I got another nice rejection letter, this time from Janet Hutchings over at Ellery Queen. It was a short little 1500 word murder mystery. I'm not quite sure what to do with it. It's too long for flash fictions (and no, it won't squash. I tried, got about 200 words out and that was it) and it's too short for some of the other markets. It doesn't have any supernatural elements and I'm loathe to inject any. Maybe I will see if it can grow, the ending was rather abrupt and sad. A few more twists and complications and I might be able to find a home for it.
In a way, getting close to a sale is almost as satisfying. Oh it doesn't pad the checkbook and it doesn't count as an all-important pro sale. But someone read it, thought about it, weighted it. That means something. Good things, I hope. The rejection letters that come quickly and which don't reference the work at all, those are the ones I suspect didn't hook the editor or slush reader. But then, folks like different things. I've had one story rejected without comment by one market and got a personalized rejection from another. I don't know if that means anything about the story about the the editors that read it.
Still, this was just the encouragement I needed. I'm trying to crack the opening of Smooth Running (I'm convinced the first chapter isn't 'hooky' enough) and it's been hard going. I'm trying a re-write, taking the original scene side by side with the new crack at it. It's frustrating because I feel the novel works, it just needs a better ending and a stronger beginning. Ah well, the writer's life.
I'm going to try the "Write 1, Submit 1" challenge this year. One of my fellow Wordslingers* is doing it. The point is to write and submit a short story each week. I know I CAN do that, last year's "30 short stories in 30 days" challenge taught me that. It's just a question of comitting to it and not letting myself get distracted. So, tonight, I will sit my hinder in the Throne of Writing(tm) and let one of the stories bubbling inside my head get out and onto the page. Then, I'll see if I can find a home for the story that just got rejected. I'm close on this one, so close...