How I Became a New Man and What Good It Did Me
How I Became a New Man and What Good It Did Me was originally written for the Verulam Writers' Circle President's Competition, where the prompt was to write a story inspired a piece of music. Under its original name of Re-Make / Re-Model (yes, it was inspired by Roxy Music), it was, quite reasonably, passed over by Nick Cook, the judge. This was almost certainly because it was a really terrible story, full of shoe-horned Roxy Music references (even if I'm still quite proud of the pseudonym I used, Roxie Mucus).
It did, however, contain the bare bones of a half-decent idea, which I went on to re-use for Task Seven of the 2007-8 SlingInk Eurofiction Competition. The prompt used was "Write a story set in a beauty salon". Under its next title of A New Man, it was placed 20th equal out of a total field of 57. The (unnamed) judge commented that "as a story it's enjoyable and humourous, and the post-modernist gender-stereotyping messages in there are insightful."
After a long series of rejections and continual minor tweaks, I finally changed the title to How I Became a New Man and What Good It Did Me and was immediately rewarded with a shortlisting in the Spring 2010 JBWB Short Story Competition.
How I Became a New Man and What Good It Did Me was translated into German as Wie ich ein neuer Mann wurde und was es mir gebracht hat in Issue Two of Wortmosaik, which came out in June 2012. This is the only story of mine to date that has been translated into another language.
The most important thing I learnt from this story was the need for a decent title. While A New Man accurately describes the story - indeed in both senses of the phrase - it doesn't come close to drawing the reader in.