The Life Of A Short Story

I shipped For I Have Sinned off again. My worry over the length of the story is premature. While it does eliminate many proffessional markets, there are still several left that accept as much at 10,000 or 17,000 words. I get a kick out of the list I made though. When I edit a short story for the first time, I look at the genre and make a submission list a page long of all the professional markets I’d like to submit it to. (Professional means paying; markets whose publication will give me a respectable publishing resume.) In this particular instance, the next three on the list accept the longer stories. Funny how that played out.

Since this is the first time I’ve mentioned submission, it seems like a good time to explain my strategy (that I learned from my friend Margaret.) Though it seems like a long shot, I have to aim for the magazines (“professional markets”) where I’d like to see the story most. That means I’m up against professional writers whose books already span the shelves in bookstores. So, what’s a little competition? It usually results in the dreaded rejection arriving in my mailbox month after month. I’m not far into the process with this one. I’ve only gotten three rejections and my submission list is twenty-four markets long. Of course, I may not be able to send it to all of them. The idea is that I send it to one, I receive a rejection, polish the story again, and send it back out. This is a young story though. I wrote it last May and have been editing and submitting it since last July. It’s my favorite short story, but I really need to put the time and effort this one has seen into my other stories so I can send more out the door.

I’m optimistic this round. I fixed a flaw in the story I didn’t realize existed until it just hit me on the head one day (thanks, Mr. Newton.)

Now I can focus on my next story. It’s kind of sad though, it’s a fantasy story about a healer and a patient with a terminal illness. The hardest part about writing it, is that this a happy week for me and the main character is so down-hearted. It might take a while to write. Hopefully it’ll come off the way I’m picturing it in my mind.


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