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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Play's The Thing--But Not Yours

Dear Playwright: Thank you for submitting your work to the Playwrights Foundation. We regret that we are not able to produce your play, [TITLE], in this year's Bay Area Playwrights Festival. We received over 500 submissions for five slots this year, making the process even more highly competitive than usual. We hope you do not find this email as a reflection on your work, as we wish you the best of luck finding resources to support your play. All the best, Rachel Viola, Literary Associate

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spell Check Sting

Ouch. But you've got to admit that the editor is a kind fellow and handled this situation well. The mouse who sent this rejection in wrote: "I honestly did run spell check, but the big bull couldn't take a few small errors":
Dear Mr. [Poet's Last Name]: Thank you for your submission, [“Name of Poem”], I regret that we cannot use your poem. I highly recommend that you look at issue 8 and 9, and soon, issue 10, to get a better idea of what we looking for. The competition is fierce, so you might want to pay extra careful attention to spelling and punctuation errors. I make them all the time myself, but I am thankful for “spell check” in my word processor to catch most of them. It might benefit you, too. Good luck in placing your poem. Best regards, John C. Mannone, Silver Blade Poetry Editor

Monday, March 28, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Darn Fallopian Tubes

It was the fallopian tubes that got in the way of the New Yorker acceptance, darn it all. Click the rejection to read the handwritten note.  It says: "Thanks for sending this. I don't quite grasp the gist of the joke about the fallopian tubes, but what I do grasp is compelling.  Always feel free to try us with your work. Thanks."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Policy to Pass on Engaging & Well-Written

So, what then is the reason for not taking it.  Just didn't feel like it?  Didn't really find it engaging and well-written? Fickle?
Dear Writer: Thank for submitting ["Name of Work"] to Abyss & Apex. I found the story engaging and well written, but unfortunately we are going to pass. Best of luck in placing your story elsewhere.We really do appreciate you letting us see your work. Kind regards, Oliver Waite, Assistant Editor

Monday, March 21, 2011

There's An App For That

Here's a rejection app for your iPhone? It's called Rejection Therapy--The Game. The only rule is that you must be rejected by one person every day. The therapy part is this: "Do nothing and continue living..."

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Update: Working on It

Hello micycles. I'm over the vertigo and traveling around the West Coast this and last week.  So, the question of blog quality may continue in your little mice minds.  That said, I've made a major change to my novel: switching the climax from the end of part one to a reveal at the end of the book.  This adds suspense, one might argue...literary suspense, but still, you know, page-turning motivation.  Not sure if it works, but we'll see.  I'm taking my time and feeling it come together. Happy to be revising. Happy Agent 99 is still on my side. Happy you guys are out there rooting for me. That's the scoop here...California time.

From The Mailbag

From an LROD reader:

Every once in a while when I am catastrophically bored, I will respond to junk mail and subscription requests from journals with this note:
Dear Respected Journal: While [my first and last name] found your offer intriguing, he was not sufficiently taken with the offer to actually subscribe. In these challenging economic times, [my first and last name] is forced to pass on many fine publications, but reserves his subscription budget to those that are actually interested in printing the kind of high quality fiction and evocative poetry that [my first and last name] writes. Good luck with placing this offer with a more suitable client. Sincerely, The Management

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Your Writing Was the True Weakness of This Book

Here's a particularly harsh and extensive rejection sent in by an LROD Mouse:
Let me start by congratulation the author on the fortitude to pursue his or her dream. Almost everyone has a book within them, but it is a rare few who follow through. Now, let’s talk about the book.
In a nutshell, I thought it was very weak. Let me be more specific.
Story line/plot
It had a fairly decent story line/plot, but was poorly developed. For starters, it was disjointed and frequently hard to follow. Critical parts of the story line were introduced and explained away in a couple of sentences. There were some components that, if properly developed, could have been interesting. I found it amazing that despite the simplicity of the book, I still had a hard time understand parts of it.
Writing style
This was the true weakness of this book. By page 25, the author wore me out with “cute”. I think his writing skills were so weak, that he/she felt a need for the attempt at clever analogies and adjectives, some of which were clichest at best.
Character development
This is an easy part of my critique as there was no character development. The characters desperately needed background and expansion. A strong writer would have expanded the book by at least 50 pages worth of character development. There was not one person in the book that I felt I knew really well.
Where to go from here? 
With a lot of work, he can expand and clarify the plot; same goes for character development. It is the writing style that will be tough to change. I suspect the author likes his or her style a lot and would be reluctant to even try and change it.
I could have filled ten pages with criticisms and suggestions, but I figure this critique tells you enough of what I feel about the book. Again, I admire anyone who takes on the challenge of writing a book, but I’m afraid at this point, your author has no chance of getting it published.

Friday, March 11, 2011

It's All So Dizzying

Friday, friday.  I've had a crazy bad bout of vertigo. Feeling better but not all the way.  No work on my novel til the room stops spinning.  The human body is weird and miraculous.  Have a good weekend, everybody.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

100,000 Versions of the Same Novel

I was looking back through some old computer files, trying to find a particular scene from a long-ago version of my novel because I thought I might be able to use it in this current revision. For seem reason, seeing all those versions of my novel kind of depressed me. Like over a decade's worth of versions, each holding my little fragile dream of success in its pages. Seriously any one of them could have been the one, but instead they are all just little ugly, deformed clones of one another that didn't work out. A friend of mine shook me out of the bad feeling by saying that every novelist has files and files of versions of the same book, and that all those ones that didn't work are like stepping stones to the one that does work, at least we hope like hell it works, as indicated by the use of the present tense. (Do you mice have this experience?) I don't usually succumb to feelings of regret, especially about my work, but it did kind of bum me out. Like: Why is this taking so long? Why do I have to be the one to write the same book for 13 years? Why can't I be like Joyce Carol Oates who whips out a book every ten minutes? Then I found this Thoreau quotation, which I share with you above. Oh, and, by the way, I did find the scene I was looking for in a version from 1999, and I am able to use it in the new version, so all is not lost.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Save Us Marc Jacobs

Looks like books are breaking out of Borders and Barnes & Nobles and busting into other trend-worthy places, Like Marc Jacobs and Anthropologie. Frankly, I wouldn't care if some stores sold my book as a fashionable accessory, as long as they sold it. (Oh, yeah, and as long as I finished writing it first, and my agent liked it, and she wanted to sell it, and an editor liked it and got approval from his/her publisher to buy and market it, and it got a good distribution, and someone reviewed it, and then the stores sold it fashionably, but you know what I mean.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Relaunching The "Agent 4 Appel" Campaign!

Congratulations once again, Jacob Appel, for winning yet another prestigious  literary award! It's unbelievable that certain agents just don't see how incredible this bro is. (Anyway, we love you, man.) Seriously, isn't there an agent out there who wants in on a piece of this promising action?  Come on, this guys got PhDs and New York Times writing credits, and has won practically every single illustrious writing award there is.  Doesn't someone young, hungry agent want to contact him, sell his books, and restore our faith in the world? Think of what a great blogosphere story it will make for the media, for you, for Jacob Appel. Drop me a line, and I'll put you in touch. Please, I'm begging you.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Rejection from the Hoosier State

We have carefully considered your submission, "[Name of Story]" and regret that we do not have a place for it in Indiana Review at this time. We do appreciate your support and hope you try us again in the future. --The Editors

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Girl's Got Chutzpah!

Got this note from a new (very funny) mouse including a video of a poem consisting of the handwritten notes on top of form rejection letters received. Hope you enjoy!
I stumbled upon your blog via HARRIET (the Poetry Foundation blog), and I love it. I wish I had known about during some of my rotten runs with rejection! It also inspired me to want to share with you this video of a poem I have called "Notes on Rejection(s)," which is a list poem consisting solely of things which have been written on top of rejection notes I've received.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The New Eff Ewe

Writes one LROD Reader: "In the spirit of your f.u., I give you a past rejection":
Thank you for sending us [redacted]. We regret to inform you it was not chosen for publication in an upcoming issue. Remember, editorial decisions are very subjective, so continue writing, and you will find a home for your fiction. We hope this does not deter you from reading future issues of Carve, and you are welcome to submit again in the future. Sincerely, Editor and Staff
"I LOVE the 'keep writing,' as though they think I'd be so devastated by their rejection that I might throw in the towel. Don't worry, Carve; I'm okay."

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

More Advice From the Discontented

The anonymous from yesterday's complaint, posted this clarification:
I wrote the post that you quote from. You chose not to include the last sentence: "Instead, examine how the publishing world works, not the forms they send out to losers (like me)." Don't misunderstand me -- I'm not complaining about the omission -- but I think it indicates that what I suggest is not a direction you want to take. But it's a meaningful one. I read the responses above and I didn't sense much substance or spirit. It's like people are saying, Yes, I like to visit here. For the last six months or so I stop by your blog infrequently, see a rejection, see that there are a few (or no) comments, don't read anything, and move on. If you aren't willing (or don't have the will) to move in a new direction, I'd say call it a day, w/r. Though I hope you don't.
Here's the advice that has been doled out from day one of my starting this blog: 1) Write your novel. (Answer: I am writing my novel; every day. I'm also earning a living as a writer in a competitive industry that pays pretty damn well. Don't tell me to write my novel; it's the only thing I do on a regular basis, save for brush my teeth.) And 2) Shut down this blog; it's stupid/annoying/boring/too contentious/haughty/dangerous. (Answer: Thanks to all the respondents for answering the survey question from yesterday because it's been helpful to me. You know what I realized? I actually like my blog. So, go start your own fucking blog if you want something different. I post literary rejections here; hence the name.) Peace out. I've had a bad day.