So, when I was turning my thesis project into my current manuscript, I had to cut out two stories that didn't really match with the theme of mental illness. I wasn't a big fan of the decision, but I mean, I have to back my own play. The reason for their removal was that they just didn't match up with the theme: mental illness.
I mean, I made the case that both had to do with dissociation. It still stands true, but to an extent both stories are better off alone. One of them, Chamber Music, turned into an experimental piece. The other, The Ritual, was an ode to Julio Cortazar. But I wasn't crazy about it. Chamber Music is still one of my favorite pieces of work, and The Ritual...not so much.
So I was looking through the Submissions Grinder, which is a great resource, and found a call for fiction pieces, especially flash fiction. For this journal, I had to respond to a particular prompt. So I cut down the piece, changed the main character's gender, kept the ending, but changed how the characters got to it.
Fired it off and forgot about it. Then a month later, having completely forgotten about the piece, I see another call for submissions for another journal. Under 1,000 words. Hmmm, I think, I wonder which piece I have...oh right, I don't! Most of my fiction I've written in the last two years exceeds the thousand-word threshold by a couple of hundred words. So I thought about taking an editing knife to another one when I suddenly remembered "The Ritual" which was still 200 or so words over the limit. I figured, oh what the hell, let's submit it to this one as well.
Made a few more changes and fired it off.
I treat my submissions as fire and forget missiles. So I'm always surprised when I receive acceptance/rejection emails. This past Saturday, as I was chilling at home, I get an email from the first journal I submitted The Ritual to.
"Thank you for submitting, bla bla bla, unfortunately, bla bla"
Which is fine. I'm fine with that because they don't have to take the time to send me any sort of response. I always try to be grateful and mindful of that fact.
But then, two hours later, the second journal I submitted to responds, saying they wanted my piece!
The point I'm getting at is one man's crap is another man's treasure. Don't give up on your pieces. Just keep submitting!