When a Form Rejection is Better…

I often find myself cringing at form rejections, wishing that editors would give just a snippet of insight into why they rejected my story. Today, I found myself wishing for a form rejection.

Nearly a year ago, I wrote a story titled “George and the Fatal Mistake” merging George Lucas’ sale of the Star Wars franchise to Disney with a cross-road/deal with the devil trope. I sent to a few speculative publications, but quickly realized it was too close to fan fiction for their taste. I sent to a few celebrity and pop-culture themed calls for submissions, but also got rejections. After more rejections from humor zines, I was thinking it just didn’t belong in a lit mag, but saw an interesting anthology and thought, “I’ll try one more time.”

That was first of my big mistakes.

The second was that I didn’t reread the story to make sure it was the most up to date, error free draft. I wasn’t confident it was even a fit for theme. It was late. I didn’t think it was worth the effort.

The result: The rudest and most detailed rejection letter I’ve ever received that not only criticized my editing and writing skills, but put me down as a teacher as well. This editor even went as far as telling me that she couldn’t imagine anyone anthology editor would publish my writing.

For the first time since I started submitting stories, I actually wish the editor had just sent me a form rejection, and while I normally don’t let an angry editor deter me from submitting a story elsewhere, but I knew even before I sent this one out that it was the type of thing that belonged on my blog, not someone’s zine or anthology.

Later today, after I finish fixing all the grammatical errors than angered this editor (and a few she didn’t comment on), I will post it on my blog, and readers who don’t know anything about Star Wars can ignore it, and those who will appreciate it can read it.

Next time I get a form rejection, I will think of this angry editor, and be happy with “thank you for submitting, but this just isn’t what we are looking for.”

 

3 thoughts on “When a Form Rejection is Better…

  1. Ouch! That stings, but sometimes those types of rejections can be the most instructive, if only to help you develop a stronger skin. Don’t let it discourage you. From what I’ve read of your posts, you have an honest voice. Keep working on it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s awful! As you already know, though, other editors DO publish your writing. Remember that the editor was probably just having an awful day and move on. Also, you and I REALLY ought to write a story together–with your plot-building skills, and my character obsession, we could move the earth!

    Liked by 1 person

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