Rejection number 94 (of “The Steamer Trunk”) was unlike any I’ve ever seen. For one thing, the rejection email weighed in at 795 words, 22 words longer than the manuscript. For another, it was rich in content, critiques from five readers. Critiques with excellent feedback, although not all of it good.
It started off as usual:
“Thank you for your submission to Xxx. I regret to inform you that we are unable to use it at this time.”
But then the feedback, in droves:
“A very interesting take on historic fiction. I enjoyed the imagery, the characters, and the setting, but I found the plot lacking…”
“…I thought the concept was solid, could you add more storyline?”
“To be successful as flash I would suggest tightening up the character introductions and add more action, tension and a resolution…”
“I especially liked the way you incorporated exposition at the beginning, with the boy trying to fix his English. That was very good. However, like the others have mentioned, the plot was lacking. There did not seem to be a specific conflict here, and there was no tangible resolution….”
“Lastly, there is a very big problem with the candle… But the prose here is done very well and I would love to see more from this author.”
Wow. So it’s back to the rewrite queue for young Izaak, but with a slew of great ideas–more love, more conflict, more tension, more plot–to help improve the story.
94 rejection letters on the wall, 94 rejection letters…
I’ve accumulated 90 rejections for my short stories over the past 3 years and change. A few wins too–6 to be exact–on a total of 16 stories put out there. My record is 12 rejections for one story (“The Cavalryman’s Saber”), but the good news is that it was accepted for publication this fall.
So I’ll be counting down the rejection notices over the next couple of month from #91 through lucky #100. Yes it’s a little morbid, but hey it’s a coping mechanism. I think. Stay tuned.
PS–Maybe I’ll get a win in the mix.