Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Little Down But Not Out

Hi all - there is a definite reason I didn't blog yesterday...I needed time to assimilate a response I received from one of my submissions.

If I'd have posted yesterday it would have been classed as a rant. I would have been going off half cocked, and I would have been wrong.

Now I've had time to sit back and consider everything behind the feedback.

First impressions: Rude to the point of being insulting. This is what I thought of the feedback. The opening paragraph rips my poor little piece to shreds. The second paragraph seemed arrogant and pompous. Anything which contains the words "does in fact" sounds way too much like my eldest daughter trying to argue with me - trying to put me down and prove themselves the better in this instance. That type of thing "does in fact" piss me off!

So I took time out and refused to write anything knowing I'd go off on one of my rants. Now I've had time to put everything into perspective.

"Grimoire" was written nearly 18 months ago for a specific anthology. It was rejected from that market. I rewrote it and submitted it to TPN, the crit group I was involved with earlier this year. It went through many rewrites from that point on. According to my tracking sheet it has been submitted a total of five times. The original anthology responded with comments such as entertaining and likable. Two other markets responded with form rejections, one market closed before responding, and now this response labeling it pretty much as schlep.

The market, while not paying a huge amount, does have prestige attached to it. I've read past issues and know in my heart this piece wasn't up to their standards.

The editor is known to me. I didn't send it thinking I could sneak in under the nepotism banner or anything like that. I'd sent it before I knew the editor, but now I do know the editor, I can appreciate the blunt and straight forward response. It's the type of person they are when it comes to the provision of feedback. I was forewarned of it in an earlier online chat session they were part of.

Lastly - it is an opinion on the work - not an opinion on me. I needed to remind myself of this one regardless of how the feedback was worded. No response is personal. Many slushers and editors, most magazine staff in general, are nice people. They want to publish great stories. It's up to us writers to do the work and provide them with suitable material. In this case I didn't.

I'm marking this one down for exposure markets. I still like the story although it is full of cliche's - it's supposed to be. It's an early effort which members of my previous crit group thought okay, and others who have read it thought okay. It's not a down and out suspenseful masterpiece - but that's okay too as it was an early effort at writing, which has since seen a few revisions but kept the original sense in tact. If an exposure market doesn't want it, I'll post it on the examples page.

So I'll chalk up another rejection, but life goes on--and this piece will go back out.

Good luck with your submissions



  1. I had a snarky comment from and editor (or a slusher) about one of my stories. they seemed to mistake the ineptness of one of my characters for my inept writing. It was frustrating but that too shall pass.

  2. It happens and when all is said and done it is only one person's point of view.

    I recently received a rejection from a semi-pro magazine that said 'too muddled'. I sent the story back out without editing (as it had previously received a good rejection) and it was accepted by a pro-paying magazine and provided me with my best payday to date - go figure!

  3. Cate has a good point. Editors are humans, too, and they are subject to whims of fancy (or fantasy...heh), just like the rest of us.

    It's important not to over Cate's example.

  4. You all have good points and good examples here. The underlying point remains the same - becoming a writer is an exercise in craft growth and persistence.

    There is a home for your work somewhere out there.

    When you receive feedback, take time to cool down and consider what has been offered. The only person whose opinion really counts is yours. If you agree some changes would benefit the story then go ahead, but only if you truly believe it is a step forward, otherwise do as Cate did and send it out as is to another market and another opinion.

    If you like the story, and other non-related readers like the story - chances are an editor somewhere will like it too.