Tuesday, September 23, 2014


I've been submitting stories for publication for longer than I've been a legal adult, and when I get a slew of rejects for one of them, I generally figure out what's so wrong with it that no one wants it. Occasionally, though, I have a story that I think is amazing, and it can never get into my head why so many editors would reject it.

I'm in one of those cycles right now. I swear, I have a story that has been rejected four times this month, and I don't do simultaneous submissions. OK, it might be a tad bit more highbrow than what I usually write, but still, it's a serviceable horror story. The only notes I've gotten back on this thing stated that the ending bothered the editors, not because of content, but because of lack of content. Yet, I think in this case, a lack of content is a thousand times worthier than content, because it explains a lot about the characters involved. It drives me nuts.

It was slightly inspired by Jack Ketchum's "The Box," and when I say that, I mean that it shares a vague thematic similarity. I go off in a completely different direction, of course, because this is 90%-based on a true story that really happened to me. I don't spell out the other 10%, but I have a definite intention with the mysterious ending. I just can't figure out why so many people have a negative reaction to it.

I wrote it four years ago, and it's been making the rounds since then, but this month has been ridiculous. It almost has as many rejection letters as my reject champion, "The Hand That Shook the World" (which was finally published last year after being on the market for almost fifteen years). Tomorrow, I'm sending my story out again. It's close enough to the end of the month that I can't possibly be rejected a fifth time in September, right? RIGHT?!

Then again, the last time I sent this one out, it came back to me less than a week later, so . . .

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