Real-Time Rejection: The 8th Rejection of “Story X”

Hey, folks, it’s that time again. “Story X” has returned to the roost with its eighth rejection. Have a look.

Thanks for letting us see “Story X.” I regret to say that it’s just not right for [XXX].

It’s a solid piece, with some good characters and good tension. Unfortunately, by the end, I’m afraid it just didn’t “grab” me the way it might have. I’ve been sitting here thinking why not, and it occurs to me that I never really connected with [the protagonist]. Maybe if it had been first-person instead of third-person. That’s not a request for a rewrite (I don’t make too many of those). It’s just a thought.

In any event, I’m sorry. Best of luck with this one in other markets.

Well, what we have here is a nice example of the informative personal rejection. I always appreciate it when an editor takes the time to tell me why he or she did not accept the story. The editor says some encouraging things about “Story X.” He liked the characters and tension, which is good, because I really focused on those two things, but the protagonist just didn’t connect for him. Thus, the story didn’t either.

This is one of those rejection letters that can get you started down one of two roads. The first is to trust your writerly instincts, accept the fact that not every story is going to work for every reader, and that one man’s opinion is just that, an opinion. The next editor may love the protagonist, for example. The second road is to start thinking rewrite based on the feedback you’re getting, especially if you keep getting the same feedback. At this point, I’m staying with the story as it currently sits, though I do really like the editor’s suggestion of making the story first-person. I can see how it might make the protagonist more relatable if I were to do that at some point in the future.

Right, two more chances for fame and fortune. I’ve already sent the story out again and to a market with a quick turnaround, so stay tuned for another update soon.

Previous Real-Time Rejection Posts

Intro: Real-Time Rejection: The Journey of “Story X”

Part 1: Real-Time Rejection: The 1st Rejection of “Story X”

Part 2: Real-Time Rejection: The 2nd Rejection of “Story X”

Part 3: Real-Time Rejection: The 3rd Rejection of “Story X”

Part 4: Real-Time Rejection: The 4th Rejection of “Story X”

Part 5: Real-Time Rejection: The 5th Rejection of “Story X”

Part 6: Real-Time Rejection: The 6th Rejection of “Story X”

Part 7: Real-Time Rejection: The 7th Rejection of “Story X”

7 thoughts on “Real-Time Rejection: The 8th Rejection of “Story X”

  1. That’s a nice rejection. I think that saying the story affected him/her enough to spend time thinking about it is a good sign that you did things well.

    When I read horror, connecting with the main character often makes or breaks it for me. Simply putting someone in danger when I don’t feel like I know them makes it kind of hard to care. That’s been really driven home as I’ve entered flash contests and read some of the horror submissions, where it’s extra tough to create a fleshed out character and perilous situation in so few words.

    Congrats on your Molotov HM 🙂

  2. Seems like an oxymoron, but that’s a good rejection, Aeryn. Some days–I realize now that my XP in terms of rejectomancy are going up though!–I would break a few fingers for that kind of response. Maybe even my own. (j/k)

    • Absolutely a good rejection. It’s the kind of rejection that can tell you a lot. In this case, I think it tells you that not every story, even one that is a “…solid piece, with some good characters and good tension” is going to be right for every editor. 🙂

      • Yes, definitely. It’s good to know what to address, if you want to revise a story further. Also, as you said, to realize that not every editor will love your work (subjectivity).

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