While I was busy helping my wife poop out a tax deduction, I garnered a few rejections in the e-mail box, natch. One of those came from the Midwest Literary Magazine for Vampire Family Story. They gave me one of the most complete personal rejections I’ve ever received. He told me what he liked and didn’t like. AND he gave me a recommendation on where next to send it to.
This is a good sign. The more personal the rejections get, the closer you are to being thought about by an editor for selected. Plus a recommendation is already a +5 to acceptance. The hard part is trimming the story. When I was done with one run-through, I discovered I had trimmed almost a thousand words (keyword:almost), a large portion of which is in the beginning. You know what they always say, get to the story faster. But now I’m trying to trim that last little bit so I can squeak out under half a grand, because A) it’s important to have goals and B) this opens up more opportunities for submissions.
I went through that story with the scythe of the grim reaper, cutting out everything that wasn’t the story. And I mean everything–asides, narrative information, adverbs, metaphors, unnecessary dialogue tags–and now I’m down to 5,022 words. This is the part that sucks. I’m scraping for words to cut, trying to reword sentences, and desperately searching for any little junk words that can be killed.
And the interesting thing is this is coming from a story that was previously 6,000 words, and I thought was finished. I thought it couldn’t be revised any more. But I was able to cut 17% of the text. Just goes to show no work of art is ever finished, only abandoned.
Is the story better for it? I’m not sure, my scope is too close to tell. But I think overall, the story has improved if for nothing else than adding a more mature voice and better word selection. Maybe I made a mistake in cutting so much of the beginning, perhaps I’ve ruined the pacing. But if I want to make this saleable, I need to open it up for a literary audience and kill my darlings.