September 2014 – March 2015 Update

In an attempt to indefinitely revive this blog, I’m going to post a quick writing update for everything that’s happened since my last post. Okay, here goes.

November 2014

December 2014

January 2015

February 2015

Forthcoming

Aaaand, that’s it for now. Bit of a writing hiatus going on with final projects and exams so March and April will likely be pretty quiet.

In particular, I’m quite happy with my piece over at Cartridge Lit, it puts into words a lot of ideas that interest me about video games, about exploring the existence of game characters and how they interact within their environments built for a specific purpose. How do they push the boundaries of the game map, how a glitch transfers over and builds onto a story, and all these things. I would love to write a bit more on these topics soon. Probably after exams. But for now, I’m just collecting a lot of ideas.

Story a Day in May: Progress Log (1-5)

So, the last time I tried this, it ended terribly. I was too busy to keep a constant writing schedule and accidentally broke my hard drive, so I was without a laptop until I could buy a new one and replace it. This year seems to be going slightly better… so far. Knock on wood.

Progress Log

Day 1 – Coming Home (incomplete)

“And even then she was only the echo of voices at night or the tiny wet footprints leading down the hall to her room.”

Day 2 – Entomophobia (complete)

“You hired an exterminator once to clear out the mites and roaches, and he soaked your head in mild poisons. All was silent, for a little while…”

Day 3 – Star Catcher (complete)

“I follow my sister to the edge of the field, bristling green with newly planted crops. Karin is standing on her toes, waving the net about her head and dancing.”

Day 4 – Whitewood (incomplete)

“The thorns are prickling again, stretching out my arteries and filling up veins. I can feel them growing, threatening to puncture flesh.”

Day 5 – The Drowned Ball (complete)

“The crystal goblets lay in fragments, knocked over and cracked across the ornate tabletops. You run your hands along the carved designs on the wood paneling, the smooth staircase railing, the tasseled velvet curtains hiding fractured windows.”

How to Tell if a Rejection Letter is Form or Not

I’m going to veer a bit off topic on this one; my scathing grammar commentary can wait a few days.

For any of you who are writing and attempting to get work published out there, you might be familiar with rejections. Form, personal, or even an acceptance, these are all the possibilities you have when you send your work out. Though it doesn’t matter in the end, people like to know whether they’ve received a form or personal rejection letter. You’d think it was clear, but it’s not. There’s ambiguity in how personal some markets make their form rejection letters and not everyone can tell.

Now, I only started sending work out a few months ago, but I’ve received my share of rejection letters, though not necessarily a large variety. The typical form rejection letter looks something like this:

Your Typical Form Rejection Letter

These are short and sweet, clearly form and very bare bones. This is a nicer example, less blunt than some of them can be. Basically, literary magazines send these out in tens everyday.

Dear Writer,

Thank you for the opportunity to read “Your Story”. Unfortunately*, we’ve decided it wasn’t right for Our Magazine. Best of luck in placing this elsewhere.

Sincerely,

The Editor

* – I’ve found “unfortunately” to be a recurring term in a few of my own form rejections.

Your Confusing Form Rejection Letter

These are form rejection letters, but they always contain that last bit of information as a reason, a sort of reassurance to the reader that, though meant well, can confuse us to bits. I haven’t received too many of these, but I’ll try my best to recreate an accurate example.

Dear Writer,

Thanks for letting us read “Your Story”. We receive many submissions on a daily basis and are unable to accept as many stories as we would like. We hope you’ll consider submitting more work in the future.

Yours truly,

The Editors

Your Atypical Personal Rejection Letter

I’ve received a few personal rejections, which I welcome more than a form, although in the end, it’s still a no. Personal rejections aren’t typical, there’s not one way to do it, but here’s a vague sort of example.

Dear Writer,

Thank you for submitting “Your Story” for inclusion in Our Magazine. *We’ve read it carefully*, but have decided to pass on it. We enjoyed the flying octopus and the lost banana, but found that the story was not enough for us, overall. Best of luck in placing this elsewhere.

Best regards,

The Editors

* – This is also a common phrase in form rejection letters. Remember, it’s only personal if they actually mention some detail from your work.

Your Typical “Tricked Ya!” Personal Rejection Letter

I don’t expect this to be something everyone can relate to. I felt the need to include it anyways as it’s happened to me.

Dear Writer,

Thank you for your submission. Formformform. We appreciate the chance to read it. Unfortunately, formformform. Form, best of luck, form.

That said, I did like the language here and the box of bribe chocolates you sent me. I hope to see more (chocolates) from you in the future.

Sincerely,

The Editor

I may have embellished it a little (I write stories, y’know), but this is essentially a rejection that I’ve received before. Nothing amazing, but it’s nice to get a little note inviting you to keep them in mind. It’s to say “hey, this wasn’t total rubbish” and I’ll take that if I can.

I will end this post on a positive note: In my experience, personal rejection letters have proved even more useful than acceptances. A quick “We’ll take it” doesn’t benefit your writing as much as a “We liked this, but this was not quite right.”. Keep collecting those rejections, and save them for a rainy writing day. That sounded cheesy… Anyways, they didn’t publish your work, but at least it left an impression on them. And if not, revise, revise and try again.

If you want to find out if your rejection letter was form or not or what tier, head over to the Rejection Wiki.