You’ve slaved away at a short story and are really rather proud of it. Your writing friends have been complimentary and you like to think it’s as good as you can make it.
No thank you, say the fiction editors you send it to.
A nasty jolt to your confidence. WHAT is wrong with it?
In the film Mr Turner, there’s a scene based on a real life incident that took place in 1832. John Constable had been working away at his painting The Opening of Waterloo Bridge for about fifteen years, and was just putting the finishing touches to it in the Royal Academy gallery when Turner stomped in and painted a small red buoy in the middle of his own painting of Dutch ships in a gale. The splash of red instantly brought the painting to life.
It’s possible that one tiny tweak to a story – that splash of red paint – might be all that is needed. If only you had Turner’s unerring eye.