When To Let A Project Go

Short stories are a great training ground for novel writing, but are they worth the energy?

I had this wonderful idea, with a great setting, interesting characters, and a theme.  I had a submission goal.  I thought the story was lovely, a perfect fit for the publication.  Heartwarming and tender, my story even had dogs.

It was rejected.

I had another story.  It was based on a true incident, but there was nothing special about it.  Then the truthiness was edited away and a supernatural aspect came into it.

Length became an issue.  It was too short for a short story, so it became flash fiction.  I set an arbitrary word limit, which, while researching potential homes, was either too high or too low.

My critique group had questions, issues, and feedback comprising more words than the story itself.

I went to a conference and one speaker talked about shaking things up and changing the POV.  He was also the editor of a literary journal and encouraged submissions.  I changed the POV of my story to 2nd and it just sang to me.  The freshness!  The drama!  I submitted to the journal and waited for months and months and months.

It was rejected.

So here I have two perfectly lovely stories collecting dust.  When do you let a project go?  Do I just tuck them away in my bottom drawer, never to be seen again?  Or do I keep sending them out?  And if so, where?

There isn’t much demand for short romance or shorter supernatural.  My initial, and only, attempts at publication were both aimed at paper publication.  Is electronic publication a paying, valid, or even respected alternative?

Paper magazines are going away.  Newspapers are going away.  Even books are going away.  But are they being replaced with electronic alternatives?  No one is really saying.

Lots of questions and no easy answers.

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