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 everydayfiction.com 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, dictionary.com , to get my mind wrapped around the concept. The relevant definitions follow: