I have recently embarked on writing horror (a genre I enjoy immensely – and yes I accept that it is most certainly not to everyone’s taste). I have been putting the feelers out by submitting two short stories to two different horror journals.
“Good start!” I hear you shout enthusiastically.
I was rejected by both.
“Never mind, Chin up.” I hear you say.
But…These weren’t standard rejections. I received comprehensive feedback and advice from both. It was terrifying. Both replies started with the standard “thanks but…”, and then went on to say that they liked a, b, c and d. Then suggested that I “need a little more here on e” and “f” needs rewriting (and what it needs)”.
I know, this is the advice you dream of, right? They didn’t have to give me anything other than the “no thanks”, but they did. I’m taking this to mean that they thought that I was worth the extra time and resources to steer me on the right path. I really appreciate it, but I’m filled with the type of fear I need my horror works to instil in others. What if I can’t do it? What if this is the best work I have in me? What if I change it, and it’s still wrong?. The self doubt monster is knocking on the door (and it’s a big, ugly bugger).
So, what am I going to do? Well, for a start an appreciative email response to both editors who took the time out to give me the advice, is in order. Then I’m going to download the advice, save it into the folders for each story, and leave it until the New Year (less than 4 weeks away). I need to think, reflect and plan what to do next. I also need to relax – I’m not on a deadline and it doesn’t matter a jot if I need to rewrite it 40 times before i hit the mark.