I think perhaps you have to get into a certain mindset to start rewriting but I don't seem able to stop at the moment. As well as the story I mentioned in the last post I've rewritten two other stories in the last day and a half. Mostly I've pruned them quite harshly (reducing each one by about 1,000 words). When stories are just filed away on my hard drive doing nothing (because the crits they got said they weren't up to par), they silently bug my subconscious. "What about me?" they moan. "You really liked me. Send me somewhere. I just need a bit of work and then I'll be good enough." You know, because my stories have whinging voices like that.
Anyway, the reaction to the first rewrite at my writing group was mixed. One writer gave it a much more respectable score and two others gave it 'ok' scores. I obviously hadn't done the dramatic "oh my god it's fantastic now" rewrite that I thought I had. The problem? No one GETS the theme. One reviewer even said "it's obvious the writer of this story has the theme firmly fixed in his/her head but I don't get it". That's a big problem with some of my stories - often the themes ARE too complicated and muddled. One of the other reviewers DID get the theme but he wasn't moved by it at all. Sometimes when the theme seems big to me it can seem banal to someone else. What's the answer? Shrug my shoulders and hope that an editor out there WILL respond to the theme. And if they don't? Doesn't matter - not every story needs to find a home (despite the whinging).