Hurts So Good: Back On the Horse Again

This last week, I got my first rejection in too many months, and I gotta say–despite the initial twinge of “awww…”–it’s a great feeling. I’d forgotten how awesome it feels to submit short fiction to the elusive and exclusive fiction magazine markets. Even rejection, to some degree, feel fantastic, if only because it’s sure and quantifiable proof that I’m out there and trying again. 

My submission last week was a bit of a long-shot, but I’ve gotten some nice rejections from them in the past, so there was still a teeny little part of me that was hoping for a pleasant surprise. Waking up to a rejection ain’t much fun. Thankfully, the pinprick of disappointment passed quickly (though that said, there’s still some small part of me that cringes at the under 24 hour turn-around time). Ah, the miracles of e-submission. It’s a cruelly efficient beast. 

But one good thing (pseudo good, I suppose), is that the swiftness of the response highlighted for the writer-side of me something the editor-side had been quietly nudging about for the past few weeks. The first paragraph needs to be snappier. I love this story so much, and I really, truly believe in it, but it’s never going to sell if that opening paragraph doesn’t hook the casual reader enough to *get* to the good stuff later. I know this from my own time slushing: it’s gotta grab, and it’s gotta grab fast. 

The current opening is solid. It’s well-crafted, I’ve minded my p’s and q’s, it effectively introduces the central character and the narrator, plus hints at the coming conflict. But, like Ferrett Stienmetz says in his interview with Apex, if I’m being honest, I know that opening is only “good enough.” It’s functional. It’s maybe even a bit graceful. But it’s not as powerful as it could be, and my editor-side has known this for a good few weeks. My writer-side, on the other hand, has been griping about having to re-examine a piece that–for almost all intents and purposes–is (in the words of Katherine Hepburn) already yar. To mess with it any more seems sacrilegious, especially when there are other editing projects to move onto and clamoring for attention. 

“But…” says my inner-editor. “But…”

And the thing is, my inner-writer knows the editor is right.

“!@#^@#%$!%&…” says my inner-writer. 

So tomorrow, I’ll put my head back to the grind-stone and hopefully, *hopefully* this fix won’t be too tough. It’s gotta be done, though, and there’s no time like, well, tomorrow. ^_^ 

Onward and upward!