And we’re back from commercial; the snowstorm caused my internet/cable to become, at best, touchy, throughout the entire week.
I have a bevy of topics on which to touch upon, but I will begin with a double dose of rejection.
I commented that I had sent a message to a previous flame, and the response is in: silence. I’m not surprised by this, I half-expected it, and I feel no different knowing that whatever once was is now dead and buried. But, as I stated in my previous post, I am happy with my decision to give it a go, albeit a longshot.
I submitted a piece of flash fiction entitled ‘Opium & Keats’ to Everyday Fiction, a well-known and respected online magazine specializing in pieces of 1000-words or less.
This morning I received the news concerning ‘Opium & Keats’: rejected.
Those who are not writers would be devastated by such an event, likening it to not landing that corporate job after several rounds of bullshit-shoveling interviews. But in the world of writing, a rejection is a red badge of courage. It is vital to the development of a writer because without rejections (and feedback) you would not be able to hone your craft, reshape the words and reconsider the characters into a tighter piece. Stephen King used to (before he was STEPHEN KING!) pin his rejection slips over his writing desk as a reminder – everyone starts somewhere, without failure you cannot experience success.
Allow me to share some of the editors’ feedback which accompanied the rejection:
“Well written and and a different enough approach to the well worn “love found and lost” theme.”
“…a real sensuality to this piece.”
“…phrasing seemed over-written at first, but then I realized I think this is meant to be sort of noir, sort of old-school, “Casablanca”-style fare.”
“Having the whole plot be internal-flashback-based denies the answers to these very pertinent, plot-driving questions.”
“There were a lot of city and street references that I felt had some kind of meaning that I wasn’t grasping. I don’t know the layout of New York…”
“…the plot itself is fairly well-trodden ground…”"
“…lack of answers (or even hints toward answers) to core plot questions.”
My absolute favorite comment (a positive, obviously) is the likening of it to a “…sort of noir…old school, “Casablanca”-style fare.”, which is the exact tone for which I was gunning. The piece would best be a voiceover at the end of a dramatic movie where everything has gone wrong; I’ve even recorded myself delivering it.
Several of the editors remarked on two points: it was “beautifully” written and it “lacked a story arc/plot”. And they are absolutely correct – there isn’t a hint of story arc or plot. One even suggested turning it into a poem, which it had originally been.
And so here I am. One rejection, dozens, if not hundreds, to go. I am strengthened in the positive comments that my work is appreciated for its style, despite its lack of plot, and that its specific tone was identified, which means I must be doing something right. Right?
I am not bitter (and neither should any writer) that I was rejected or that the comments were not all rosy; on the contrary, I am elated by the feedback – it is more than one would ever receive from a corporation which flatly and quietly rejected you from a position.
The writing must go on. And it shall.