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.