Normally, you have to wait about three to six months to hear back. I heard from the editor about two weeks later. Prompted by my buddy’s enthusiastic response to the story, the editor had taken it home to read over the weekend.
She…loved it! She made several suggestions for ways I could consider improving parts of the story, but nothing too major. It was a truly lovely experience: being taken seriously by someone in a position of power, and getting her feedback as an equal, rather than the somewhat bossy criticisms from university lecturers or work managers, which had been my only past experience of the feedback process for my writing or other work. The editor, however, clearly enjoyed reading new ideas, and taking part. It was not a stand-offish type of feedback, but more like the suggestions of someone who wanted to play, too.
The editor suggested that I submit the to the head editor, to make a decision about publishing, and asked if I might consider submitting other stories at the same time for a collection. Another, less likely option, might be to publish as an illustrated, stand-alone book.
This latter idea consumed my imagination, as the saying goes. I reviewed my other short stories and came to the realisation that they weren’t anything like Mr Middleton and would not suit a collection. I had a few ideas for other stories, and I toyed with the idea of writing them up. More than toyed: I really tried to convince myself that this is what I should do. But a vision of Mr Middleton, illustrated, the teleporter not just a set of words on a page, filled my head. It was a riskier path, far less likely to gain traction with a publisher. But it was a beautiful, tantalising possibility. Ah, I love the word possibility. Full of so much….possibility.
Where to find an illustrator to complete my vision, and fast, before I lost their interest?
To be continued.