Author Topic: Rejection, Rejection, Rejection.  (Read 5635 times)

Shane Ward

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Rejection, Rejection, Rejection.
« on: July 18, 2011, 09:56:27 am »
Like all good authors out there I have had my fair share of rejections. So, I thought it would be interesting reading to post all my failures for the world to see. You know, get the truth out and offer hope to everyone that rejection is not the end of the world, and these are what rejections look like.

Enjoy.

Each post represents a story with the rejection letter inside:

Shane

Shane Ward

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The Cataline Downfall
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2011, 10:05:23 am »
The Cataline Downfall

Linger Fiction:
Thank you for your submission!
Unfortunately, our word count limit for short fiction is 5,000.
Please feel free to submit another story that falls within this word count.

Journal of Unlikely Entomology:
Hi Shane,

Thanks for submitting to the Journal of Unlikely Entomology. Unfortunately, we're unable to use your story at this time. Since you expressed interest in receiving feedback, I'll take a minute to make some suggestions.

First, I would recommend reconsidering how you approach the cover letter. The best cover letters are short, impersonal and professional. (These are rules for short story submissions, not novel queries.) Do not summarize  or describe your story. Don't thank your proofreaders. Don't offer to give your work away for free. Just one sentence to give the title and wordcount, and 1-2 sentences of bio and most prominent publications, if any. There is nothing in your cover letter that you can say that positively influence how the editor will judge your work, but the more you say, the more likely you'll negatively influence the editor.

Regarding the story itself - cut the entire first section. It is almost never a good idea to start a story with summary or explanation, and the longer the summary goes on, the more likely you'll lose your reader. Start with action, and as much as possible, use character dialog and action to get across what you want to explain. If you have an entire paragraph of explanation, try to think of a way to reduce that and get the information across in another way. This is not always possible, of course. If you have more than one contiguous paragraph of explanation, you'll probably lose your reader, and you'll almost definitely lose your editor.

Also, 12 pt font, please. That is standard for any market I've ever seen. Standard manuscript format is 12 pt courier or times, double spaced, no extra spaces between paragraphs, 1 inch margins and indent the first line of each paragraph. The more deviations from the guidelines you have, the more strikes against you when it comes to judging your story. If I have to squint to read the story, or reformat it to the correct font size before reading, I'll be annoyed when I start reading. Which is never a good way to get your story accepted.

Best of luck with your rewrites,
The Editors

The Piker Press
Dear Shane,

Thank you very much for letting us see "The Cataline Downfall."  We appreciate your taking the time to send it in for our consideration.  Although it does not suit the needs of the magazine at this time, we wish you luck with placing it elsewhere.

It's plain to see that you love your characters, and have a vision of what Elli-Soma's planet and culture are like. With a story like this, a reader will want to immerse himself in that world. It's very difficult to do that adequately with a short story... you might have better success with a novella or novel-length treatment, using this short story as a kind of outline. Again, best wishes in your future, and keep writing!

Sincerely,

Sand Pilarski

Aoife
Dear Mr Ward,
     I'm going to decline "The Cataline Downfall."  The overall storyline is decent enough.

 The first-person narrative does not help the story at all.  It reads in too many places like a recital of events.  Yes, we do get glimpses of emotional involvement, but it's not enough.  There's a lot of telling, and a couple of information dumps, but not enough showing.  This story would probably be improved by a third-person narrative.

     Phrases like "to make things worse" do not help the text.  Instead of telling us that an event made things worse, just show us that they are worse...to use one show/tell example.

M-Brane SF
Thank you for your submission to M-Brane SF. I regret that I won’t be able to use this story.

Also, I apologize for this generic reply. The volume of submissions to M-Brane SF has reached a level where I can no longer give personal responses on most manuscripts. I work by myself to produce this zine, and I have found that time constraints have required me to omit something from my schedule. Unfortunately that “something” is personal commentary on rejected stories. I can say that in most cases, stories that I do not accept for publication are not bad stories. Quite to the contrary, I turn away a lot of good material for various reasons, most of which are quite subjective. Generally, it is simply because the story didn’t “click” with me somehow.

Chris

Kaleidotrope
Dear Shane,

Thank you for submitting your story, "The Cataline Downfall," to Kaleidotrope. I am afraid I have decided to pass on it at this time. I found the story too heavy on exposition, introducing characters but not really developing them or giving the reader a reason to care about them -- essentially piling on details without fleshing out a compelling world from them. In the end, the story just didn't work for me because of that.

I do hope you will keep us in mind again in the future, however, and thank you again for your submission.

the opinionguy
Shane,

Unfortunately, we cannot accept your story for publication. Really work
on getting into the head of your character. Let the reader feel like
they are that character, what they are thinking and feeling and seeing.
Keep us in mind for any future submissions.

Seth Crossman, editor of the Opinion Guy

BULL SPEC
Shane,

I'm ashamed of how long this response is in coming, but have ultimately decided not to accept "The Cataline Downfall" for publication in Bull Spec -- if indeed you have had the infinite and undeserved (to me) patience to still be waiting on me. I can't really express my disappointment in myself for how I've treated good submissions, simply that I'm disgusted with myself about it and deeply sorry.

Sincerely,

-Sam

PS: for long stories (over 5000 words) things have to just be perfect, as I can only take 2-4 of these per year. Here, the opening exposition fell a little flat for me, coloring my read into the next scenes.

« Last Edit: October 05, 2011, 05:44:07 am by Shane Ward »

Shane Ward

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Re: Rejection, Rejection, Rejection.
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2011, 10:09:17 am »
GhostGlasses

Fallingstarmagazine
Shane,
 
Thank you for sending your stories along and for granting us a little extra time to review it. I gave them all a full read and like the quality of the writing - it's both rich and steady, like a good Guinness. I wasn't able to convince my staff that any of these would work for the next issue, but wanted to write you back personally.

We’ll be reading more new work in September and hope to see more from you then.

Matt McGee, editor

Pill Hill Press
Dear Shane Ward,

Thank you for sending us "GhostGlasses". We have reevaluated our short list and have decided against publishing your story. We hope you are able to place "GhostGlasses" soon.

« Last Edit: July 19, 2011, 11:02:13 am by Shane Ward »

Shane Ward

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Strawberry Vale
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2011, 10:14:03 am »
Strawberry Vale


ideomancer
Thank you for submitting "Strawberry Vale" to Ideomancer.   
Unfortunately, it's not right for us.  I like the ominous implications  of an innocuous strawberry farm; however, the structure of the story didn't quite work for me, and neither did the Orientalism and sexism  displayed in the piece (both through the characters and the text  generally).

Murky Depths
Thank you for allowing us to consider your story, Strawberry Vale. It's an interesting concept with classic horror elements. However, for us, it's a bit too impersonal and doesn't draw us in. We're going to pass and wish you luck with other markets.

necrotictissue
Good afternoon,

I regret to inform you that I won't be moving Strawberry Vale on to final selections.

While the story is generally well-written and the idea behind it interesting if not unique, the form it is presented in does not work for us. The point of view may be omniscient, but the present-tense mixing with future and past tenses lends to confusion and pulls the reader from the story.

I hope you understand that passing on a story is often subjective; what we reject another market may well snap up in a second. We wish you the best of luck with it in future.


Shane Ward

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The Girl Who Wanted To Fly
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2011, 10:18:37 am »
The Girl Who Wanted To Fly.

goldenvisionsmagazine
Shane,
     Not what we are looking for. You've not taken the time to really 'flesh out' your characters. I'm sensing that you are either new to writing, or that you may be a young writer, but you haven't quite got the grasp of story telling at this point. While I think I may have some idea of what you were trying to say here, it just didn't come across clearly. There really wasn't a strong underlying plot, and the dialog was not realistic (IMO)
     If this story is supposed to be about a young person with dreams of being a pilot, then focus on that. Be that character, and let the storyline build around  you. Is the story something that is happening on Earth? Or somewhere else? How did the character arrive at this point? You mention a dream, here and there, but never went anywhere with it. You talked about tossing a broom on the ground and it turned into a fork? Are you writing sci-fi or fantasy? Mixing genre's by adding fantasy to common themes? what was the purpose of the story? Unless you have a clear goal in mind, a story will ramble on (unless it finds itself in the process, which did not happen here)
     I don't know what style of writing you intend to use...but some writers find an outline a good way to keep on track. Either using paper or a white board, you need to have some solid idea of where you want things to go, and how you want to get there. Strong characters are what we look for (this doesn't mean obscene body builders and anime type female characters) but characters built from people you know in your life. Take bits of personality from those you admire, respect and care for, as well as those you may dislike, fear or abhore, in order to make your creations feel more real. Speak out loud when you write, or read back to yourseld, to get a feel for things. Use as many senses as you can to help build the characters you create...sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, and even instinct and superstition, along with any other special traits you want them to have...hope this helps clarify what we are looking for.

resaliens
Shane,
Thanks for your interest in ResAliens. I appreciate your submission, but
will decline. So that you know what didn't work for us, here are some
comments from my submission editors. Of course, these are just opinions and
other editors and readers will disagree, so I wish you well as you seek to
place it elsewhere.
Lyn

>>>
- The plot doesn't excite me. Yes, she has a dream of flying a Trinitron
(and I'm not sure, but wasn't that a TV brand from several years ago?), and
then voila, the solution appears (and from the sound of it, has been there
all along). Needs something standing in the way of her dream (or better,
show the conflict that prevents her from reaching her dream) that she needs
to overcome within the story.

-The dialogue is really stiff and unnatural. Real people don't talk like
the characters in this story. A recommendation I would give is for the
author to get a partner and read the dialogue with them. It should point
out most of the issues...

-When we start reaching the end of the story, it seems like the story
ventures off into a dialogue battle (he speaks, she speaks, repeat), which
really detracts from the story (especially combined with the stiff dialogue
mentioned previously).

>>>
The biggest issue I see here is the majority of this is dialog, starting
off with a very camera pov, but the dialog and actions didn't come
across natural, so the story didn't feel real. There was also a good
sized "As you know, Bob" set of dialog as well.

NOTE: This story is under massive rewrite and the new version will have its own section when done.


Shane Ward

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DreamScape
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2011, 10:28:15 am »
DreamScape

aardwolfpress
too small or big.

aoifeskiss
Mr Ward,

Hope you had a Happy Father's Day!
Thank you for your submission, unfortunately we cannot accept. The story is interesting, but is all tell and no show - which fails to engage the reader. Once the action starts, the sequence seems to be patterned. We believe this story can work, but it would need a different perspective. We do encourage you to continue writing!

Regards and do try us again,

gypsyshadow
Dear Shane,

Thank you for submitting your manuscript to Gypsy Shadow Publishing Company. I find your manuscript does not fit our needs at the current time. We have had a number of very good writers (you among them) send us their works, but we are a very small company and I have chosen the ones I felt I could most easily work on. Please do not hesitate to submit additional manuscripts in the future.

Thanks so much for trusting us with your manuscript – good luck in the future!

We at Gypsy Shadow are honored you entrusted us with your manuscript.

murkydepths
Shane,

Thank you for allowing us to consider your story, Dreamscape. You write well, and it's a good story. At this length, however, we need it to be amazing. We're going to pass on this.

As far as feedback is concerned, I just have one note. I am more likely to be drawn into a tale if it starts in the midst of action rather than with exposition or background. For example, you might have started Dreamscape with Deane waking up in the war zone. Make your readers as puzzled as your character is, and draw them in.

Just an opinion, of course!

Anne

nevermetpress
Shane,

Thank you for your submission, "Dreamscape",  to Stories in the Ether.
After reviewing your work, unfortunately we are not accepting this
story for publication at this time. We appreciate your interest in the
project and would be happy to receive additional submissions from you
in the future.

Best regards,

Jonathan Jacobs

Aurora Wolf Literary Journal
Dear Shane,

Thank you for your submission of "Dreamscape."  For stories that lie outside of our preferred 2,000 - 6,000 word count range, we are looking for something really quite exceptional. We appreciate the opportunity to read your work, but we're going to pass on this one.

Good luck placing this elsewhere, and thanks again for sending it our way.

Best regards,

Linda Manning

papergolemsubs
Too small

fortresspublishinginc
too small or big

twelfthplanetpress
Thank you for your submission. However, I am not currently considering short stories at this point in time.

Swill
Dear Shane,

We regret that we are unable to accept your work for the upcoming issue of Swill. We appreciate the opportunity to read it and encourage you to submit again in the future.

Thank you,

Etopia Press
Dear Mr. Ward,

Thank you for submitting Dreamscape Etopia Press. While there's much to like about the story, it just didn't quite grab me enough to offer a contract. 

I'm sorry I wasn't more enthusiastic about this one, but this is a subjective business and your story may be just what another publisher is looking for. I wish you the best of luck in your writing and in placing the piece elsewhere.

Best regards,

Aeon Press

Hi Shane,

Many thanks for submitting your short story 'Dreamscape' to Albedo One for consideration. Unfortunately, we'll have to pass on it. While I liked aspects of the piece, in the end it didn't engage me enough to make it to the next stage. Try us again with something else.

Sighs! this was one of my best works... Just goes to show...
« Last Edit: August 30, 2011, 08:07:26 pm by Shane Ward »

Shane Ward

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Re: Rejection, Rejection, Rejection.
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2011, 05:54:35 am »
Navigator

Aurora Wolf
Shane,
 
Nothing would please me more than to accept another UK author. However, I'm going to have to pass on "Navigator". The story's long, so that means it has to be perfect to keep the reader hooked.
 
Editorial notes can be brutal, they're not meant to critique a writer's work, they tend to be blunt. And I generally don't pass them on without the editors permission.
 
Normally, the managing editor responds to authors, but she has been called away on an emergency.
 
Please keep us in mind for your work in the future,

jupiter magazine
Dear Shane,

Unfortunately I've decided not to use it. I think there were too many stories in this piece for it to really work as a cohesive whole. You started telling a story about a war, but then if felt like that story was abandoned and a new story ' the mystery of the humans' was started. Sadly I don't feel this story answered any of the questions it started, we don't really learn anything new about the war, does this event with the humans change anything and we don't learn anything about why the humans are so despised. We don't even seem to learn much about the navigator, other than her choice to abandon her people.

There was some good writing in there and some interesting ideas and characters, I just felt that we touched the surface of lots of ideas, but didn't actually explore any of them in detail.

Thanks again for sending the piece.

All the best,

Eirelander Publishing
Shane,
 
Thank you for your submission. However, we cannot offer you a contract for it. 
 
Your story, Navigator, has too much 'telling' and 'information dumps' for us to take it on at this time.  By making your sentences more active and breaking up long bouts of information with real action, you can take care of this issue.
 
Thank you again,


Space Squid
Shane,

I am very sorry, but we are declining your story. Thank you for submitting to Space Squid. Please consider submitting to Space Squid again in the future.

Warrior Wisewoman
Thank you for your submission. Unfortunately, there are issues with it. First, the story actually begins on page 3; the material which precedes that is unnecessary. Second, this story needs a really good editor. The dialogue varies from stilted to slangy, and in places is archaic. It should be consistent. Verb tenses change whimsically. Referents are sometimes obscure, and some writing is a bit garbled. For example, the sentence: "Everyone averted the captain's gaze and worked franticly at there workstations." Only the captain can avert the captain's gave; other people can avoid it. "Franticl" should be spelled "frantically." And "there" should be "their." An editor could solve all these problems.

However, the major issue we have with the story is that, while it takes place in space, the moment the existence and use of the soul is a plot point, the story becomes fantasy, and therefore we are not the appropriate market for it. Therefore, we will have to decline the opportunity to publish it.