I received the bad news this morning that my short story, “The Want of Breeding,” didn’t make the final cut for Midian Unmade.
Not the news I wanted to receive, since hindsight makes me believe it’s a good story. Sadly, the editors felt it didn’t fit with the other stories already selected for the anthology. Worse, since the story was a work-for-hire, touching on characters and situations from Clive Barker’s Cabal, the story can only go into the trunk since it only works in that context.
I don’t often try to write stories for themed anthologies. The muse likes square pegs, you see, and only the right combination of circumstances lets her find something that’s bright and shiny and worth the effort of fitting into those round holes.
I don’t begrudge the editors their decision. It’s their anthology, and they know best what they want. I said it before here, and in comments on Facebook, that I considered writing this story a win no matter the result, and I meant that with all sincerity. I didn’t get my idea until late — probably 10 days before the deadline — so finishing the story on time and believing it good enough to still submit are things I can feel proud about. And the story did make it past the first cut of more than 200 submissions, being one of the final 50 or so considered for inclusion in the anthology. That’s an accomplishment I can use as I turn my muse back toward finishing the new short story for Fantasy and Science Fiction and the guest editing submission period run by Charlie Finlay.
Yes, “The Want of Breeding” was rejected, but it accomplished so much in its brief existence. Lose the battle, win the war.