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Rejections

Rejection 218

Peter Slapnicher

Daniel McDermott at Bananafish rejected the second story I sent him and penned this letter to you to explain his decision.  I'm tickled: Dear Rejection Collection Readers,

I think this Rejection Collection proves that even the most talented writers will be rejected far more than they are accepted.  Rejection is part of professional writing and merely represents a specific editor's opinion.  It doesn't mean your work is inferior.  (Although, critique and feedback, especially from a qualified professional, can be an invaluable part of the learning process.)  If you believe in the strength of your work, perhaps you did not submit to the right editor or publication.  Or perhaps you just caught the editor on a bad day (it happens) or right after he/she found a horsefly scampering through their green tea latte (it happened).  Here is a satirical example of our frustration: http://themurkyfringe.com/2010/02/submission-guidelines-revised/ I am a writer first and an editor second.  As much as I despise the gut-churning sensation of having my work rejected, it is far less atrocious and migraine-inducing than the act of crafting and sending a rejection letter to a talented, deserving writer.
In regards to Rejections #215... Yes, I contacted Jac Jemc personally and asked her to contribute, because she's witty and awesome and talented like that.  And, she is correct; if we have a minimum word length we should say so, which we've done in our Submission Guidelines: "Submissions should be no less than 500 words..."  Jac is also correct in saying that if a story doesn't float our boat we should just say so - we always do and always will.  Jac's submission was exquisite, but simply too short.
The current requested (re)submission, "The Dreaded Miscellany," is also exquisitely written.  It's creative, poetic, and filled with relatable emotion.  However, it is being rejected because I felt an abundance of passive voice and extenuating vocabulary distracted from the story's tempo and muddled its clarity.  I'd also like to see a few less modifiers and more objective description.  I attempted a thorough edit of the piece, but, in the end, I felt my changes were infringing on Jac's personal style a bit too much.
I would love to see more of Jac Jemc's work.  I still think she is a wonderful writer, and sometimes it takes a few tries to make a fitting writer/editor connection.  And if Jac were here, in this dank, Harvard Square coffee shop with me, I'd buy her a fly-less latte and discuss the many fascinating aspects of her literary greatness.
Regards,
~ Daniel McDermott

Editor - bananafishmagazine.com