One of the joys of writing is the rejection letter.  I say joy because feedback, any sort of feedback, is what a writer asks for, nay begs, even.  Especially in this internet age when people seem to read, but aren’t eager to post what they think.  (Note to self:  I reckon that’s a hint about the quality of the writing, Rob).


Anyway, one of my stories, Red in Tooth and Claw, published on Spinetinglers, was at last rejected by the nice chaps at Murky Depths (I did a sort of bad thing and sent the story out to multiple publishers – you live and you learn, I suppose).  Anyway, I completely forgot that Murkey Depths was one of the makets I had submitted to, until this missive arrived yesterday…

Firstly, apologies for the exceedingly long delay in responding, and thanks for allowing us to consider “Red in Tooth and Claw”. We thought the writing was pretty good but we don’t take as much flash as longer stories, so we tend to be rather more picky with the shorter stories. This was very visual but the ending was just too predictable so we’re going to pass. We hope the long delay hasn’t put you off trying us again.
Terry Martin

I think Martin will forgive me including his name, as it’s listed on a publicly accessible site.

Importantly, feedback!  The writing was ‘pretty good’ (puffs out chest) and ‘very visual’ (struts around study), but the ending ‘was just too predictable’ (collapses in a heap and vows never to show his head in public again).

Well, thems the breaks, as they say.  I’m lucky in that the story was accepted elsewhere, but it sometimes is a bit of a lottery, as you’re dependent on the considered whims of the editorial team as to whether they like your story or not.

My upcoming story on Pseudopod, The Copse, was earlier rejected by the editor of Dark Horizons, the weird tales magazine of the British Fantasy Society, as being too eerie.  One up, one down.  And so it goes…

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2 Responses to Rejected!

  1. uninvoked says:

    Well you must be doing something right, or you wouldn’t continue to get acceptances. Martin has given you a golden opportunity to learn from him, and you should take this rejection letter not as rejection, but as a golden opportunity to learn. He says your ending is too predictable. Perhaps you should review the endings on all your work and make sure there is nothing weak or disappointing that may turn off a reader. (Bad endings are the most disappointing problem I come across when I read.)

    Also remind yourself that it is also a matter of personal taste. Some people don’t like Stephen King after all, and he’s one of the most successful authors out there.

  2. Cathryn says:

    I loved the description of your feedback response – strutting – collapsing … very entertaining. Perhaps another story is lurking there:

    “collapses in a heap and vows never to show his head in public again”, crawls into a crevice for warmth as night falls, grows weak with hunger, previously introduced renovators come, he’s plastered into the wall … sounds too much like Telltale Heart, but your vivid description got me thinking.

    Still really liked Red in Tooth and Claw, the ending satisfied me.

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