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.”

 

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3 thoughts on “When a Form Rejection is Better…

  1. Ex Libris Regina says:

    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. Artemis Savory says:

    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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