I got my second rejection the other day. Don't feel bad for me this is a good thing. First off I hardly ever enter competitions because I write things that are too long. Secondly I am terrible at flash fiction so I wasn't surprised. Especially when the comments were that I needed to flesh it out. I was already at the word limit. I can't do short. But the other comment they had was that they didn't get the whole Dragons collecting thing, that a woman would happily be 'owned' and I thought 'crap I haven't been able to get across my point' that is a fault in my writing. So I thought I would explain a little why I have the whole collecting thing in my stories.
Some back story to my Dragons. They come from a matriarchal society where men were merely there to serve the female dragons and to look after the young. When their planet was nearly hit by an asteroid their atmosphere was burned off and they were forced underground. For a species that flies this is anathema to life so they decide to leave except the woman don't like change and stay. Most of the men leave. They think they are giving up their chance to have a family. To travel to earth they had entangle their atoms to those of humans. This allows them to take on the shape of humans when they want as they just swap out their atoms at the quantum level. They can make things pop in and out because they entangle with the atoms of things they own. They are literally what they own. They have to choose wisely as owning something can change who they are. In order to be fertile with humans they have to own a woman. It is physics. Otherwise how else would you have an alien species compatible with humans.
But this is only the one why. All stories have more than one reason why they have something. If they don't, they aren't very good stories. Here are the other reasons I have this whole thing of 'collecting'.
Most of my generation are single. Either because relationships have fallen apart but a good chunk of us have never been in a significant relationship. If I was born ten years later it would have been different. Almost all of my younger friends are married. I've speculated a lot on why this might be but I do know that there has been a stigma towards marriage in the media. That we will some how lose ourselves. Or why bother because half get divorced anyway. This whole why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free mentality. This is what the whole collecting thing is about. The women think it is slavery and the dragons think it is making themselves extremely vulnerable to the women because they are literally letting in at the atomic level. This is an analogy to how people view marriage. One group sees it at slavery while the other sees it as a bond so close it is under their skin.
My dragons also get into a lot of trouble because they are not very good at communication. To them finding a mate their whole point to life. While the humans have multiple objectives in life. This is a comment on all those people that ask me when I'm going to get married. Why don't they ask how work is doing or ask after my animals? The humans see this as arrogance on the part of the dragons instead it is about knowing what will make them happy and pursuing that with complete commitment.
In my latest story I have the girl marrying the dragon because her orphanage is about to close the orphanage and she knows that dragons always look after what they collect. She throws herself at the dragon so he will collect her and the orphanage. Someone thought it was 'prostitution'. If you think women have never or will never marry for comfort you are delusional. In this case the dragon is awesome with the kids and is excited about the concept of having an instant family. A massive instant family. We live in a world where women have to choose a mate based on what is best for their whole family instead of just their own needs. I was watching the truth bomb mom the other day and she talked about not settling. That women deserved a man who would be willing to clean up vomit of a child not their own at 3am. That we shouldn't settle. If I had more word count I would have shown them slowly falling in love but the romance genre is heightened experience and people fall in love instantly, over night or in less than a week. My Protag isn't settling, she isn't selling herself. She is deciding to be part of something bigger than herself and that includes marrying a dragon. She falls in love with him because he loves her kids and that is enough for her. Marrying for love is a very new concept. For thousands of years women have been marrying for lots of reason. Love was rarely one of them. Mostly because despite laws changing men saw women as property.
I wanted to get across the idea that this mythical thing we call love isn't what we think it is. Love is not just chemicals in our body. Love can be a choice, a realisation that someone is wonderful. The kind of love that lasts decades takes oodles of work and dedication. Unfortunately, I must not have got that across and hence the rejection.