Writing a short story is such a different beast than tackling a novel. Having written two full length novels (of around 100,000 words each), it was a bit of a challenge to write a couple of short stories recently. One is called The Howler King which was submitted for a short story contest. (I won't hear for a few months how that did). The second one I did on a whim for an anthology about evil tumbleweeds. It's called The Reluctant Wanderer.
One thing about doing anything creative is that people may like it or not--and for various reasons. I get that. There are certain authors I like to read, or music I like to listen to, and some I don't.
The gatekeeper / editor of the evil tumbleweeds anthology has "declined" my story. The comments were that the story was "too vanilla" (I guess they prefer chocolate) and the tumbleweeds were not "evil" enough. They offered me the chance to re-write the story.
I considered doing just that--for about 2.3672 seconds. Then I decided, "Nah, I like the story the way it is--I'm not going to change it just so it fits better what a certain person wants." Now this may seem a bit headstrong, and it probably is, but in the end, I want to be proud of the stories I create.
When I was shopping The Hidden Sun, one of the rejection letters said that the story was too tame and that if I were to add some swearing and a sex scene or two, they would consider it. For that comment, I considered doing that for 0.0000000001 second--if even that long.
**Update 5/7/11** The Reluctant Wanderer has been published in an anthology called How The West Was Wicked by Pill Hill Press. More information can be found here and here.
A bit of a warning: some of the stories in this anthology are a little more "wicked" than others--meaning read them at your own risk.