So, I've got a question. Totally hypothetical, of course.
You've got a half dozen short stories under your belt. Somehow you've mustered the courage to send them out into the cruel universe for publication. Or mutilation. Whichever the Fates decree. You've got a plan, you see. Send out those little gems and wait patiently for them to return like wayward carrier pigeons, hopefully bearing good news in those little canisters tied to their legs, and in the meantime while away the long days by finally weaving that novel that's been percolating in the back of your noggin.
Then, just as you are in jeopardy of actually starting said novel, the rejection notices start flying at you, like poison darts fired by headhunters. But the people you think are headhunters are actually editors of magazines you THOUGHT you liked, only now you realize they obviously have no sense of style or eye for talent.
Oh sure, some of them have chatty little personal notes tacked on. Stuff like, "I loved your story except for the lack of plot and likeable characters…" or "We'd love to publish your story but for the fact that we have standards…" yada, yada, yada. Their sugar-coated platitudes can't hide the fact that it all adds up to the same thing: rejection!
Suddenly your attention is drawn from your upcoming bestseller back to these literary nuggets that desperately need a home. Upon reopening your stories you discover, to your horror, that perhaps there are flaws. Microscopic, to be sure, but they are there. And they must be addressed. Immediately!
So now you find yourself in this endless cycle of rehashing…rethinking…rewriting!
My question is this:
At some point, do you simply let them go? Those wayward stories, I mean. Do you get to a point where you throw your hands up and declare, "Enough! I will not budge another inch!" If they never find a home just consider it a part of your writing education and move on..?
Or do you endlessly tweak until they are perfect?