With several short stories completed, it was time to return to the local writers workshop. This semester it was a small group of four, including the instructor and me. Two additional people were no shows, something I don’t understand that. They’re throwing their money away. It worked to my benefit as I was guaranteed to have my work read during each class. And the feedback from this group has been quite helpful.
Here are the results:
- “The Recruiter” would appear to be unpublishable in its current format due to an assumption of Islamophobia in editorial circles (according to the group). This confirms my suspicions which arose from past feedback which indicated that at least some readers were misinterpreting the story’s message: that deceivers will go to any lengths to achieve their ends, including perverting a religion to fool the innocent. Since I have failed in making this clear, it makes the story too dangerous to touch in these volatile times. My only recourses are to self-publish it “as is” or channel Herbert and Hubbard and create a fake religion for the protagonist and see if that fairs any better.
But what’s interesting is that “Collection Notice” has generally received favorable reviews and it was deemed unpublishable due to being too specific with regards to current events. So maybe I’ll publish it anyway.
- “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow” was deemed publishable, though I have to make a few small edits. The question becomes, “Where?” As this short story doesn’t easily fit into genre markets, I need to go into unexplored territory.
- “We’ll Watch the Sunrise from the Bottom of the Sea” still proves to be problematic. While I’ve improved Stephanie and the ending, there are sections in the middle that need tweaking. This is the one story I still have out in a slush pile so I’ll wait to hear back from them before I edit it. Maybe they’ll like it just the way it is, as one member of the group stated.
- “She Cries at Midnight” received favorable reviews but needs some tweaking.
- The group really enjoyed “Neptune’s Diamonds”. It needs some tightening in spots but nothing major.
Overall, I’m pleased with the outcome. My more recent work was the best received so it would appear that my writing is improving.