Rejection, never bittersweet

So I had another rejection letter this weekend and the best and worst thing about it was the obvious thought that the magazine editor had put into it. Instead of the standard slip of fail, I had a letter with the first two paragraphs saying quite nice things but also helpfully pointing out exactly what it was about the short story that didn’t work for her. There was even a brief handwritten PS with a further suggestion.

This took the sting out of the general disappointment and, even though there was that little voice inside of me churlishly say ‘but you just don’t get it’, made me want to redraft it and see how the story looked her way.

Being told you just don’t cut it it never going to be awesome, but if all editors had the time and patience and general good will as well as obvious dedication to the written word as this one seems to I probably wouldn’t mind being told it quite so much.

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8 responses to “Rejection, never bittersweet

  1. I’ve collected at least 1500 rejection notes in my career and the personalized response you received was rare…and refreshingly humane compared to the way editors USUALLY treat writers. In the writing biz, as I’m sure you’ve heard before, talent isn’t everything, perseverance will carry you farther. Keep the faith and for God’s sake, KEEP WRITING…

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  2. Thanks Cliff, your encouragement means a lot too!

    Blooming eck, 1500 slips equal an awful lot of paper. Did you keep them all? I tell myself that if I ever become successfull enough to get away with it I’m going to wallpaper my bathroom with a collage of rejectionslips.

    Cheers šŸ™‚

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  3. Hi Lynsey – keep trying!

    I’ve never written fiction – which is what is sounds like you’re doing – but I’ve had plenty of rejections to my various non-fiction articles, and even worse, sometimes no reply at all.

    As cliff says – it’s unsual to get such a nice rejection letter!

    My tips would be:
    -target the right publications
    -keep getting feedback from anyone who will read your story
    -keep improving and redrafting

    If you keep at it, you’ll get there.

    Sam B (formely of BMM).

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  4. Hi Sam!

    How’s it going? Doing pretty well for yourself these days yes? And enjoying life sans bmm I trust?

    You’re right, deep down it’s all about the fiction for me. I’m lucky to know some great folks for feedback and crits, I don’t know what I did before them.

    Do you get people to feedback on articles before submitting them too?

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  5. Pingback: Rotten Rejections « Lynsey May’s ranting in writing

  6. Hi Lynsey,

    Yes- things are going well what with the day job (writing most of the content for this site: http://news.skyscanner.net/ ) and the freelance stuff, I’m pretty busy.

    I don’t get people to read my articles (too short to bother with and the editor will make any changes they want) – but I’m currently working on a bigger project, for which I have been recruiting critics!

    If that ever comes to fruition – I’ll let you know.

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    • awesome, glad things are going well. For sure, give me a shout if you ever need any help reading something over – or reading and pushing it once it’s published šŸ™‚

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