Hi all: I recently submitted a fantasy short story to a pro-level market. I got a personal rejection with some nice words about my writing, asking me to submit other stories to them in the future. I also received some specific feedback as to why the editor rejected the story. Here's a short version of the tale: Two sisters, with diametrically opposed worldviews, are in a position to change the course of their society. They couldn't disagree more about which direction things should go. Sister A is determined to conduct a supernatural ritual that will help push things in the direction she wants (this is Fantasy, after all). Sister B is an anxious, passive sort. She has a hard time opposing her sister face to face and looks for other ways to do it. Part of the set up for the supernatural ritual involves advice from a sort of Wise Woman (though a rather sinister one at times). Just before Sister A is to perform her ritual, Sister B goes back to the Wise Woman for help stopping her sister. The Wise Woman is convinced, and gives Sister B something to make Sister A sick, but do no permanent harm. The window for the ritual is short, so if Sister A is sick it will be at least a year before she can try again. As I wrote the story, everything from beginning to end flowed naturally except the part where Sister B goes to get the herbs to make her sister sick. I put that in 1) because I needed to show Sister B taking a somewhat drastic step to try to stop her sister; and 2) because the mild "poisoning" of Sister A goes wrong and puts them both in danger, forcing Sister B to act contrary to her own desires to save Sister A at the end. The editor liked everything about the story except that the poisoning part seemed "contrived." I'm sure it seemed that way because it was contrived. I have three options at this point, as I see it: 1) get rid of the poisoning altogether and come up with an alternative final attempt by Sister B to stop Sister A. It can be anything, as long as it goes awry and puts Sister A in danger, forcing Sister B to save her; 2) rewrite the story and try to make the poisoning seem more organic and natural, rather than something I added in to a later draft of the story to accomplish the story goals above (with the caveat that I've tried once to do this already, and clearly need to do more); 3) burn down the house, which contains my computer and all hard copies of the story. Thoughts?