I have made a few submissions to online mags to get some of my work out there, and to maybe get some bragging rights, or at the very least, find out why I am having an issue getting accepted.

Now, I understand that these publishers have an overflowing mountain of a slush pile. Most of my tendered pieces are rewarded with rejection. This is status quo, or so I’m told. I know my work is not the greatest. The rejections I have gotten thus far have been generic form letters. Just “We are unable to use your story at this time” kind of stuff. I’m left thinking, “Why? What do I need to do to make it more worthy of being posted?”

On May 8, I resubmitted my flash fiction “Traffic Stop” to figuring I would need to send out many more stories before I actually got a stated reason for being rejected, other than the feeling that I just have not sent out enough or had a “worthy” submission count.

Much to my surprise, I got a rejection again, but this time…:

Dear John T. M. Herres,

Thank you for your submission to Every Day Fiction. I regret to inform you that we are unable to use it at this time.

Your prose was marvelous. I felt like I was sitting next to Joe in his car from start to finish. You also depict well what it is like to be caught in a traffic jam.

I felt the ending could have been a bit longer, though.
— Tony Held

This piece gets across the stressful state one can get in in a traffic jam. However, it is too close to merely remembering what a certain situation is like, and it’s not really a well-constructed, important piece of literature. It doesn’t have much of a purpose.
— Andrew Cochrane

I agree with Tony, the prose is strong and the scenario is captured perfectly. But I think the pacing is off for flash fiction. This is a slower pace (as in we don’t really get from point A to B in the story with much happening but the observation of the accident) and is something that might work better in a longer short story or novel. There doesn’t seem to be much of a plot, either. It’s more of a vignette.
— Sealey Andrews

Unfortunately due to the insanely massive amounts of submissions in our slush pile, we cannot reconsider your piece at this time.
We wish you good luck in placing the story elsewhere.

All of us at Every Day Fiction

Have you read Flash Fiction Chronicles?
It’s a site dedicated to the discussion of the art and craft of flash fiction, fiction in general, and the issues of writing, marketing, and publishing today.

They actually gave me reasons why my work didn’t make the cut! This is what I have been hoping for; a way to know what they are actually liking in my story, and also where I need to work on it. That two of them had mostly the same comments is also a bonus!

Now, I must admit; there are many words in the English language I hear somewhat frequently, and can figure mostly what they mean by how and where they’re used. Vignette is one of them. Seeing it used in connection with me through my writing prompted me to verify the definition. So, I went to my ol’ buddy, , to get my mind wrapped around the concept. The relevant definitions follow:


1.  a decorative design or small illustration used on the title page of a book or at the beginning or end of a chapter.
5.  a small, graceful literary sketch.
I also need to inform you that I have known for a long time that my endings need work. Perhaps it stems from that area in my life. I don’t think I have ended too many things in my past very well, most I have gotten fed up and just walked away. No “Goodbye” no “Take care” not even an “FU”. (By the way, I consider the word “Goodbye” to be a finality. I use it to mean “I do not wish to see or talk to you again. Ever.” If just parting ways temporarily, “Take it easy” and “Later” are the salutations I use.)
Couple these with the response from my ex-instructor from Long Ridge, Kris Franklin, and I see that my story is entertaining, but needs a better finale.
I’m not sure yet how I will attack fixing this, as I just got the email from EDF. I am just joyous I now have a reference point on which to fixate.
How about you? Have you submitted some work, only to sit for weeks on end, checking the status every other day even though they require 4 to 8 weeks or more to make a decision?
Tell me of your experiences, and how you handled the information! I’d love to add your experiences to mine, and hope our combined efforts help, not only ourselves, but others as well.
As always:
Write On!


  1. You’ve discovered one of the absolute best aspects of my favorite e-zine, Every Day Fiction. They critique ALL rejected manuscripts, telling you exactly why it was rejected. Immensely helpful. I, too, have been rejected by them, and it is still one of the only rejections with feedback that I’ve ever gotten. They really take the time to help you understand :). When you get accepted, they also take the time to help you make sure your story is the best it can be before it is published.

    Congratulations on the many positive comments you received about your story, and long live EDF, the mag that helps writers grow! 🙂


  2. go add me at GoodReads btw, I’m a terror everywhere I perch myself, however if you don’t mind a menace for a comrade and friend, I’d love to see you there!
    Same moniker(surprise surprise…)


  3. Every so called rejection my friend is an opportunity to look past the top thin veneer of it all to reach deeper, reach farther than you have with more agility, and finesse… I’ve a book I think I might of recommended to you already, I’ll see if I can dig it up and send it to you(if you don’t have it yet yourself). You need to be careful about me, i’m a giver of must read books(ts just awful, but true)….



    1. Oh, yes, I know. The issue is, however, when getting rejections which don’t explain what needs work, there is no way to know why it got rejected. One is left to assume the submission did not even get read by the slush pile managers. “Nope, never heard of that writer.” The response I got is the first actual helpful response I’ve received. I’m almost giddy!


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