"I've read quite a few stories where priests consider their faith; it's really hard to make such a classic story feel fresh."
A fair enough comment, I suppose. If that's how she felt about my story then that's how she felt. It was only to be expected as they have a long list of things that they don't want to see which will make me scrutinise their magazine much harder next time to find out exactly what it is they do want. They seem awfully picky (would I be saying that had they accepted? Perhaps not.).
The worrying thing about the comment, I guess, is that her comment which can be summarised as 'your story isn't original' is near the opposite of what Murky Depths said about the same story 'fairly original,' (or something).
It's strange having my work getting such mixed comments, so which of them is right? It's bringing a lot of worries to the surface about the novel. How will agents and editors look at it and decide whether it's good enough? All these writing tips pages say to get it as good as you can. But how good do they mean? I can keep writing and fixing and drafting but will it still get rejected if it has, say, 15 minor errors like typos and misplaced punctuation? Will it then get rejected, commentless, leaving me to wonder why it got rejected when all it needs is a slightly better copy edit rather than an extensive rewrite? Is it like a driving test? One major mistake or fifteen minors and you fail?
I can only try my best in the end but still it's causing me some concern at the moment. Plus, as each rejection comes and goes I'm becoming less and less enamoured with the stories doing the rounds at the moment and I don't think the next batch are any good either. Maybe the third generation shorts will have potential....
Oh well, bugger it. Back to work.
Thanks for reading.