I’ve been thinking quite a bit about one of my stories recently, one I’ve worked on quite a lot because the story is very short but the ending is really tricky. I submitted it a while back to Fantasy and Science Fiction, and I hadn’t heard back. I assumed that their email rejection had not reached me due to my ongoing difficulties with my ISP (it was fine until the Germans took over). I started to get my head around the necessary modifications to the ending, but before I did anything rash, I thought I’d best contact the editor to make sure I was rejected.
It turns out I hadn’t been rejected, at least not until I asked about it. He’d been sitting on the story, on the bubble about whether to take it or not. When I asked directly, he had to say ‘no’, since he had no place to put it. Apparently the moon is common these days. Ultimately, I was almost there, but not quite, which bodes well for this story finding a home in a pro publication eventually.
Isaac Asimov, I’m told, advised writers to not revise stories between submissions. Let’s face it, the thing is never going to make a whole bunch of money and meanwhile you can be working on something new. It’s about that whole diminishing returns thing. Still, I can’t help but fiddle with this one. I’ve had endings that were lyrical, and others that were emotional, and others that were tight, but I haven’t hit all three. Maybe it’s impossible, but I have to keep trying. So I’ll tweak it, but not too much, and send it on to the next magazine.