close, but no cigar

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Reading through my rejections for the short stories I’ve submitted over the years, I realized from the tone of the rejections that I write well enough to sell, but my stories lack that one special ingredient–whatever that is. One editor of a well-known science fiction magazine wrote me a very nice letter; another apologized for holding the story for a long time but was trying to decide if it suited his publication; another told me he’d almost bought a story of mine, but it just barely missed the mark. Seems like I usually make it to the second round. They all complimented me on the writing. So, I’m not a total loss, and the rejections I’ve received are encouraging. And that’s the best take-away.

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5 thoughts on “close, but no cigar

  1. Probably plot and focus. Your writing is extremely strong, but you may need work in structure, not story, but plot, and premise, making it all come together. I say this, not really knowing, because I know you have a great voice and good skills. There are only so many things it can be.

  2. Hi, Janie, that’s really an astute comment. I’ve been trying to corral structure and plot for quite a while now, and yeah, I definitely have not figured out how to focus the premise so that it yields what I need for the plot which would give me the structure. The leg bone is connected to the thigh bone… Thank you very much. d:))

  3. Adrian, you’re too funny! Thank you though. I know I’m on the right track, but it’s like Morpho Ophelia said, it’s the structure/plot issue and how to focus the premise. Everything I know and what skill I have, I’ve taught myself, mostly through reading novels and books on writing. Right now I’m going through Holly Lisle’s Sideways program in the hope of teaching myself how to plot effectively. You know how it is–toiling in the salt mines–but that’s not a complaint ’cause I’ll be more than happy to toil in those salt mines for the rest of my life. d:))

  4. Well, I should talk. I’ve been plotting a book for years now! Laughing. It’s better to write it out and then fix it. But fix it you must.

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