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Rejected

It may be bad form to talk openly about rejections, but really, fuck that, it’s such a part of this writing lark. If one submits stories to good quality magazines there are bound to be some rejections. We all know that no writer has a ‘hit’ rate of a hundred percent. I vowed to send work out, and in my own small (fairly timid) way I am. It’s kinda new to me though, so I am still learning markets. 
I have had a really encouraging rejection from an excellent magazine. The editor said he felt I’d have no problem placing the story elsewhere, but that it was more mainstream than the type of work he favours. He praised parts, suggested a change even and made the whole rejection blow an easy one. 
I had a couple of flat form rejects.
I have had a couple of nothings…HOW RUDE!
And I have had a reject that said the work was ‘bitterly clever’ ‘dry, witty, realistic’ ‘nicely crafted’  but concluded that whilst ‘someone who appreciates fine fiction may read on, the average reader might not’.
I keep mulling that over. Fine writing is an insult suggesting purple prose, pretension, florid language etc. I am certain that my writing is not flouncy in that way at all. I was converted by reading Bukowski long ago, I don’t do flowery bollocks, and if I did, how would that then be ‘dry, witty and realistic’?
Ach! I don’t want to sound all sour grapes, but I don’t think I’ll sub to them again as I don’t ‘get’ what they mean. I am more bothered by their rejection than any other I have had, because I can’t make sense of it. It’s not that I thought my piece was ace, it’s that that their message confuses me. 
Anyway I am not going to write for some ‘market’, I’m going to carry on writing my words, for me, and then see if they’ll fit anywhere. I can’t possibly tailor work to anyones individual preferences except my own.
In fact, right now, I’ll borrow a line from a Barenaked Ladies song “I can’t hear a thing, cause I’ve stopped listening, ‘ and I’ll quietly get on.
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7 responses »

  1. What a silly reject. It’s meaningless, and also would you want to be a reader of this magazine (whatever it is)? You’ve just been told you don’t appreciate ‘fine fiction’ if you DO read them, cos they don’t publish ‘fine fiction’.To me, fine fiction means strong, well written ballsy stuff. Like what you write.

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  2. Hey,I’m new in blog-land and read this with interest. I couldn’t agree with you more about not chasing the market. As writers the very thing that defines us is that every story we tell is unique to us and our perspective. To try to alter that (on a regular basis) for the sake of publication seems so wrong. Take heart, stick to your guns and someone who undertands your work will see it potential 🙂

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  3. V, yes, I at first read ‘fine fiction’ as good, but when I looked the definition up it says purple prose et al, which I really really don’t think is true of my writing. Bah!kerry – Absolutely! Nice to see you here, and welcome to blog land, hope to see you again soon.

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  4. Frankly, I just think you’re incredibly brave for putting yourself out there. Braver than I am, certainly.Vanessa is entirely right – why on earth would you want to be featured in a magazine that prides itself on only selecting “non-fine” fiction? One of those rejections that they probably thought was a compliment, and were too smug to realise that they’d simultaneously made themselves look stoopid.

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  5. Hi Chris. To be honest it doesn’t feel brave sending the work out, there’s a nice hopeful feeling about subbing. It’s the blooming responses that require the bravery to read, and I am pretty sulky when it comes to being rejected.Are you getting much in the way of writing done these days? Hope you make time for it.X

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  6. As dear ol’ Buk would say: “what matters most is how you walk through fire”.

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  7. I just got a similar rejection from them,and found their message cryptic, snarky, and unprofessional. I am tempted to write back, but I know it would be a mistake.

    Reply

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