First Rejection

I suppose this makes it official: I am truly a writer now. This weekend brought with it my first ever rejection letter.

It was in reference to the piece I had submitted to Woman’s Weekly in July. It seems to have taken an age to come through, but since I attended the Live Show in September I knew that it would not be accepted, as it was one of the stories I took to be critiqued. Therefore, despite the letter noting it was not possible to provide comments on individual manuscripts, I am aware of just why it was not accepted.

Firstly, I began with unattributed dialogue: which is something, I learned, that the Fiction Editor does not like, as it tends to immediately confuse the reader. It also suffered from inconsistent viewpoint – the thought of the two sisters who appeared were often wrapped around one another, making it difficult to discern whose story it actually was. This was another point: it wasn’t clear who was the narrator or who the story really belonged to. There was no question posed right at the beginning that was answered in the end, and the issues were too big for such a short story. It could also have benefited, according to Della, with being edited down to make it a concise character piece, or else to have been extended into a novel – as the idea appeared to be there!

While it might be hard to accept a first rejection, the fact that I understand the reasons for it make it much easier to bear. I certainly agree with a lot of the points made during the critique and now realise the flaws to look out for in future projects. It hasn’t put me off though. I’ve since thought up a new way to present the story and potentially pitch it a little differently to Woman’s Weekly or some other, similarly marketed, magazine. In fact, I’m looking forward to re-writing it and trying out my ideas.

What I am certain of, however, is that this is the first of many rejections to come – if learning lessons from others can be taken into account. I have only just begun my writing career, in the sense that I have begun submitting my writing for publication, rather than hoarding it for myself as a hobby to keep me amused. Editing has, thus far, not played a major part in my writing, therefore it’s quite a steep learning curve to be on. Yet, it is also a new challenge and a fresh experience to learn from. While not all my rejections may come with such detailed critiquing – even if this one was received separately – it does give me an understanding of that to look out for when trying to improve on my work.


16 responses to “First Rejection

  1. Pingback: Those all important first words… | The struggle to be a writer that writes

  2. Pingback: A happy ending… | The struggle to be a writer that writes

  3. Rejection letters suck. I haven’t gotten one in awhile, but look forward to start collecting them again. I once heard a successful writer say that she could wallpaper her bathroom with them before she got her first sale. I kind of keep that as my benchmark, but I may end up wallpapering my whole house. Hang in there, Cat!

    • I once saw a movie/read a book where a character wallpapered their study with old maps collected from 2nd hand stores. I thought it was genius! If I’m going to wallpaper any of my rooms with rejection letters I’d better get submitting pronto! Kinda wanna build myself a whole ‘rejection wall just so I can have the pleasure of sticking my tongue out at it!
      PS – Read your Swan story again Dan, it’s looking good! Couple of typos/spellings: I’ll try and get them to you soon.
      Cat x

  4. It’s never nice to get a rejection, even if you understand exactly why it happened. Sounds like you’re embracing the challenge, though!

    • It’s either embrace it or hide from it…so I might as well go for it: I have nothing to lose! And, as the tagline says, I’d much rather try and fail than never try at all. That phrase gets me through a lot in life!
      Thanks for reading, Cat

  5. That first rejection is a real milestone, everybody gets them, but I think you are right to say you feel you can describe yourself as a writer even though you aren’t published. It’s the readiness to put your work forward for others to read that makes you a writer.
    Thank you to to Sarahgracelogan for the tip about Scribophile. I will look at the website.

    • I have to admit I always assumed that publication would make me feel like a ‘writer’ but the act of writing, and then sending that writing out into the world has definitely made me feel more like a writer than I have ever done before.
      I actually can’t wait to start submitting again and see what happens!
      Thanks for commenting, Cat

  6. Would it be really bad if I said ‘hooray’?

    Not at your rejection, of course.

    But at you being able to see yourself (even more) as a real writer. And at being able to understand how to improve your writing further.


    • I can forgive you your ‘hooray’ at my rejection post! lol! I almost said it myself – because while I knew it was coming, having it in black and white (and a bit of pink for the WW logo) makes it all the more real and reminded me that I took that risk in submitting.
      So yay – go me!
      Take Care, x

  7. Sorry to hear about your rejection! But, as you say, it makes it easier when you can see where you went wrong/what they didn’t like, and learn how to improve.

    I don’t know if you’ve heard of it but I just started using this writing community called Scribophile, and it’s amazing for getting a lot of diverse, constructive criticism on your writing 🙂 It’s a steep learning curve!

    • Thanks, I might try it out once NaNo is over and I need to re-write and start up competitions again. I do feel I need the criticism now: like you say, it might be a steep learning curve – but the important thing is the learning…
      Thanks for commenting, hope your own writing is going well (I’m still reading the blog and do intend to come to a writing group one month – but I’m sick at the minute! 8o( Love Write-in Wednesdays tho!)
      Take Care, Cat

      • Yeah definitely, you can post novels too, chapter by chapter, so assuming I get time for Nano I think I’ll be putting it up there!

        It’s going okay, just slow 😀 How are you getting on with the novel?

        Sorry to hear you’re sick, hope you get better soon 🙂 x

      • Chapter by chapter critiquing…interesting. Shame I haven’t yet chapterised my novel! 8oS One for the editing stage methinks.
        Current novel going okay – except my characters aren’t really doing what I expected them to: they’re all in the same room (big finale) yet being quite polite…which is odd, cause they all really hate Madeline (or should).
        Being sick is not good for the word count, but am determined to finish before NaNo. *fingers crossed*

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