All writers have a “goal” publication in mind. For me, one of those publications was CRAFT Literary, and now my short story, “Admission,” is live on their website. I admire not only CRAFT’s short stories, but also their informative posts on the craft of writing.
I’m beginning to track my stories from conception to publication because I think it’d be fun to reflect on the revelations that form during the long process, the shifts I make to my characters, dialogue, and scenes—just because my original vision no longer applies to the story’s unfolding shape.
Once I get more acceptances (fingers crossed!), I’ll talk more about the process. I wrote “Admission” in December 2016. The first people to see its original form were Stephanie and Mariah, two excellent writers in our on-hiatus writing group, The Beans. (On pause because Stephanie was busy publishing her debut novel, They Could Have Named Her Anything, while Mariah was building a stellar publishing and writing career.)
“Admission” was originally a “story within a story.” It was the story that an adult character reflected on or remembered as she waited at her OBGYN appointment. I think I wanted to juxtapose her current circumstance with this sadder version, and I wanted to end on a happier note. I don’t remember the specific feedback but I know Beans did not like the structure, ha! Slowly, gradually, I saw why: The present story had little to do with the past story. The story focus was off. The tension was all in the past. The story ended too neatly. Many, many things were wrong! So, I pushed aside the frame and focused on the middle and soon, I saw the story. It’s about the individual, family expectations, and the difficult decisions you make to balance both.
I included the story in my MFA thesis collection and a mentor offered some edits in 2017. I made those tweaks before sending it off to four publications. After a series of rejections, I edited it some more . . . then I did absolutely nothing. I probably felt discouraged? More excited about another story? I can’t remember!
CRAFT was the fifth publication. I also submitted different stories to CRAFT before landing here. For the first one, I received a standard rejection email. The next, I received a personalized version.
“Thank you for sending . . . for consideration in CRAFT. Your story stood out to our readers and editors, particularly for the strong command of language and character. But we can accept so few pieces, we do have to decline excellent work . . . .
We . . . .hope that you will send us more work soon. We’d love to invite you to send us work anytime.
Encouragement! If you’re thinking of filing those personalized rejections away, DON’T.
I worked on “Admission,” then notified the editor who sent over this email. Seventeen days later, I finally received an acceptance email. This just goes to show that you have to keep trying. That rejection will turn into an acceptance eventually!
I hope you enjoy this short story.
Stay tuned for more writing news about my writing and A Phở Love Story.