Friday, July 4, 2014

Memory Lane

While browsing my files I sometimes take another look at some stories that never found a home despite, in my humble opinion, being the finest literary work of the century*.   Of course one does look for reasons that the tales failed to resonate with editors, some of whom might have liked the work, but demurred for reasons unconnected to the story itself or its presentation. Some of these stories have been rewritten numerous times in an attempt to correct whatever problems others might have perceived. Others I've re-read to discover where the plot sags or the characters morph into creatures untrue to their established nature.  Some of the older ones are simply outdated, speaking of things overtaken by technological progress, or thrown in the trash due to scientific advances.

I browse the past whenever creativity lags and, as I do so, I have to face the inevitable questions about their disposition.  Do I attempt yet another rewrite, a better edit, a slight modification, or simply send it on another round of editors, hoping that at least one might be in a better mood when they read it again or at least suffer from sufficient memory lapse that they no longer recall rejecting it.

I have far more completed, but failed pieces than those that were successfully published,so don't even get me started on those incomplete messes that I simply abandoned. They outnumber the completed ones by a substantial number.  Someday, I mutter to myself in my darker moods, the future will recognize my brilliance and grant me posthumous success. This is a dream shared, no doubt, by legions of other writers who also flail against the cruelty of the speculative short fiction market.

I have such an abandoned piece before me at the moment. It is a perfectly respectable story. Do I work on refurbishing it, or do I push on with yet another new story, hoping that it might find better success?  It's a problem, and one I despair of ever solving.

Or maybe this sort of self-abuse is just a way of avoiding writing.

* Or maybe not: I'm somewhat biased.


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