Sarah Avery (dr_pretentious) wrote,
Sarah Avery
dr_pretentious

My Wonderful New Rejection Letter

I already have dozens of them neatly stowed in the poetry filing cabinet, some of them real beauties, but this is the first rejection letter I've earned by mailing out a work of fiction. The rejection's cordial and encouraging. Receiving it feels a little like a rite of passage.

I found these submission guidelines to be so charming and goofy and challenging, I could not resist. Even now, with the deadline long past, and even to non-writers, they're worth a look. The whole project is a spectacle of willful perversity, and willful perversity is one of the virtues I most admire. I can't wait to buy the book these editors are building.

After taking so much heat for the length of my novel manuscript, I had to try my hand at writing a flash fiction epic. The result weighs in at a lean 2,300 words. Whether anybody ever buys the thing or not, I'm pleased with it as a feat of compression. The last time I'd tried writing a short story was in 1990, so any kind of success in the form is a welcome surprise.

Although the photocopied form letter said individual responses were impossible due to the volume of submissions, one of the editors had indulged in the impossible in a several-sentence-long handwritten comment. He'd liked the character and the worldbuilding, he said, but in the end, the piece just wasn't epic enough. Well, given the amused and amusing contortions the editors went through in their call for submissions in their effort to define the term "epic" while simultaneously refusing to define it, that's not terribly surprising. Since character and worldbuilding are the coin of the realm in my genre, no other praise short of acceptance could have pleased me so much.

So today I tidied up the rhythms a little and sent the thing back out to somebody else.

This last short story sorted out several backstory problems I'd been having with the novel. Tomorrow, if the new short story that wants to clear up my confusion about the Guild Hall Grab Riots of 293 would still like me to write it, maybe I'll give that a shot. Vol1Pt2Chs8-10 are giving me fits right now, anyway. A working break might help.
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