Sunday night, a good friend who is also a writer, sent me a message saying her story for the Chicken Soup Christmas book had been accepted. Then early yesterday, she wrote again to say that another mutual writer friend had received word that her story made it, too. I was happy for both of them, but....
...I was feeling pretty discouraged by then. Only last week, I'd had occasion to write the editor of the Chicken Soup Christmas book, and she'd responded to my question quickly. She added that my story was still in the running in this final cut stage. In fact, it had to pass only one more review editor before it was in the book. I told myself that last editor had not liked the story and put the fatal red slash across it.
As I took care of some household tasks, I gave myself silent pep talks. Just look at how many stories you've had accepted by Chicken Soup editors in the past. You should be proud of that. They've said many times that only an extremely small number of the submissions actually make it into the book. You can't expect to be a winner every time, I reminded myself while I folded laundry. You can talk to yourself, but you also need to listen and agree, and I'm not sure I was doing that.
Later in the morning, I sat down at the computer to check on e-mail, and there it was. The acceptance letter that I'd hoped for. "My Special Christmas Doll" will be part of the 2010 Chicken Soup For The Soul: Christmas Magic book, which will be released in October. The story was attached to the letter which stated that some stories had no editing and some had a lot of editing to fit the parameters of the book. I was to check it over, make any corrections needed and approve or disapprove before returning to the editor.
I read the story carefully and found no typos, spelling errors or other mechanical problems. But I did discover that an entire paragraph was missing from the story. I dug into my files and retrieved the original submission to make sure I wasn't dreaming this up. Sure enough, an entire paragraph had been omitted. Otherwise, not a word had been changed. The missing paragraph had two important pieces of information, at least important to me. I soon realized that the reason the editor had scratched this section was to keep the story "Santa Safe" which is a term I'd seen in their call for Christmas stories. So, what could I do but agree to the edited version? I'm pleased to have my story about a doll that has passed from me to my daughter to her daughter during the last 65 years. And I'm also very pleased to be included in eleven Chicken Soup books.