So, as I’ve mentioned in several posts, I’ve been submitting tons of work to different literary magazines, contests, and scholarship opportunities as part of my 5-in-28 goal [see, Who, me? for more info] and to try and get more established in the writing industry.
As can be expected, I’ve gotten a lot of rejection. More often then not, it’s a very impersonal, templated email that says something along the lines of, “Thank you for your submission. Unfortunately, it’s not what we’re looking for at this time. Buh-bye.”
I’ve gotten used to them by now, not taking it personally and resubmitting that particular story/poem to other contests and moving on.
However, I got a rejection letter this morning that I had to double-take on. The editor actually gave me feedback on my story. He let me know where there were weaknesses in the protagonist and storyline; he even suggested ways I could fix it. WHOA.
Here is the letter he sent me:
Thank you for submitting to Downer and trusting us with your work. We have
reviewed your piece and unfortunately, we are going to pass on this one.
With this one, I think the stakes were low to end in suicide. If there
were a pregnancy or money or something to up the stakes, I think it would
work better. We didn’t really see anything to root for in your
protagonist, so the suicide didn’t really mean anything.
Hope this helps, but these are just my opinions of course.
Thanks for letting us take a look and good luck with this one.
I was so floored by this that I had to email him back to thank him. I do not think people realize how much constructive criticism like this HELPS me. I become so entrenched in my story – so close – that sometimes I am unable to see glaring issues that only an outside perspective can give.
The Editor responded to me and said he’d love for me to resubmit the piece once I’ve rewritten it, as he saw a lot of potential in the piece.
Man, this just absolutely made my day! For the first time in my professional career, I am grateful for a rejection!
Time to rewrite,
– Victoria Elizabeth Ann