I want to demonstrate why, despite the many rejections and deafening silence at times, I will I keep writing and keep sending pieces out. This is the story of a short story.
There was a thing, a scrap of an idea pullulating away in its own stew in a quiet corner of a sprawling mess of a manuscript composed of things thrown together, and other things that flowed like the historical novel it was all trying to become. All this little section had, at this point, was a title, and some random paragraphs. I can’t remember exactly when I wrote it. It must have been years ago. I set it aside as it was so different.
One day, much later, I read this page or two and it was struggling for its independence. I could see how it could have legs to stand on its own as a story. So while now it had a pulse, it didn’t yet have a sustained idea. So I gave it one and a structure appeared. I worked it over and lo, a proper story developed, as the narrator and the idea merged into a single arc. This took a while and it wasn’t all in one go. Eventually, though, despite being a floaty, experimental and slightly arcane piece, it was ready.
It was submitted hither and thither, over months and months to places where editors requested something a bit unusual. And? It was quietly rejected or declined without a murmur. However, the last rejection came with feedback. I’d forgotten it had been an option.
I read it, half-agreed with it and half despaired at people’s ability to appreciate metaphor or art, because it wasn’t just strung together. But I went back, edited and rewrote parts of, almost as an anti-response. You want the story grounded? I’ll argue why the narrator can’t be and I’ll demonstrate it even more. (I do say I can be contrary.) If anything it became more literary and arcane with Latin tags and all. I kept almost everything and expanded it, linking more of the allusions.
Then I spied somewhere that might appreciate it. Sent it off and within days, voila, it was accepted.