Just received a ‘good’ rejection letter today. What is a ‘good’ rejection letter you ask? Well, I think that it is any rejection letter that offers feedback on one’s story, good or bad. Editors are busy people, and often they have little time for more than a simple, ‘thanks, but this story wasn’t right for us,’ response. So if they take their valuable time to offer perhaps a reason for the rejection, and better still, a few compliments, then this is a good thing indeed.
This letter offered some very detailed feedback from two different editors, which I’ve decided to include below.
I like this post-wedding portrait. The old man's dialogue is excellent as is the whole supermarket scene. I like the little reveals of Katherine about her feeling a twinge for the evening and buying a large bottle of wine as opposed to a 750 ml. This really lets the reader's mind wander around about this woman. By the end, though, I wanted more direction, more emotion or action from Katherine. Is she sad? Drunk? Content? Stoic? I also expected more in the rain after she sees the old man dance -- I expected her to go dance with him, but she remains in her seemingly not-too-sad alone state that left the ending a bit flat for me. All the pieces are here, but I wanted them slightly more put together, but I did enjoy the sparse style and simple-yet-effective prose.
-- Editor A
Some very competent writing here. I liked the line " All around her, other people made similar mad dashes to or from their cars; the whole world seeming accelerated by the coming of the rain." But the ending was a bit of a let down for me as well. This piece needs a strong conclusion and I would like to know more about Katherine as a person. I would like to see more work from this author in the future.
The fact that there was a lot of nice things said really strokes the ego, and makes the rejection palatable. I have to say that this was the most lengthy of personalized rejections I’ve yet received. Both editors seemed to key on the downer ending, which I have to admit was what I was going for. So this gives me some food for thought. I can either revise the story, or keep it as it it. Since I still like the ending, I may try a few more submissions with it as is, and see what happens. On the other hand, I just might see what else I can come up with. That’s the beauty of working with your own writing–it’s yours to change (or not) on a whim. We shall see what happens.