Today I heard back on my submission to Warrior Wisewomen 2. Unfortunately, the answer was no, but once again I was lucky enough to get a few comments from the editor instead of a form rejection.
Thank you for your submission. While the story is interesting, too much of it
seems to be mood-setting and exposition, rather than showing. The actual plot
appears to begin on page 19, and we hesitate to task you to cut the first 18
pages out and show us what got eliminated, rather than telling us about it. We
wish you success in placing it elsewhere.
While being told no sucks, I'm glad I got some useful feedback. I wish he would have tasked me with the task, as I would have taken it on with much enthusiasm. Ok, well, I would have done it willing and with understanding of the why, despite liking the content I would have been tasked to cut. I think part of the problem is that I'm drawing "Eidos" from a world I've already created. Basically, I'm writing it more as I would have written a longer piece of fiction, at least that's what I think. Despite having my short story "Savage" accepted for publication, I've not nearly mastered the art of short fiction.
However, I've taken a good look at the piece and decided to give it a few whacks with the good old metaphorical chainsaw. I've attempted to make the changes the editor suggested, removing about 3,000 words in two scenes. I then went back and sprinkled in a few tidbits to piece together what I removed, but only where it seemed most critical. As it stands now, the action begins on page 5 instead of 19.
This seems a good choice for a number of reasons. I've found another anthology, called Federations, which is looking for pieces closer to the 5k ballpark. Therefore, a 6,400 word story has a much better chance of getting in than 9,400. (The guidelines staw that he is willing to consider longer pieces, but they won't exceed the maximum payment. Nearly doubling the word limit, however, would certainly be poo-pooed.) I can submit starting November 1.
There is another anthology open as well, which closes November 15. However, this is a very small press (where Federations appears to have a little more clout and circulation and is edited by someone with strong credentials) that I've never heard of. I think I will base how I proceed with this second one on how the submission to Federations pans out.
Hopefully the diet version of "Eidos" will fair better than its pudgy predecessor.