Is it gauche to track your rejections publicly?
Wait, I’m talking about rejections of fiction submissions, here. Tracking other rejections publicly is gauche, but sometimes necessary for healing, I suppose. But is it cool for someone to mention when they’ve had a story rejected from a fiction market? I don’t really know. Maybe it is. I can’t say I ever read such comments too closely.
I don’t know. I just don’t know.
Well, anyway, this one I will mention publicly, since it’s a biggish deal.
I got my first rejection of the year, and only the second one of my life, for a little story I sent at the last minute to Nature magazine, which was publishing short stories in its Futures column. The column is closing up in December and stopped taking submissions recently. I got a story in, but finally the editor said no. But the nice thing was, he said no in a very positive, encouraging way. It was just a little too similar to something published earlier this year, which is understandable — I ran across the story a few days ago and went, “Oh, no!” But he spoke very well of it, and I’m going to take the little thing, dust it off, consider revising it, perhaps — expanding it beyond the very tight 850-950 words limit of the Nature guidelines — and then send it out again.
For those curious, the first rejection of my life was from the Tesseracts anthology, back in 1996 or ’97, I think. I still have the wonderful letter somewhere: the rejecter instructed me to send the story elsewhere, and mention his name when I did so, for a story that, when I got it back, didn’t look like the kind of thing I wanted my name on anymore. A Serbian soldier who died, had an OOBE in which he slipped home to say goodbye to his wife, and notice that she was pregnant, and see the spirit of a little girl slip into her belly. It was a kind of reincarnation story, with the poor guy’s previous existence having been that of a pathetically repentant Nazi who meets the ghost of a child victim and an old angelic (read: scary) man, and witnesses lots of ghostly activity in Auschwitz, which the man suddenly begins to remember after he dies… for it was his previous life. It was supposed to be part of a much larger project, but after a few months of reading firsthand accounts of Holocaust survivors, I couldn’t keep doing it. It was making me, well, let’s say it was making me unwell to stare into that particular abyss.
But I still have the old story on file, somewhere. I am a data packrat.
Ah well, no more blogging. I need to get a story into shape to send out. Two, in fact, before the end of the month. Eeek!