January Blues…

January, for those of us who live in the higher latitudes of the northern hemisphere can bring on the blues, big time. It’s due to several factors – the long nights of darkness, the Christmas celebrations are well and truly past (with many of us still having outstanding bills to pay for these celebrations), paying the income tax bill, and so the list goes on…

In my particular case some of the blues comes from dealing with a sick pussy cat, having to spend money on new tyres, coping with the miserable succession of rain storms we’ve been suffering this winter and getting a rejection from a submitted short story.

Normally, in the last case, I would shrug my shoulders and send it out to the next potential market on my list. Only this one had several special aspects to it…

  1. The science fiction story used technology that, for various reasons, I have ended up understanding very well and therefore found it (for me) easy to extrapolate it into the future
  2. I had written the story with this market in mind
  3. When I look at the Grinder’s statistics, I should have by the law of averages had acceptance from that market by now
  4. The editor commented that he really enjoyed the story and looked forward to my next submission, but he still turned this story down

I very much doubt the editor realised that points (1), (2) and (3) were in play so to speak. And I’m sure he really meant to be encouraging with point (4). But the bottom line is that I really want to give up on this market for the simple reason that our aims for science fiction short stories are clearly not aligned.

Should I?

The sensible answer ought to be no. The emotional answer feels like yes. And the instinctive answer is definitively yes.

I currently have nothing to send to this market and the way things look at the moment, I don’t expect to write for this market any time soon. I’ve got three and a half massive writing projects to concentrate on. Writing a short story on the side would only end up taking time out from one of these projects. And I really want to move ahead with these bigger projects.

What about submitting in the longer term, after I’ve finished my projects? These projects all deal with big interesting science fiction topics, which are of little interest to the short story market concerned. I’ll be diverging away from their area of interest. It really does look like goodbye to this market.

The editor concerned has more than enough short stories to choose from. I doubt he’ll notice my absence. In fact it would save him time as he doesn’t have to read through my stories any more. So it’s a win-win situation here, at least for him and me.

The potential losers are the readers. Only the readers would be able to judge that, and only then, if I published the said story. I’m not going to do that. The story has important message attached to it about the technology concerned, and is therefore of some value. This means I’m not going to publish it as freebie. So we won’t know whether the readers would win or lose here.

What’s on the plus side of all this?  I sat in the coffee shop this afternoon, eyes gazing into nowhere, and came up with a very interesting sub-plot for one of my projects, one that fits right into the theme I’m examining. It was one of those WOW moments.

With any luck, you’ll see this project published sooner rather than later.

…and no more wasting time writing stories that will only end up in the black hole of unproductive fiction writing.



2 thoughts on “January Blues…

  1. I can relate to this topic very well. However, you don’t say if the editor mentioned WHY he or she turned down your story. If they didn’t and yet ‘love’ your fiction then it won’t harm to ask them. I’ve been the acquisition editor for a mag and gave brief reasons for rejecting thousands of stories. I’ve been on both sides of that desk. Lucky with 4 accepts this blue season so far though agonising over rejects for my latest novel – especially as my agent wants to wait for the many months ingestion period before the rejection. Let’s hope we can both celebrate further success in the pink and yellow parts of the year!

    1. Hello Geoff,
      Congratulations on your acceptances. It’s always good to hear about these things.
      The Editor did not indicate WHY he rejected it. I’m not inclined to go back and ask him for a reason. To me, this lack of a reason indicates he does not really want to engage with me.
      Good luck in sorting out your novel, and fingers crossed it’ll get somewhere.

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