Yesterday I distributed copies of a story that's in the running for my anthology submission. So far I've gotten feedback from two people. One was sort of ambivilant--it's not the type of story he normally reads, but he seemed to like it ok and didn't have any major complaints about it--but the other response really threw me for a loop. To make sense of this, you should know the story is about a widow who receives a pair of earrings that enables her to hear her recently departed husband.
Reader: I liked it.
Me (sensing she is holding back): Listen, don't tell me you liked it to spare my feelings. If you didn't like it, it's ok. Tell me what's wrong with it--
Reader: No, it's not that. (she gets teary eyed) It's just that my mom says that my dad used to talk to her after he passed.
Me: Oh! Oh my God! If I'd have known that, I'd have warned you. I'm so sorry! (I get a bit teary, too.)
Reader: No, no, don't be. I just wanted you to see my real reaction.
Later, she came and apologized, saying she didn't mean to freak me out. I assured her that I wasn't freaked at all. In fact, I found it touching that my words could do that. Like I said, at first I felt bad for making her cry ... but then I was sort of ... I made her cry with what I wrote. I'm the fucking woman!!! So, of course, what has to happen is for another reader to totally trash it so I can get off my high horse already. I hope to have the other story done by Wednesday so the readers can tell me which one they liked best. Whatever story gets the most votes is goin' to the editor.