Monday, July 28, 2014

It isn't personal. But it always feels that way, right?

Apparently Clarkesworld magazine is just too good at reading through their slushpile. This week they said, both on Facebook and Twitter, that the pile was running low. I happened to have a story I'd considered sending them anyway, so polished it (again) and sent it along. My rejection came on the same day! Exciting to get eyes on my work so quickly. Not exciting to have such a fast form 'no'. Clarkesworld stories are lovely and well written. I haven't yet seen a Clarkesworld story which made me think "this is crap I don't want to read".

The Submission Grinder has been fun to play with, and really encourages me to submit. It's terribly useful to have all of those venues listed there, and searchable, either by magazine name or by other criterion you have in mind. I get a list of professional paying markets which accept fantasy short stories with just a couple of clicks, and they even list story style, from "absurdist" to "transgressive".


Rejection is one of those things you get very wrapped up with as a writer. Even with a form rejection, we seek meaning in every nuance. How fast, how slow. I got what seemed to be a form rejection lately, but at the end, they said "sorry it took so long" (paraphrased). Does that mean I got far in the consideration? No idea. Maybe all the forms say that, it's my first rejection from this place. I have gotten a couple of personalized rejections in my life; one of them was from One Story recently, which made me happy with my story and eager to seek another home for it.

Because that's what you need to do when you get rejected. Read the story again, polish it some more, and submit it again. The people rejecting your story are rejecting the story, not you as a person. Your story wasn't what they needed in that moment at time, or didn't have the flavor they look for overall. That's cool. One day, it'll be "yes".





4 comments:

  1. I was thrilled when I got my first personalised rejection — I'd been imagining people reading one line and then moving on, so it was a relief to discover that some of my stories were being read all the way through!

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    1. Yes, it really is! Both of the personalized rejections I've had (YEARS in between) gave nice insight on the story (or at least proved they were, in fact, read to completion).

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  2. It always stings to get any sort of rejection and/or criticism, and I've been known to take the rest of a day to stew about it. Being able to take a deep breath and reevaluate and keep going is difficult, but if writing were easy, everyone would do it!

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    1. Oh yes, it can be very hard sometimes! It's how they separate the wheat from the chaff, to be sure.

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