Kenneth Darter

Writing, Music, and Life

Shot Down

PLEASE NOTE: This blog includes excessive use of Bad Sarcasm and is thus rated BS.

It happens to all writers, but being shot down by magazine editors hurts.  Especially when it happens so quickly.  Last weekend, I sent out two stories and expected to take a metaphorical breath and work on something else for a few weeks whilst happily daydreaming about getting acceptance emails like “Love the story, don’t change a thing and send me ten more just like it; I’ll publish them sight unseen, in fact, I’ll just turn over the whole magazine to your writing . . . ”

Instead, I get an email on Monday with a form rejection.  OK, I can deal with that.  Surely they liked my story but it didn’t fit in the magazine (delusions are such a comfort).

Then on Tuesday I get a personal rejection.  Now this just isn’t right.  I’m supposed to be able to recharge a little bit after submissions, not get shot down when I’m trying to feel good about what I’ve accomplished.  And on top of that I get comments like “ended my reading about halfway through”.

Well now I’m just angry.  If you STOPPED halfway through the story then of COURSE you didn’t get it.  (GRUMBLE GRUMBLE)   Never mind the fact that other comments clearly showed why they didn’t read all of it, I’m sure that if they had finished it, they would have forgiven everything else that was wrong in the story.  After all, a good ending makes everything alright, doesn’t it?

Take X-Men 3 for example – didn’t the ending make up for all the confusion and nonsense during the movie (not the sappy “Storm takes over the school” ending but the real ending after the credits – Prof X is ALIVE!! never saw that one coming)

And then there’s the ubiquitous comment about my story being “told rather than shown”.  Hello, this is the written word not a video.  How else am I going to “tell” my story other than “telling” it?  Of course, I can’t argue too much against this since Stephen King spends a great deal of time showing us how to fix this problem in On Writing.

Finally, I move past the anger and bitterness and grab onto one small comment “essence of a good story”.  Maybe I can breathe again and think about rewriting the story.  I still like it and still think it should be told or shown or whatever (GRUMBLE).

So I will put those stories back in the queue for revision and try not to think about the fact that I’ve wasted a week on anger, bitterness, depression, and wanting to toss all this writing business out the window.  Instead, I’ll try to work on something different for a while.

Now, what was that story I was going to write – oh yeah – “Magazine Editors Devoured by Flesh-Eating Zombie Authors”  (I’m thinking Disney will be very interested in the film rights!!)

(My apologies and deference to those editors who take the time to give actual feedback to struggling writers – it truly is a blessing to receive comments that help one improve their craft.)


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