My story was rejected. Three days ago I received an email from Overland Magazine. I have been rejected by the magazine three times now, so I recognised the form letter. A personal note was added to it though, asking if I would like to receive feedback from the editor.
I promptly wrote back and said yes. One day later, a reply came, with an apology for the bluntness of the feedback, and the qualifier that they don’t usually give it out.
[The story] frustrates me because I think it has the potential to be something really special, but it doesn’t make it — as though it’s half-finished. If the author put more consideration into the dialogue and descriptions, and into providing details about who the protagonist is, it could be beautiful.
I emailed back and thanked them for the insight. Indeed, the story is unfinished, as my intuition nagged at me for the last three years, but not structurally so. I was at least right about my summation of the order of scenes. What it lacks and how to fix it is now my job to find out, guided by the broad hints above.
What heartens me about this rejection though, and why I’m celebrating, is that it is my first personal rejection, and it came with feedback. I’ve learned through my reading of other authors’ experiences that this is stepping in the right direction. I’m getting closer to becoming professionally publishable.
I have been taken seriously for the first time as a writer. My work has something to it that people will read and find valuable.
Now it’s time to do the hard yards and get that story really working. In the meantime though, I think I’ll send it to another publication, as is, and see what sort of an opinion I can get there. Bloody-mindedness is also a part of the job description!