A few years ago I wrote a regular short story for a themed anthology, but it didn't make the cut. Neither did the anthology, but that's another story.
The story was about a woman named Avery Carson. It was a procedural. I thought it had merit and kept tinkering with it, kept sending it out. No one liked it. I was liking it more and more. And I wanted to mark it off my list :)
After months of tinkering, submitting, rejection again and again, I put it away. I was involved with another project and didn't want to think about it any more.
Months later I pulled it out again. Ah, I knew the answer. I added a whole other layer to it, made it longer with a more complex plot. Instead of 3000 words or so, it grew to 5000-6000 words. Had a different title. Again tinker, submit, rejection. The same pattern. I put it away again.
Many months passed before I pulled it out again. I couldn't let go of Avery. And it was Avery, not the story. I chopped all the plot. What I had left was the core of Avery. I knew exactly who she was. And a 500-word flash story was born. With a new title. This was Avery's story, in a nutshell.
Again I sent it out. Again it came back. More than once. But I didn't put it away. And I didn't tinker. This was her story, and I had finally told it.
Every month or so I checked flash markets to see if I could find a fit. Nothing. I didn't believe the story really fit any genre. It definitely wasn't fantasy, scifi, historical, horror, slipstream, or romance. It was dark. There was crime. I tried all sorts of markets - mystery, flash only, even literary. I kept looking.
Last year, a new market opened - Dark Valentine Magazine. They were looking for dark fiction. They didn't care about genre as long as the story was dark. And they were open to flash fiction. Off it went.
They loved it. "Blues in the Night" was included in the premier issue last May.
And last week it was nominated for a Derringer Award for Best Flash Story by the Short Mystery Fiction Society.
So the little story that no one liked for years has gone on to be short-listed for an award in its category.
The moral to this little story is:
Never Give Up
Write the Best Story You Can
Believe In Your Work
Believe In Yourself