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Recently I received a rejection for an anthology. I’ve been publishing since 1998, so rejection isn’t new to me. The e-mail did not state the reason, but that I could contact the editor if I really felt the need for an explanation. I didn’t. I already had a pretty good idea as to why my story was rejected.
I didn’t go there.
“Go where?” you might ask, and I’m glad you did. I let fear take control of the reins. I ended up in a drive-thru in Kansas, eating an ice cream sundae, rather than mucking through a Louisiana swap, wrestling gators with my bare hands.
“Fear is good,” you say. “You write horror.” But fear is anathema when it tells a writer to play it safe. Fear is what makes Hollywood churn out piles of derivative crap every year. Fear that my story would be perceived as too twisted, too sick–and worse, that someone would call me out on it–led me to take it in a completely different direction than the one I had originally intended. It was safe. And maybe the editors just didn’t like the story, but I have a feeling that they sensed this wasn’t the tale I had set out to tell.
I’m going to rework the story. I’m going for it this time. Somewhere out there is an editor who’s been waiting for this type of thing, and I’m going to find them.
I’m going there.