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Thread: Rejection Blues

  1. #61
    Senior Member Hearing Voices ozmosis7's Avatar
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    You seemed to do alright in the competition, even though 1500ish words is rather long flash--I still think it falls into that category to some degree.

  2. #62
    Senior Member Inmate RichardThomas's Avatar
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    that's a great story, craig, don't give up on it yet - and i thought that flash was anything under 1000 words - you can write flash

  3. #63
    Senior Member Hearing Voices ozmosis7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardThomas View Post
    and i thought that flash was anything under 1000 words
    It is. I'm just saying this wasn't too far off from that count and his story won out of 10 others. So without doubt, you can do it Craig.

  4. #64
    Senior Member 2nd Rubber Room Confinement peteOcha's Avatar
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    Yeah, Craig, don't give up just because of that one rejection. Just like ozmosis said, your story for the competition was close to being flash and you won your group! That must mean something!

  5. #65
    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed Craig Wallwork's Avatar
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    Thanks, guys. I think anything under a 1K and I struggle with, which is to say, anything under 1k I will void from now on. Cheers for the support.

  6. #66
    Senior Member Inmate RichardThomas's Avatar
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    please don't, your poetic, layered writing is really perfect for flash, you get a lot on the page in a short period of time, getting flash fiction online where people have short attention spans is a great way to expand your audience - you know i love your work, craig

  7. #67
    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed Craig Wallwork's Avatar
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    You'll have me blushing soon, Mr Thomas.

  8. #68
    Junior Member Visitor blasko66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peteOcha View Post
    That's too bad. I know publishers are getting swamped by submissions but a least a few words explaining the reason for rejection would be nice. Or at least something along the lines of "Good characters, bad dialog. Work on descriptions" or whatever would be nice.
    One of my very first rejections was one that I wish had been a form letter. I submitted a short to a magazine (which I'm pretty sure is defunct now) and I got a hand-written letter telling me that I was basically a talentless waste of space for bothering them. Then it went on to say that I could do X, Y and Z but none of it would help because I was so horrifically bad at writing.
    I figure after that one nothing could ever be as vicious.
    And it is really hard finding a place to submit a novel to without an agent. The last thing I submitted a novel to was Leisure's Fresh Blood contest. Anyone else get rejected from that one?

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by blasko66 View Post
    I got a hand-written letter telling me that I was basically a talentless waste of space for bothering them. Then it went on to say that I could do X, Y and Z but none of it would help because I was so horrifically bad at writing.
    Wow- I hope you held onto that. That's priceless. Funny how you're still writing and getting published and they are defunct.

  10. #70
    Senior Member Hearing Voices ozmosis7's Avatar
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    I once got a rejection telling me I should never write again because it was awful and no one would ever want to read my stuff. That isn't the exact wording, but its the gist of it. I have the actual letter somewhere and it was so brutal I nearly hung up my keyboard right then and there. My wife was the one that told me, "Read it again. Then, read it again. Try to learn something from it. Maybe there is a reason she felt that way." God I love my wife!

  11. #71
    Junior Member Visitor blasko66's Avatar
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    I didn't keep that letter. It was too cruel. Especially for someone with a fragile ego. But I did learn from it in several ways.
    1-Don't send out anything before it's really ready.
    2-Don't expect kindness from anyone. No one's going to hold your hand.
    3-Be nicer to other people. Especially be professional.
    In some ways I think the more personal criticisms clouded my ability to judge my own work for years. Professional criticism I can take but when you start slinging around "you're so awful you should never write again" sentences then you've lost me. Tell me why that is instead of making attacks. If you have the time for an attack then you have the time to make me better. If you can't tell me why I'm so terrible at it then you really don't know why yourself.
    I had a professor in college who was very belittling of me and one of my closest friends (who was also in this 300-level writing course with me) about the fact that we love to write horror. And now we'll both be published. Sadly, my friend told me that I've spent most of my writing life trying to impress this one person who will never give me approval.
    I understand that these magazines and publishers get heaps of submissions and some of them are not good (and others aren't ready) but there's never any reason to make it personal. Just send out a form rejection instead of getting really nasty and down-grading with it. That seems like more work than the submission is worth if it's really bad.
    That being said. . . I find a little comfort and dismay that someone else got one of those nasty letters too.

  12. #72
    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed Craig Wallwork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blasko66 View Post
    One of my very first rejections was one that I wish had been a form letter. I submitted a short to a magazine (which I'm pretty sure is defunct now) and I got a hand-written letter telling me that I was basically a talentless waste of space for bothering them. Then it went on to say that I could do X, Y and Z but none of it would help because I was so horrifically bad at writing.
    I figure after that one nothing could ever be as vicious.
    that's terrible. terrible. Stick it on your spike Blasko and show those half-wits. You too, Ken!

  13. #73
    Senior Member Hearing Voices ozmosis7's Avatar
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    We probably got it from the same editor LOL.

  14. #74
    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed Craig Wallwork's Avatar
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    I don't mind feedback, even if it's not the type you want to hear right after a rejection, but there is balance that needs to be met. And, manners to be upheld. It's just plain rude and callous to throw out that kind of feedback. If the story was that bad (not that i'm saying it was guys) then just send the standard rejection letter. Or, if you're going to the trouble of writing a personal feedback, highlight areas of improvement - give the writer something they can work from, not shoot them down.

  15. #75
    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed mlouisdixon's Avatar
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    I've read some slush that made me want to SCREAM! (sorry about the outburst. I've been under a bit of stress lately) I have wanted to say something to the person who clearly had no clue on what horror fiction is, but I only sent the standard form rejection because what would be the point? If I feel that the person has absolutely no talent, and probably will never have any, why do I need to point that out? I don't have that kind of time anyway. I usually reply to stories when I see promise. If a story is written very well but clearly not for our magazine, I'll tell them that they are very good but not a good fit and I might even suggest a different market. Hell, I'd love to see them published but I just can't justify it in our magazine. If the story is a great idea but not written very well, I'll explain to them where they are failing--as far as I'm concerned. If it's pretty close to what I want but not there, I'll even ask for a rewrite.

    What will usually piss me off, and sometimes scare me, is when it's obvious that the writer believes that horror is all about torture. What can scare me is the thinly veiled torture fantasy that's depicting a revenge against an ex-girlfriend. You wouldn't believe how many of those we see. Please stop torturing and killing off your ex-girlfriends and their new boyfriends and trying to sell it.

    Do you really want to sell your fiction? Then think of something original. NOT as easy as it sounds but I think it's paramount. Also, work on your craft. Lots of times I will stop reading a story on the first page because of obvious mistakes--passive voice, changin POV, spelling and grammar fails, and formatting errors. I try to give everything a chance but there is only so far you can go. Very rarely do I find a good story that has numerous grammar and spelling flaws.

    Now, the question is, how to be original? I DON'T KNOW. I've done things I thought were very original and gotten slapped with a serious WTF. I guess it's a balance that needs to be worked out.

    All I know is that you need to keep trying until you succeed. But ain't it so much fun?

    MLD

  16. #76
    Senior Member Inmate RichardThomas's Avatar
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    yeah, i'd say that MLD about nailed it ^

  17. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardThomas View Post
    yeah, i'd say that MLD about nailed it ^
    Nailed it like a cheatin' ex-girlfriend on the wrong end of a Bosch power nailer.

  18. #78
    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed Craig Wallwork's Avatar
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    I'm reading Jeremy Dyson Never Trust a Rabbit which is turning to out to be a great collection of stories that lean toward orginal horror. Giving me a lot ot think about. He is one of the screenwriters of The League of Gentleman, a very dark television series set in England. He and any Nyman also did a run of stage shows featuring "old school" horror stories, aptly named, Ghost Stories, which proved VERY successful. Here's an interview with the writers who explain more, though, part of the appeal and attractive of the stage shows was that no one could tell you what happened lest it dilutes the impact:

    http://www.syfy.co.uk/node/190573

    A friend of mine went and he goes on ghost hunts in various parts of England - he jumped out of his skin several times, but it also had a weird spooky feel to it all.
    Last edited by Craig Wallwork; 06-26-2011 at 01:41 PM.

  19. #79
    Senior Member Hearing Voices ozmosis7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmcraven View Post
    Nailed it like a cheatin' ex-girlfriend on the wrong end of a Bosch power nailer.
    Ha, that's great.

  20. #80
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    Well, one side "benefit" of email over snail mail is that rejections can arrive on Sundays, too

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