The words, '...next submission' stood out and I realised it was an invitation to submit another story (and not a closed door). It also pointed out that my plot and characters weren't fully developed.
I've now learnt a few things for next time.
- LISTEN hard to the words of the professionals (in my case the NWS Reader and other published writers).
- UNDERSTAND that as your characters and plot evolve, further changes will often be needed and the earlier chapters may need to be rewritten.
- NEVER send off a partial until your STORY is as strong as it can be - no matter how impatient you feel.
Oh, one other thing:
NEVER GIVE UP!