You often hear that acceptance/rejection of your submission, be it novel or short story, is subjective. This is why after one person “passes” on a material, you should try again and again and again (just keep saying “and again until you’re exhausted). But the funny part is, what people say are your strengths is subjective as well. At least, that was my experience during summer.
At the start of summer, I was told that my strengths were character stories. (How they react emotionally and deal with things.) I was told this by a person whom wanted me to avoid combat in a piece. So, after that, I wrote exactly what they asked for. Before sending it in, I showed it to my writing mentor (I like to show him my progress in writing every now and then to make him feel like a proud writer daddy). He said, “Wow. If that person doesn’t like this, I don’t know…” Yeah, me too. Thankfully, the person did like it.
At the end of summer, I was working on something for another person. This time around, I was told the combat overshadows the quiet moments. My character moments were still good, but the combat was just awesome. And let me tell you, I was beyond surprised to hear this.
Which brings us back to: It is all subjective. I was considering avoiding all combat earlier this summer due to one person’s opinion. But the fact is, I can write combat that works. The first person didn’t want me to explore that avenue in what I produced, and that’s fine because that’s the person’s tastes/opinion. Sure, the pieces are completely different in tone and genre, but I had let one* comment scare me away from combat entirely. That wasn’t something I should do! I just needed this experience to remind me of that. I can obviously pull it of. I had in the past (I had combat in my novel Gaslight Demons and in my short story Flames of the Butterfly) and I could do it again. It is all subjective.
*- Of course I should point out that subjective can be over ruled by majority opinion. If nine more people said I need to avoid combat, I’d take it seriously.