Learning experience

I tend to send out manuscripts in batches, which means I tend to get all my rejections in the same week. I got one this morning that was particularly frustrating, in part because the editor pointed out some technological and economic holes in a space opera I’d written that make the plot and the characters completely pointless, but mostly because his points meant I misjudged that market and I’ve been sending him soft science and character pieces when clearly he’s more of a hard science kind of guy. Well, live and learn. My new tactic is to not only look at rejections in terms of story critique but also to use them to get a better sense of the editor’s brain, so I’m making notes next to the submission info for that market.

I’m looking over my manuscripts for the next round of submissions, and some of them are really great and I’m really proud of them, but some make me pause and wonder if they’re good enough or whether I should do myself a favor and lock them away so editors don’t judge me by them. I hate feeling like creative effort is going to waste, like some stories are just never going to be good enough and have to be written off as learning experiences. It’s made more difficult by the fact that I’m having trouble thinking up new ideas recently, and the three stories I’m working on now are all massive overhauls of things I wrote years and years ago. It’s like I’m afraid to move forward, and I don’t know why.

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