Sunday, August 5, 2012

Gentle Truth.

I recently read a blogpost in which an author had received a form rejection for a submitted story.

The author then stated that he could see why the story had been rejected - it was because he had opened the piece with dialogue rather than description.

While this may be the case, I believe it is extremely unlikely the story was rejected outright simply for this one particular reason. If that was the only problem with the story, wouldn't he have received either a personal rejection or a rewrite request?

Too many writers won't accept their writing is not perfect. Too much time is spent by writers patting each other on the back and telling each other that simply because a piece was rejected, there's nothing wrong with it. Time and time again I see and hear newer writers stating that "it's only one editor's taste" or "it was the wrong market for that piece." And yes, taste and matching markets do come into it. But once the same story has been kicked back a number of times, surely you have to question it. Yes, I know Robert J. Sawyer had a story kicked back 17 times before it was accepted, and it went on to win an Aurora award. J.K Rowling's first book was rejected a dozen times before it was picked up and became a phenomenon. But these are exceptions - and rare ones at that.

Guess what. Some people can't write. Some people will never improve. Most writers can't see the faults in their own work. Some stories are crap. Some stories need rewriting. And some stories should be permanently trunked.

I'm all for encouraging writers. By all means, keep subbing the piece to different markets. But when it's come back a few times, at least wonder why.

Encouragement needs to be balanced by gentle truth.

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