Friday, September 18, 2009

Check, Check, Check & Check

Apparently, this guy's story was:

  • Tedious and failed to hold the reader's interest
  • Filled with an unacceptable number of grammar and spelling errors
  • Overwritten and awkward 
  • Dotted with static descriptions


Dennis the Vizsla said...

Wow, harsh! But informative!

Anonymous said...

Well, at least it's honest and actually tells you what's wrong with the story.

Anonymous said...

On the bright side, look at what's not checked off. It's not the idea, so much as the execution of the idea that made the readers barf. And he/she formatted it correctly, so kudos to that.

Anonymous said...

I guess what bugs me about checklist-type rejections is their air of false authority -- as if the editor of this cheesey mag somehow knows the formula for awesome writing and deigns to offer this little checklist so the poor pathetic writer can improve himself.

A truer rejection -- and I've rejected many stories over the years -- is: "This isn't what we want. Unfortunately, we can't tell you what we do want, because we don't know. We want to be surprised and delighted, and your story didn't do that for us this time."

80% of the time, the reason I reject a story is because it didn't make me want to read it all the way through. It's boring, convoluted, corny, crazy or just simply not to my taste. No little checklist will fix these things, and it's disingenuous to pretend it will.

editor said...

I would prefer a concrete checklist to "We want to be surprised and delighted," which has the air of arrogance an amateurity, if I may invent a new word which I just did thank you.

If you don't know what you want, or cannot articulate what you do/don't want, you should not be and editor of a literary journal (or 'zine as I suspect)...

I don't give out the checklist type rejections, but I do have a tiered system of form rejections that give the author a more concrete idea of how they missed our mark.

copy editor said...


In spite of your typos, I agree with you that there is something very grating about the "dazzle me" type rejections and submissions guidelines. "I don't really know what I want, but it ain't this."

If an editor really wants to be dazzled by me, I need to know his home address and what flavor lube.

Keep the faith.

copy editor said...

@anonymous 11:51

I don't get any air of false authority vibe from this rejection. From the items that are checked off, it's pretty clear the writer has some issues with mechanics. Maybe English was not his first language.

Sure, the letter is cold and may bruise a fragile writer's ego, but it may have been the first time an editor told the writer what was really wrong with his writing. You can only improve from there.

Anonymous said...

if English wasn't his first language then why would he write in English any way?

YOU BIG Dummy LOL-from Sanford and sun

trust me people from other country know the English language better then Americans, MR editor!!