A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Rejection Pile
The week before last, I wrote about rejection – specifically, the one I’d gotten just the day before. It was for a 35k word novella that really wanted to be a novel. What I’m trying to say here is that the novella was of questionable quality. Convoluted – or perhaps – crowded would have described it. Regardless. It’s one of those things. Rejection always makes me obsess over what I’d done wrong. Have I really and truly lost it this time? Is this the end? Will I never write or publish again? I hate it, but occassionally, angst-R-I.
Fast forward to Monday, midmorning when I finally get home from all those errands that have to be done. There’s an email that’s come in via my website. It’s from an editor in the UK. Apparently, she’s putting together an anthology and finds she’s short a story. Do I have a 20k-ish word thing collecting dust in a drawer?
Uhm. By strange coincidence, I do have something fermenting in the rejection heap…how long do I have to restructure and rip 15k words (hopefully rendering said story fun and readable thereby)? Three days. Including Monday, which, by this point, was nearly over. How do you cut nearly half of a novella? You slay it, rip out it’s twitching corpse, yank out a bunch of extraneous organs, rearrange all the ones that are left, sew it back up and wait for a lightning strike to make it breathe again. Or maybe that was required to get me me out of bed after staying up way too late to get it all finished in a coherent fashion.
A few edits later, the story finished at 16k words. It looked nothing like the 35k word novella, which is probably a good thing. But now, Nobody’s Present, a fluffy little alien abduction story will be published in a SFR anthology (more info on the where, how and when as it becomes available).
Coincidence that the story should be rejected one week and sought out the next? I don’t know. All I can say is that Sherlock Holmes, notably a work of fiction by a man immersed in Victorian Spiritualism, didn’t believe in coincidence. Me? I’ll take the Fifth on that one.