Double Dose Rejection

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:


“…beautiful writing…”

“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.

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4 thoughts on “Double Dose Rejection

  1. cuhome

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!! I needed to hear your “rejection” stories, from one writer (whether published or not, I’m still a writer) to another!! It gave me courage to keep going; of course, to not keep writing is an impossibility!

    When I think of all the wildly talented, practiced, experienced writers out there, it’s amazing when anyone gets published (except the brand-name writers). . . sort of a kin to winning the lottery?

    Anyway, thanks!

    1. Thomas Gatsby Ink Post author

      Absolutely! I think that few want to embrace their rejection, but you have to – far too many authors travel arduous roads to publication (and hopefully fame) to not believe that you too must break through the wall; Rowling and Lehane are prime examples. Keep on keepin’ on!


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