I plan to catalog all of my rejections, and I have received my first rejection since I started submitting stories again. It was a terrific rejection and I’m more proud of it than is seemly. I don’t think it was generic, which is the reason I am pleased.
Dear Ms. Mullins: “Short Bus” is absorbing, though not terribly persuasive. We’ll have to pass, but I’m sure you’ll have takers elsewhere. Please try us again.
Michael Curtis has been The Atlantic
‘s fiction editor since 1966 (so he must have been there when Ken Smith’s story, “Meat,” was published in the late 1980s. Ken Smith was my first writing professor some 20 years ago, and I used “Meat” as a part of my lecture on plot structure in graduate school). This rejection is for a story I like but also one I keep re-working. It’s also becoming part part of a longer story (Novel? Maybe.).
Now, how to figure out what “not terribly persuasive” means?
Updates on form rejections as of 6/30/16 for “Short Bus” story below. I know I shot high on these, but why not?
The Sun, 11/9/16
Southern Review, 2/5/17
Glimmer Train, 10/25/16
Paris Review, 2/3/17
Oxford American, 11/10/16
The New Yorker, 11/23/16
McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, 10/21/16, “Open Letter to My Old Ass Friends Finally Having Kids,” response: We aren’t going to use this one, but here’s hoping your friends get your message eventually. Thanks for the read.
McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, 10/29/16, “List: How I Know My Mother Loves Her Yorkie More Than Me,” response: You make a strong case for your mom’s love of Dixie above all else, but I’m afraid we aren’t going to take the list. Thanks for the chance at it.
NPR’s call for ads for nicer living, submitted separate ads for Naps, Stars, and Fires.
The New Orleans Review, 10/31/16, book review for Heather Sharfeddin’s What Keeps You.
The Sun’s “Readers Write” series, 3/15/16, topic was Leaps of Faith.
Cimarron Review, 5/24/17, “We Only Ever Meet in Winter.”