Sometimes when I’m writing a short story, I just write and then try to find a home for whatever comes out. Sometimes, however, I see a publication that I want to get in to, or a contest, and then I try to tailor my story to their specifications.
I was recently working on a story and didn’t know where it was going. I’d been attempting to write it for months with no luck beyond the opening 100 words or so. I came across an interesting anthology and BAM – story was easy to write. I shared it with my critiquers, edited it to near-perfection, and sent it off.
And then I checked the submission guidelines only to find they’d been expanded. Instead of just plain sci-f/fantasy/horror with an escape theme, they now required a speculative element as well. My story was just plain horror. Crap. I didn’t withdraw the submission, figuring the worst they could do was ignore it. The guidelines said that if you didn’t hear back in 30 days, consider your story rejected; there were too many entries for individual responses.
So imagine my glee yesterday when I received this email from the editors:
Thank you for submitting your story, “Tim and Sara,” to XX. We enjoyed reading it and it was well-written. Unfortunately, it did not meet our needs for publication at this time. So, although this is a rejection letter, I encourage you to submit to us in the future. I hope you continue to write and hone your craft.
And it seems that editors only say “We want to read more” when they really do want to read more, not as a way to just be polite. Yay me!