brisk shake. Maybe also spun me round and slapped me on the butt and told me to get on with it–I’ve turned those three stories around and sent each of them elsewhere.

As to the stories themselves: I think two of them are good, and one maybe needs a re-write (which I’ll do if it’s rejected by the next place). I recently realised that if you have even the slightest reservation about a story, it means it simply isn’t good enough. I came to this conclusion by way of a new story I sent out last week. It was one of those where you just sit down and start writing and see what happens. It’s a sci-fi and the first half (I was working to a 1000 word limit) set the scene, while the second half was a single scene between the story’s main characters. I went through several edits and always felt that the beginning needed streamlining further… further… shorter… Then suddenly I just thought, sod it! and got rid of the first half completely. What had been around 500 words became about 150 words that subtly hinted at the background, and the extra space it created allowed me to better develop the interaction between characters.

In short, I learnt that setting the scene is boring. It’s better to jump straight into the scene and let the setting be revealed naturally through character interactions. Thinking back, I should have know this because it’s how my favourite authors write. A brief skim of t’internet finds this post on a similar topic.

Returning to my submissions, I’ll end with my stats:
Submitted: 12
Rejected: 3
Accepted: 0
and add that I’m pretty happy with these as I’m just two months in, but I’m getting stuff written, edited and sent, and that’s a good start!

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