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hapsburg
04-07-2005, 07:24 AM
I get rejected all the time, but this one actually made me want to respond with something acerbic. Got the standard reject from a flash mag, then it was followed with the editors' comments. I'm going to respond to those comments because, if I don't vent, I'll embarrass myself in an acerbic email reply to them.



EDITOR 1: No. This made no sense to me.


Then try reading it without moving your lips. I'm subtle but not obscure. It was 500 words long with a simple plot and a simple moral.




EDITOR 2: No. I understand what the writer is trying for but he/she fails to evoke an emotional response. I don't care for the characters, thus all the horrors heaped upon them seem petty and I don't feel anything for their plight.



Well, I'm glad you at least understand it. Maybe you should explain it to editor 1, it makes no sense to him. "All the horrors"? It was 500 words, only one thing happened. Not emmotional enough? It's 500 word flash fic, that's only enough room for a single simple scene. How are you supposed to get to know a character wel enough to feel emmotional and still have enough words left to have a setting and make something happen? I think that expectation is a little high. Either that or you lack humanity. I don't have to know someone to feel bad for them if I see them in trouble. I can empathise. Yet these "horrors heaped upon them" evokes nothing from you....



EDITOR 3: No. This comes across as contrived horror and I started skimming about halfway through.


For crap's sake its 500 words! Is your attention span that short? I do more reading off of billboards! I'll try to include more naked chicks and explosions next time...



EDITOR 4: No. This didn’t interest me.


Finally a fair statement! I can't argue with that. That's all I'd need to know. But your drama lama ding dong co-editors have me all rialed up!


They ended with "I hope you will consider us again in the future". Are they serious? Just be honest...You're editors had absolutly nothing positive or encouraging to say, so why would they "hope" to read more or for me to submit again. In following, having nothing positive whatsoever to say doesn't make me feel encouraged to resubmit.

The whole letter could have been summed up with "Your subject matter and style do not fit with our publication. Your submission didn't interest us." That wouldn't have offended me at all. I get those and deal fine.

William Haskins
04-07-2005, 07:41 AM
well, good vent, i reckon. i tend to swallow my anger and let it fester, but hey that's me.

it could be worse. once, several weeks after i had submitted a story to an editor over 1000 miles away, i sat down in front of the tv with some barbequed roadkill and a plastic cup of off-brand cola. then the doorbell rang.

i wiped my greasy fingers on the wallpaper and went to the door. there stood a bookish little man, his little ratface screwed up into a mask of rage and disgust. he said he was the above-referenced editor, and that he felt compelled by his sheer hatred for my story to drive through the night to deliver my rejection in person.

he then proceeded to kick me in the balls and piss all over my carpet.

hapsburg
04-07-2005, 07:46 AM
he then proceeded to kick me in the balls and piss all over my carpet. rotflmao

mdin
04-07-2005, 09:56 AM
I think I know what magazine this was for. Did you have to go online and log into the magazine's website to see the comments?

Galoot
04-07-2005, 10:04 AM
I'm not arguing, but I'd prefer the feedback to a simple "no." I'd probably be just as ticked, though. Is it something you can fire off toward a different market?

Jeff
04-07-2005, 12:03 PM
well, good vent, i reckon. i tend to swallow my anger and let it fester, but hey that's me.

it could be worse. once, several weeks after i had submitted a story to an editor over 1000 miles away, i sat down in front of the tv with some barbequed roadkill and a plastic cup of off-brand cola. then the doorbell rang.

i wiped my greasy fingers on the wallpaper and went to the door. there stood a bookish little man, his little ratface screwed up into a mask of rage and disgust. he said he was the above-referenced editor, and that he felt compelled by his sheer hatred for my story to drive through the night to deliver my rejection in person.

he then proceeded to kick me in the balls and piss all over my carpet.

That happened to you too, huh?

JennaGlatzer
04-07-2005, 02:03 PM
I have to ditto Galoot here. Anytime an editor responds with personalized comments, I consider it a present-- even if those comments aren't nice. You can disagree with the comments, of course, but take a couple of days away from it and read them again later. Sometimes it really does help to get some harsh feedback; you might find just one thing in there that you can use to strengthen the piece-- like maybe giving the reader a succinct reason to care about a character early on. Even with 500 words, you need to do that (which I'm sure you know). Hearing about something bad that happened to "some guy on the subway" is one thing; hearing about something bad that happened to the guy on the subway who was on his way to meet his pregnant wife in the delivery room is something else.

I'm coming at this from being on both sides of the desk, though-- as an editor, I always tried to give honest answers as to why I was rejecting something, until one too many writers wrote back nasty little notes or comments about how I must have failed to see their brilliance, and I gave up and mostly sent form letters after that. Always thought that was sad, because some of them might have benefitted from knowing just why I didn't like a query/article.

KTC
04-07-2005, 02:53 PM
I agree Jenna. I always prefer comments to a simple rejection. I understand what goes through your head though, as you receive the comments. I opened one the other day that had quite a few comments. At first I felt like I had been slapped in the face, but then realized it was more like a kick to the stomach. Then I put it down and got on with my day. Later that night I read the comments again and thought, "Hmph. They actually make sense." I had been flip-flopping on my tenses on purpose to demonstrate the narrator's state of mind...I had some suggestions made on this decision and NOW I have to agree totally with the editor who took the time to explain fully the good and the bad of the piece. In the long run I think personal comments on the piece you submit can only make you a better writer in the end.

Sassenach
04-07-2005, 06:33 PM
Hapsburg...I urge you to develop a thicker skin. If you think this editor's response was harsh, you've got a world of trouble ahead.

Sheryl Nantus
04-07-2005, 07:29 PM
I had one piece rejected with the note "I'm not really into houses" - the story dealt with a mysterious house, you see...

needless to say, it was an "interesting" rejection.

:ROFL:

rich
04-07-2005, 08:27 PM
This was from the Deputy Editor of Field & Stream, Dave Petzal:

Dear Mr. Marino:

I'm sorry to have to return "The Long Walk." Five of us read it and no one understood it. I wish I could be more enlightening than that, but that's how it went.





Since then--some eight years ago--he's been my favorite editor. Go figure.

Hmmm, forgot about Jenna--since then he's been my favorite male editor.

dragonjax
04-07-2005, 09:54 PM
I think it just goes to show that editors are individuals, and just because one person doesn't understand a story doesn't mean the story isn't clear. (Now, if all the feedback returned with "didn't understand," that's different.)

And actually...don't hate me, but I think Editor 2 and Editor 3 are saying the same thing. A lack of emotional connection could be an indicator of "contrived horror." That is, because the editors have seen that type of story before, they didn't feel one way or another about the characters. And hapsburg, I think you'd agree that even in flash fiction, the reader has to be invested in the piece enough to want to read it, right?

But hey, this is, ultimately, one rejection. Maybe your piece simply didn't work for this mag because maybe they get tons of flash pieces all in the same vein as yours..so unfortunately, yours didn't stand out. Try again at a different mag (have you tried ChiZine?), and best of luck.

((passing the virtual chocolate))

rich
04-07-2005, 10:15 PM
Yeah, but it sounded to me like those "editors" were at the tail end of puberty with nothing to do but display what people normally do when they're at the tail end of puberty.

SRHowen
04-08-2005, 03:45 AM
Back a couple of years I was submitting a novel--the same novel Andy Zack now reps. But then it had a different first chapter, and a few different sub plots.

Agent One: No thanks--after one chapter I found myself saying why read on?

Needless to say I wanted to scream at them.

Agent Two: Not for me. the story doesn't seem based in reality.

Hell, it's fantasy, it's fiction--they want based on reality?

Agent Three: Scrawled note: This crap doesn't sell anymore.

Oh gee, thanks.

Agent Four: Nope, the reader has no reason to continue the story.

OK

At first I was angry. Three of these agents had asked for the complete ms, and sounded very very enthused. I read their comments again and again and again. Then I sent the first chapter to a friend. She read it.

She said, Shawn, by the end of chapter one you know what the end is going to be -- so why would the reader want to read on?

Ahhhhh---several rewrites alter it was a much better book and found representation.

So even if the rejections seem mean spirited, and off base sometimes there is a grain of truth in there that needs to be found.

Shawn

William Haskins
04-08-2005, 03:51 AM
silence is the only real rejection; anything else i can live with.

alanna
04-08-2005, 04:02 AM
silence is the only real rejection; anything else i can live with.

:Hail: speak on grand giver of the "every writer needs to hear" advice. speak on! :)

and hapsburg, i'm sorry your rejection felt so brutal. venting here is much better than venting to the editor, so cudos! :)

hapsburg
04-08-2005, 04:50 AM
Blah

I'm over it now. Got it out of my system by posting the vent.

I guess I really get frustrated when I feel like they completely misunderstood what I was saying. Very often, their wording just sucks. In SRHowens rejection for instance, why does he have to say "crap"? Wouldn't a more neutral noun have been just as effective in getting his point out? It's esp frustrating if they've asked me to submit, they don't pay anything and all I stand to gain is exposure on their site, then they rip me apart. (and to be honest, if its a small non paying market they aren't getting my best work despite their guidline "we only want the best work from established authors". If that's what they want than they should either pay for it or become one of the best magazines; arrogant as it sounds that's my opinion) Feedback is great, when and if it comes, but there's a difference between constructive criticism and broad insults. One is useful to the author, the other is merely discouraging.

Add professionalism to the mix. We always (or should) send a business format formal cover letter and follow their guidlines. They respond with hand scrawled notes of "this crap doesn't sell anymore". I prefer the neutrality of professionalism myself: "Dear author, sorry, not for us, unmarketable".

AND...I think it's ironic that as writers, we are supposed to be thick skinned, but in our writing we're supposed to evoke emmotion. I think, in honest introspection, I do internally take rejections personally (to varied degrees), I just don't act on them personally.

Vipersniper
04-08-2005, 05:19 AM
:Soapbox: There are good comments and bad ones. I had a fellow poet/writer that was very upset over some rude remarks one editor had made to her. Apparently he had accepted her work and then looked up on the internet and found where she had written on another site that claimed exlcusive rights. He decided that her writing was not worth what rhymes with rap and said so. It was very harsh but I told her hey don't give up on writing because of that. I think it is the measure of any good writer to receive a reject and that even Steven King got them. He just kept on writing. I think the funniest and nastiest one was from a sixteen year old that only knew words that came out of a gutter. I guess the fact that I wrote a poem about a sixteen year old boy that pulled a knife on him left him clueless. Something about the bulge in my pocket was not a knife but a gun. Some sixteen year olds are very talented and I can't wait to see how they will develop as they grow older. But actually when you are forty years older than them it does amuse you when the only thing they say rhymes with truck or rap, along with miss and yo mama stories. Think of this as I wrote the measure of any real writer is to receive at least four or five rejections before writing one that is accepted. Now that could be hundred or single digit figures.

Sheryl Nantus
04-08-2005, 05:36 AM
"Apparently he had accepted her work and then looked up on the internet and found where she had written on another site that claimed exlcusive rights."

maybe it's the way you're telling it, but I think the editor was more upset that he thought he was purchasing an original poem and not a reprint - that's really not the same as determining the quality of a poem or story. I can see why he'd be upset and react negatively to the rest of her work under those circumstances.

if your friend sold a reprint and misrepresented it as an original piece then that's a whole different problem and discussion.

jmo - ymmv.

dragonjax
04-08-2005, 07:04 AM
AND...I think it's ironic that as writers, we are supposed to be thick skinned, but in our writing we're supposed to evoke emmotion.

:roll:

And this, my dear hapsburg, is why some writers drink like fish.

:Cheers:

Jamesaritchie
04-08-2005, 10:04 AM
I get rejected all the time, but this one actually made me want to respond with something acerbic. Got the standard reject from a flash mag, then it was followed with the editors' comments. I'm going to respond to those comments because, if I don't vent, I'll embarrass myself in an acerbic email reply to them.



Then try reading it without moving your lips. I'm subtle but not obscure. It was 500 words long with a simple plot and a simple moral.



Well, I'm glad you at least understand it. Maybe you should explain it to editor 1, it makes no sense to him. "All the horrors"? It was 500 words, only one thing happened. Not emmotional enough? It's 500 word flash fic, that's only enough room for a single simple scene. How are you supposed to get to know a character wel enough to feel emmotional and still have enough words left to have a setting and make something happen? I think that expectation is a little high. Either that or you lack humanity. I don't have to know someone to feel bad for them if I see them in trouble. I can empathise. Yet these "horrors heaped upon them" evokes nothing from you....



For crap's sake its 500 words! Is your attention span that short? I do more reading off of billboards! I'll try to include more naked chicks and explosions next time...



Finally a fair statement! I can't argue with that. That's all I'd need to know. But your drama lama ding dong co-editors have me all rialed up!


They ended with "I hope you will consider us again in the future". Are they serious? Just be honest...You're editors had absolutly nothing positive or encouraging to say, so why would they "hope" to read more or for me to submit again. In following, having nothing positive whatsoever to say doesn't make me feel encouraged to resubmit.

The whole letter could have been summed up with "Your subject matter and style do not fit with our publication. Your submission didn't interest us." That wouldn't have offended me at all. I get those and deal fine.

I don't see your problem with any of these comments. If nothing else, these are honest comments, and just the kind wise writers use to improve their writing.

It may seem to have a simple plot and moral to you, but this in no way means it will read the same to other. You know what you meant to say. This doesn't mean a read will know what you meant to say.

Skimming a 500 word story does not mean a short attention span, it means exactly the same thing as skimming a 500,000 word story. It means most of those 500 words were not interesting enough to read.

When a reader, editor or not, doesn't understand your writing, or when he skims it, that's your fault, not his.

And the response from editor two probably meant he skimmed it, as well. That's why he wrote "all the horrors" when there was only one. One horror can seem like a hundred when your eyes glaze over and you start skimming.

All these editors are really saying the same thing in different ways.
Five hundred words is more than enough space to let the reader know the characters, and to evoke high emotional attachements and responses. I don't care how short s story is, if the reader doesn't form an attachemernt to the characters, if he doesn't care about them, you've failed in the writing. This editor probably made the most meaningful and useful comment of all.

And in a way, this reminds me of a story a pro writer used to tell about when he was starting out. He wrote a twenty page story and sent it to an editor. The editor made several negative comments, including saying it was too long.

The writer rewrote it according to the editor's comments, but the new draft was one hundred pages instead of twenty. The editor read it again and said, "It still isn't very good, but at least it's shorter."

Very true. A one hundred decent story is always shorter than a twenty page bad story.

A five hundred word story that doesn't hold your interest, that doesn't let you know and grow attached to the characters, that evokes no emotional response, can read like War and Peace on steroids, and skimming is the only way to get through it.

Writing short doesn't mean you get a break on what a story must do to be successful, it just means you have to do everything in fewer words.

Listen to these editors. They didn't take time to comment because they think you're hopeless. They made these comments because they thought you might like to know what they thought, and so you might do a little better next time around.

Patricia
04-08-2005, 03:48 PM
silence is the only real rejection; anything else i can live with.


I agree -- An editors sole purpose, in my opinion, is to improve my craft. In addition, to do that, the person must be totally objective and truthful.

I have found that allowing for the margin of error on their part, they will still give me input in some area that I definitely need improvement.

arkady
04-08-2005, 04:53 PM
Add professionalism to the mix. We always (or should) send a business format formal cover letter and follow their guidlines. They respond with hand scrawled notes of "this crap doesn't sell anymore". I prefer the neutrality of professionalism myself: "Dear author, sorry, not for us, unmarketable".

You get hand-scrawled notes? Wow. I have yet to see anything except form rejection slips -- or no reply at all.


AND...I think it's ironic that as writers, we are supposed to be thick skinned, but in our writing we're supposed to evoke emotion.

Well said.

DeadlyAccurate
04-08-2005, 09:21 PM
AND...I think it's ironic that as writers, we are supposed to be thick skinned, but in our writing we're supposed to evoke emotion.

I think the worse problem is that we tend to get so thick-skinned that we forget others haven't had the practice.

"So what did you think of my short story?" asks a friend who doesn't want to be a serious writer.

"Well, your dialog is stilted, and I didn't understand the ending. It was vague. Some of your sentences don't read smoothly. Try reading it out loud."

Now ex-friend: <waaa>

priceless1
04-08-2005, 10:06 PM
I have to ditto Galoot here. Anytime an editor responds with personalized comments, I consider it a present-- even if those comments aren't nice...


Writing is a tough, harsh business because a writer has stuck their big toe out there for the world to scrutinize. It's scary because, for the first time, the writer is working without a net. If someone comes unglued at critiques and screams at those who rejected them, then perhaps it's wise to re-evaluate whether they have what it takes.

My rejection letters have never been cruel, but they are honest. There's a big difference. For my trouble, I've been called an idiot, an imbecile, blind, a nitwit, and just lately, my all time favorite, a degenerate. How on earth that fits is beyond me.

What's sad is that these people totally missed the boat. This isn't personal on my part; it's business. They took my critiques personally and, in doing so, crossed the line of good behavior. A lot of time goes into my comments. To have someone's spleen explode on me is the height of unprofessionalism, in my opinion. If an author acts in this manner at the submission game, then I shudder at their reaction to a bad PW review, or to their editor during rewrites.

It's easy to view the publisher as the bad guy, or the dolt, and sometimes it's warranted. But where someone has taken time out of their day to help a writer, I fail to see how this attitude is helpful to their ultimate career. Just my two trouble-making cents.

DeadlyAccurate
04-08-2005, 10:36 PM
My rejection letters have never been cruel, but they are honest. There's a big difference. For my trouble, I've been called an idiot, an imbecile, blind, a nitwit, and just lately, my all time favorite, a degenerate. How on earth that fits is beyond me.

I'll never understand that. I would never insult an editor or agent for a rejection, even if I wanted to. What in the world could that get me? What happens in the future when I want to try again? It's not like they're going to say, "Oh, yeah, I remember her. She called me some very rude names. Well, let's see if I want to represent her work now, since I was surely mistaken then." Burning your bridges just doesn't seem like a very smart business decision.

Anaparenna
04-09-2005, 05:16 AM
For my trouble, I've been called an idiot, an imbecile, blind, a nitwit, and just lately, my all time favorite, a degenerate. How on earth that fits is beyond me.

IMO, it's an "I don't need to be taught by you," defense reaction to rejection. The act of sending something out, not for critique, but for actual judgment of a sort, is a real nailbiter. It's much easier to envision one of two scenarios: a) a check in the envelope, or b) a profound thanks for submitting, but simply no.

When editors take the time to add helpful comments, they run the risk of encountering people for whom submitting has yet to become a business, and remains an emotional process. They've gotten that ms into tip-top shape, and probably run it through a workshop or critique group already, thus the "I don't need to be taught by you" reaction. Which is really more frustration because this rejection feels like the end of the line for something they've (we've) worked so hard on, only to apparently come to nothing. That's why it's so important to have your next market in mind for the piece, and to not let the rejection fester before sending it back out. (Or, conversely, trying your best to see where the editor's comments are coming from and re-considering the piece.)

Eventually, you learn to suck it up. Somewhere along the way, it just gets easier. I don't know how. It just does. :)

SRHowen
04-09-2005, 04:25 PM
For my part I donít look too closely at rejections unless they address something "personal" in the story. Good luck with another agent is just a line, used often, like I wish you luck placing this elsewhere and so on. Much like the oft said How are you today when you see someone you recognize. Do you really want them to turn around and say, Oh, not too well, I have hemorrhoids that are killing me. No, the social response to how are you is Fine thank you even if you have just been told you have 10 days to live.

Some editors and agents respond with the equivalent of social graces, others donít. If you try to read things into rejections you will drive yourself crazy. With the ones that lack social graces, say JERK to yourself and move on.

With the ones who provide a handwritten note--those are different, unless of course they are a the scrawled no on your query letter. But unless stated clearly they are not an invitation to resubmit to them. If they do invite you to resubmit then do so with a reminder that they invited you to resubmit.

Also do this:

Prepare several more query letters, have them placed in envelopes and ready to send out. I did 10, some people only prepare two at a time (if they feel their query isnít working this gives them a chance to fix it before they send out the next. As soon as you get a reply in your SASE donít even open it-put the next query in the mail box. Then open the letter.

That way you canít sit and stew too badly, and stop right there--the next letter is already out there.

And remember, a rejection is not personal, it is only a rejection of the work not of you.

Shawn

(JamesR I sent you a messege--about that word frequency count program)

Julianne
04-09-2005, 09:28 PM
I had one editor (who rejected the story I submitted) say that he thought the story had good moments, but that, overall, the characters felt flat.

I e-mailed him a brief "thank you for the feedback." (It was an electronic submission and rejection.) I made sure to put the "thank you" part of it in the subject line :) so I hope he actually opened the e-mail and read it. I really did appreciate the comments.


And upon further reading of the story - I thought he was right. So I revised it and have submitted it to another market. Still waiting to hear back....

dragonjax
04-10-2005, 03:33 PM
Writing is a tough, harsh business because a writer has stuck their big toe out there for the world to scrutinize. It's scary because, for the first time, the writer is working without a net. If someone comes unglued at critiques and screams at those who rejected them, then perhaps it's wise to re-evaluate whether they have what it takes.

My rejection letters have never been cruel, but they are honest. There's a big difference. For my trouble, I've been called an idiot, an imbecile, blind, a nitwit, and just lately, my all time favorite, a degenerate. How on earth that fits is beyond me.

What's sad is that these people totally missed the boat. This isn't personal on my part; it's business. They took my critiques personally and, in doing so, crossed the line of good behavior. A lot of time goes into my comments. To have someone's spleen explode on me is the height of unprofessionalism, in my opinion. If an author acts in this manner at the submission game, then I shudder at their reaction to a bad PW review, or to their editor during rewrites.

It's easy to view the publisher as the bad guy, or the dolt, and sometimes it's warranted. But where someone has taken time out of their day to help a writer, I fail to see how this attitude is helpful to their ultimate career. Just my two trouble-making cents.

What some writers just don't get is that it's NOT personal. It's their work that is being rejected, not them as people.

But writers should also remember that sage advice of J.R.R. Tolkien, somewhat modified here:

"Do not meddle in the affairs of editors. For their ways are subtle, and quick to anger."

;)

hapsburg
04-10-2005, 11:38 PM
To those concerned For the record:


I did not write this, nor have I ever written anything like this and sent it to these or any editors. I behave professionally in my correspondance, and in conversation. This was merely a rant in response to a recent rejection that rubbed me the wrong way. I am over it now and didn't mean to offend anyone.

This is not my first rejection, nor is rejection something that is new to me. Sometimes I take an editor's advice, sometimes I do not. I refuse to believe that every editor will have the same opinions or that their assessment of my work will be the same as everyone elses, so therefore take each piece of advice with a grain of salt. I've never received the same feedback from separate editors (2 dif pubs), if I did I would take their criticism more seriously. An editor's advice will only change what and how I submit to them.

Nonetheless, I do get frustrated occassionally with the business aspects of writing, from points mentioned in my previous posts, and this little vent helped me alleviate those frustrations.

zeprosnepsid
04-11-2005, 12:46 AM
I approve of venting haps! Sometimes it really helps to get it out. It's like cleansing to just get it out. Holding it in is what's unhealthy.

William Haskins
04-11-2005, 01:09 AM
nothing wrong with a good vent. don't feel bad about it, for damn sure.

at the end of the day, editors are not a homogenous group; they're, as a whole, neither saints nor scumbags. just individuals who might be one or the other, or possibly just people with the same stresses, deadlines and prejudices as the rest of us.

i just think the expectation of civility sort of sets you up for disappointment. personally, i expect everyone to behave like a beast, allowing myself to be pleasantly surpirsed when they don't.

now, where's that AWI entry?

dragonjax
04-11-2005, 05:03 AM
Vent!

Say, wasn't that an off-Broadway muscial?

"How're we gonna say...
"How're we gonna say...
"How're we gonna say our vent?"

:thankyou:

Actually...

:scared:

Yeah, that was pretty bad.

:poke:

This is why I can't quit my day job, folks. I just ain't that funny.

reph
04-11-2005, 09:44 AM
I agree -- An editors sole purpose, in my opinion, is to improve my craft.
Huh? Maybe you meant the usefulness of an editor's feedback, for a writer, is that it may improve his or her craft? Because the editor's purpose, the editor's job, is to serve the publication, which means serving its readers.

Ralyks
04-11-2005, 05:47 PM
I'm coming at this from being on both sides of the desk, though-- as an editor, I always tried to give honest answers as to why I was rejecting something, until one too many writers wrote back nasty little notes or comments about how I must have failed to see their brilliance, and I gave up and mostly sent form letters after that. Always thought that was sad, because some of them might have benefitted from knowing just why I didn't like a query/article.

This is why I have resorted to form letters. I used to take the time to comment on every rejection. I still write the occasional comment, but I have been driven to the form letter response for most submissions. Once I wrote simply that I tend to favor traditional forms and rarely publish avant garde poetry. (Hey, that's my market. I say so in the guidelines.) The response I received was "good luck with your pathetic Hallmark greeting card magazine." (I publish a lot of nuanced work; it's hardly greeting card stuffóit just has meter and/or rhythm, but he'd never seen an issue.)


Now, I usually only comment on rejections that are near misses. I say what I liked about the work and then conclude, "I have other works on hold that I prefer." There's not much insulting about that line.


When I do write negative comments, I try to phrase them in as nice a way as possible, and I try to say one positive thing about the work. But it is also my personality to desire not to offend people. Some editors enjoy putting others down, but that is rare, I think. Usually, they are just trying to be helpful. I myself have yet to receive a rude rejection from an editor, but I've received plenty of rude responses from writers (most recently, from a writer whose work I accepted!).

eldragon
04-23-2005, 08:02 PM
Here's one we got on a short story recently:

""""""""Thanks for the submission. Unfortunately, it wasn't for us. Just a
couple notes re: the text.

1) "$10,000 American dollars" is redundant. "$" means dollars, so
writing "dollars" out is unnecessary. You do this a couple times.

2) I feel you over-used the exclamation points. This is a very short
piece and you used at least twenty. I'd recommend reading Mark Twain's
somewhat amusing notes on style. They can be found in LETTERS FROM THE
EARTH, and probably several other books as well. You can also probably
find them online.

3) "'It's most urgent!' He said in broken French." This is
distracting. This is not -- or should not be, in any case -- two
sentences. It should be "'It's most urgent!' he said in broken
French." Or, better yet, "'It's most urgent,' he said in broken
French."

4) "most of who raped" should be "most of whom."

5) I don't think you earned your ending. The story is too big for the
length you're trying to squeeze it into. We get very little sense of
character, hardly a better -- but indeed, it is better -- sense of
place. And the story is not given its proper context. The ending is
nice, but, as I said, in my opinion, unearned.

In any case, best of luck to you.

________


1) - TRUE.
2) - True.
3) - true.
4) - true? not sure.
5) - perhaps.


This story was only 2 pages long.

Maryn
04-24-2005, 01:02 AM
4) True if the next word/concept is a noun ("...most of whom raped Agnes and her sister")

This editor was telling you that your inattention to the details of correct grammar was bad enough to disturb him or her. It probably wasn't what got the rejection--I suspect that was 5)--but the number of errors contained in such a short piece was unacceptable and marked your manuscript as unprofessional. This probably stings, but if you learn from it and make sure the next thing you submit anywhere is error-free, you'll owe the editor some thanks.

Maybe next time you should seek grammar input specifically at Share Your Work before submitting. There are lots of people here who know this stuff backward and forward and would be glad to help on such a short piece, not only telling you what corrections need to be made (if any), but why, so you might never make that particular goof again.

Maryn, who only knows it backwards

eldragon
04-24-2005, 05:58 AM
Well, it makes me feel even worse to think that the story was free. It was a non-paying market.