Friday, May 29, 2009

Icky, ew, rejection

I posted The Perfect Girl, a short story of mine, a few weeks ago. One of my fellow bloggers suggested that I try submitting it to Flash Me, a flash-fiction 'zine (and thanks for the suggestion, Stephanie! It may not have worked out, but ideas for new markets are always much appreciated). I think it's a pretty good short story.

So, while I'm never heartbroken to get a rejection letter - it's just part of the trade - I was a bit surprised by the editorial commentary that came with it.

EDITOR 1: No. This didn't hold my interest.

EDITOR 2: No. This started off rather well, but the ending was childish
and immature, completely ruining the piece.

EDITOR 3: No. This needs a thorough proofreading, and the end is
psychologically unsound.

EDITOR 4: No. The beginning of this reads like a character sketch, and as
far as characters go, Ali isn't particularly interesting. The ending
didn't work for me either, mostly because of the awkward transition in

Usually when I get a rejection letter, I wish there was a bit more explanation of why my piece didn't work. Now I'm thinking, be careful what you wish for!

You can read the short story in the post here.


Stephanie said...

I have to say, I'm really shocked! I think the story shows someone that looks pretty perfect and a bit of a goody two shoes, then shows that she's human. Yes, there is a change in mood...but I liked it...I don't want to see her get attacked! I would take a look on (that's where I found Flash Me) and submit it to other fiction magazines!!

Guinevere said...

Thanks! Yeah, I was surprised they hated it THAT much. But it can be funny the different perspectives... my two acceptances have been a) a throw-away poem I included to round out a package of 3 submitted poems and b) the poem my writing group liked least of everything I had written!

It just makes it even harder to know what to submit, because you just can't imagine what the editors will like/dislike that accurately!

Philip S said...

Ignore those editors. They're focused on the trees and missing the forest.
Your story is surprising, original, good. It only needs to be a little longer. (In other words, it deserves to be longer). The change-on-a-dime ending, in particular, is needlessly rushed. But the idea of that change is great, and perfectly credible (speaking as someone who wrote - and exhaustively researched - a book on stalking, I say that with authority). Maybe something subtler and odder than nose-picking would serve you better.
You could also do a little more with the language. Some of the description is a little too run-of-the-mill. Your narrator sees things too conventionally perhaps. Maybe he (she?) could be crazy about something an ordinary person would not even notice in a woman: the shape of her ear-lobe, an overlap in the upper incisors...
The opener does read like a blurb, which is off-putting. Try to sound more like a conventional storyteller at that point. Summarise less.
All this is worth doing because the core idea is very good and delivers a punch. Keep it coming.

Guinevere said...

Thanks for the suggestions, Phillip! I'll take a hard look at it and do a re-write over this next week... I'll post a re-write when I can.