Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Time for a Break?
With this welcome change of pace comes another Insecure Writers meeting, and how wonderful! I could actually hear my thoughts as I mulled over what route to take for this latest installment. Given that I haven't been able to write much lately, I decided to talk about rejection. When is it time to pull the plug on a story and let it go into the archives labeled as 'For Future Analysis?"
I have three short stories I considered finished by the beginning of summer. In fact, two of those I've been trying to publish for a little over four months; for the last piece, a Flash Fiction, although I finished it over a year ago, it's only recently that I decided I was interested in publishing it. So far I've garnered four rejection letters for the shorts and both are presently being considered by a fifth mag. No word on weather they have already read them and are thinking about it, or if they're still on the slush pile. You know how it goes.
The flash, though, I only submitted to two publications. Both rejected it, but the latest was awesome enough to actually write back with a series of commentaries as to why they had found the story wasn't up to their standards. It was so good and refreshing! Finally someone telling me what I'm doing wrong, at least to their eyes. After reading their mail, I re-read my piece, thought about it, considered their words, and found out there was so much more I could do to make the story better. Before submitting the story I had send it to a reader to get feedback, but still I guess I was too close to the story to notice many of its shortcomings. Now I'm now working on it, polishing it for a new round of queries.
Then, about the other two... A few months ago I came across a publication called The Rejected Quarterly which mission, they state, is to publish unusual fiction that doesn't fit anywhere else. The first requirement? Have at least five rejection letters for the piece you are submitting to them. My plan is to query both stories at least two more times (provided that this fifth time isn't the charm), then submit them to Rejected Quarterly, and if rejected again, file them for good.
I don't mean to let those stories gather dust forever and ever, but to let them rest a few years as my skills develop further and I become less attach to them. When I feel like it's the time to give them a new chance, or I have no new ideas (it can happen), then I'll revise them and make them pretty all over again.
I don't think a story is ever truly dead. It tugs at you to be told and weather you let it lay dormant for sometime, or you choose to tell in a whole different way, it will always find its way out of your mind. What do you think? How many rejections are enough for you? What do you do with those stories? I've always heard that you should let your stories breath between drafts to get a better perspective of them. I give three to six months before I go back to a story to work on a second draft, maybe I should leave more time. What do you think?