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When should a story be trunked?

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anonymous
Posted on Monday, January 30, 2006 - 12:58 pm:   

How do you know when to stop circulating a story? Is it after a certain number of rejections? A certain amount of time? Surely there must be a point where it's time to give up on it.

On a related note, how can you develop a sense for which stories are good enough to circulate, and which aren't? I have trouble seeing my own work objectively.
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Anonymoose
Posted on Monday, January 30, 2006 - 03:50 pm:   

When your story has been rejected by every market you would want to see it published in, then put it aside... and wait for new markets to appear. If a story's good, don't give up on it. (That's the editor's job!) I don't claim this advice is original, just that it's good.

Are your stories good enough to send out? You can put them aside for a while and reread them after you've cooled down about them. Sometimes this will give you the perspective to tell whether they suck or not, what works in them and what doesn't. Or you can give them to someone you trust and see what they say. On the other hand: these are your stories, so it's your call.
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Danonymouse
Posted on Tuesday, January 31, 2006 - 11:01 am:   

You should never stop circulating the story. Some novels have 128 rejections and get published on the 129th try.

How do you develop a critical sense? By joining a group like www.critique.org of course. To be able to tell a good story from a bad one you need exposure to both. Practice makes perfect, and the more often you critique other stories the better you will be able to objectively and constructively improve your own work.

If nothing else, by submitting a story to a workshop you can get honest feedback as to why none of the professional markets are currently willing to buy it.
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India Ocean
Posted on Wednesday, February 15, 2006 - 02:12 pm:   

I agree with the above. I had a story rejected by 13 magazines, some with printed rejection slips, and sold it on the 14th try. It was not only published in a national pro magazine, but was also reprinted in a Year's Best anthology.
Are you getting ANY personal comments from editors rejecting your stuff? If you are, take it as a good sign. Learning to write well is HARD WORK for most of us.

INDIA OCEAN
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George O'Gorman
Posted on Thursday, September 28, 2006 - 05:02 pm:   

I think of my stories as being like daughters I'm trying to marry off. The ones I've never sent out are the virgins. The ones that I've sent out once or twice are the debutants. The ones that've been sent out ten or fifteen times, well...I'm afraid those stories are the tramps.

There are endless tales of novels and stories that seem totally unpublishable and are rejected over and over, only to go on to become classics. Nobody ever heard of Melville in his lifetime. Poe was only known for the Raven. His brilliant horror stories were totally overlooked. Bronte couldn't get Wuthering Hights published. People told her "Gothic is passe". Can you believe that?
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Carole Hall
Posted on Friday, September 29, 2006 - 08:13 am:   

I reckon the more stories are rejected the more they improve - especially if you rewrite and take notice of comments (if you agree). Of course, you are supposed to do all this stuff before you actually send them out, but there is always room for improvement. And if a story has been around for ages percolating in a drawer (or trunk), then you have had that much more time to consider it and think of changes you could make.

So therefore multiple rejections are a *good* thing (but only for some stories).

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