Monday, April 6, 2009


I just this moment received a rejection back from the general submission slush pile for the Dark Glass anthology which makes me think it'll have no hope in the competition side of things either.

It was quite unapologetic in it's efforts to call my story crap. Taking a line from the middle of the rejection letter - "There's nothing really new here, and the characters seem thin." - left me wondering if I can actually write.

This story has passed through a number of beta readers, and others, and has attracted better feedback with each revision cycle - and yet now it has been broadsided with labels of 'standard' and 'better avoided'. (Actual words used in the rejection letter)

I haven't done a lot of writing over the last couple of weeks: less than 2000 words on AKL and one short at 3600. Add in a couple of assignments and I get a total of around 7-8K in two weeks. I've done a bit of reading but in general, I seem to be winding down.

Now this could be due to the fast approaching holiday period. I have two days of work left, and then 12 days of relaxation. First family holiday where we are going away for a long, long time. I'm seriously looking forward to it.

Or it could be because in the last few days, I've had rejections on a couple of pieces I thought were good, or at least some of the better stuff I'd written so far. The insecure writer in me has taken this pretty badly. I understand that and intend to simply keep trying, but I am worried that a lot of my work seems to come back from paying markets with comments seriously down-playing my ability to form all the components of a good story.

Am I just a cliche writer? Can I not come up with something new, or at least something with a big enough twist on it that someone would want to pay me for it?

I have these doubts, and then I read some of the crap that is being published and writers are getting paid for, and I go into this spiral of envy and whining bullshit which disgusts me, and makes me feel somewhat worse than a gynaecologist who misses the mark by just that much. (Sorry, I watched Knocked Up last night - funny.)

I guess this is all part of the learning process, and the heavy payment of dues we all must put into the coffers at some point. Personally - I think it blows the big one.

Now I wait in expectation for another hammer blow from the Devil's Food antho, and then Apex can drive in the final nail by rejecting the previously short listed Dreaming with a "sorry, what were we thinking" type of rejection.

Sorry - just venting.

I'm revising a couple of stories at the moment. I'll wait until I have confirmation from the PARSEC contest before I do anything with Swirls. I still have some market work to do for AHWA which I'm hoping to get onto today.

As for the next week or so: I'll post a couple more times over the next day or two and then I'll be slipping off the radar until after Easter - or there abouts. So have a great and safe Easter. Drive carefully, and best of luck on your egg hunt.

And I wish you all the very best with your Easter writing endeavours.


  1. Have you ever read The Red Badge of Courage? The title refers to wounds sustained in battle, and that's what rejection letters of that sort are. Every writer has to have them. Congratulations on a magnificent one.

    These are the things we'll be talking about years from now, and laughing. Remember when...

    You can write, and you will continue to write. Enjoy a much-deserved vacation.

  2. It sucks that rejections make us question ourselves as writers. Remember, it's just that one person's opinion :) Take a load off, have a great Easter and gorge yourself with chocolate.

  3. Sorry to hear about the brutal rejection. I think we've all gone through that type of reaction and thought process to a particularly blunt one. I know I certainly have. As Danielle said, it sucks that such opinions can make us question our calling and ability, especially in light of what is being published in some areas. Just do what I do: stomp your feet, curse the editor's name, vow sweet revenge by achieving unparalleled success...and then sub the story again. I'm sure your relaxation period will revitalize the muse and drive. Have a great holiday!

  4. Don't worry BT, I received a couple of Triangulation rejections too, and mine were similarly blunt. I ate some chocolate and moved on. It's all very subjective and has just reminded me that I really should be working on my novel rather than tinkering with shorts anyway! ;o)

  5. I've had editors hate one story, then I sell the story a week later to another editor who adored it. Just goes to show that it's all about finding the right fit.

    So don't be hard on yourself. Just keep sending sotires out : )

  6. Thanks everyone.

    I guess I'm just in one of those down periods. I'm even back to questioning what genre I want to write in - or should be writing in. No doubt I'll be right as rain in a day or so.

    I think I'll go play in another area on something a bit different (although it'll still have a dark edge - it just might be a wet and slightly more pleasurable edge).

    I'm actually going to blame some of you for my sudden, and somewhat overly dramatic, fall from grace. Your comments and feedback on The Winged Shepherd were wonderful, and then I get trampled on by this latest rejection. Guess I suddenly had further to fall - now that's scary.

    Aaron - I've added the book to my reading list.

  7. Chin up, it's just one editors opinion.

  8. Rejection is a sign that you tried, write the best book you can, let another find the value in your work.

  9. Thanks, Cate. I think the issue was the difference in response between the antho editor and the competition editor. Ann Cecil runs the comp and she has been nothing but constructive and encouraging in her feedback - even when she tore Winged Shepherd apart last year. I wait to hear what she has to say about Swirls.

    Hey, Marty - welcome to Musings and thanks for commenting. I always try to write the best I can, but I find value in my own work. It would be nice for others to pay me for it, but it's their loss if they are unable to find the intrinsic value of the art I create. Still, I'd like to get paid... ;c)

  10. Writing is a roller coaster ...
    How about having a look at my mystery novel on Journeys in Creative Writing? I've just posted the last episode and the rest are all linked on the sidebar. My readers are loud in their approval. Would love your feedback.
    June Saville

  11. Hi June

    I'm happy to wander over and have a read. I'll admit to not being big on the mystery genre, but I'm open to new experiences - there, I've book marked it and will commence reading next week.