I normally don’t have the time to write for pleasure, but I found some time recently and submitted a short story to an online magazine. The magazine sent me a rejection email, but with comments. The agent stated, “The story has potential” and suggested I “tighten it up” and resubmit. Woohoo! A straight-out acceptance would have been better, but the rejection verbiage gave me hope. I pared the story down from 3700 words to 3460 and resubmitted. I received another rejection, but still ensuring me that the story has potential.
I understand the agent’s comments. As developmental editors, Ruth and I make suggestions to our clients about reworking or reordering paragraphs to make the story flow, about specific language that just doesn’t work, and of course, about tightening prose.
Now, I’m on the other end of the pen.
As a writer hoping to sell a story, I have been told to rewrite, to tighten, to rework. But where do I start? How do I do that? When I wrote that story, I deliberately selected each word, exactingly crafted each sentence … how do I change my baby? I realize now, on the receiving end, how difficult it is to take the words of your heart and revise them.