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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

what slush readers talk about. (or) if we wrote really honest rejection letters...

[15:16] matociquala: Dear Author:
[15:17] matociquala: Thank you for sending us "My Bestest Story," but I'm afraid it's not very good.
[15:17] matociquala: We wish you luck in placing it elsewhere.
[15:17] matociquala: Sincerely, Elizabeth Bear.
[15:17] matociquala: We should do a blog thing on Honest Rejection Letters.
[15:17] leahbobet: heee.
[15:17] leahbobet: We should.
[15:17] matociquala: lemme reject this and we will. *g*
[15:17] leahbobet: Dear Author: condolences on getting stuck in that paper bag.  I wish you luck in writing your way out within the year.
[15:18] hawkwing_lb: hee
[15:18] matociquala: LOL
[15:18] matociquala: Dear Author:
[15:18] matociquala: You write reasonably pretty, but this is dull as stink.
[15:19] hawkwing_lb: ...should you ever have occasion to reject anything of mine, Leah, please, send me that rejection.
[15:19] matociquala: Dear Author: The human body does not do that.
[15:19] leahbobet: Dear Author:  Please to write with both hands on the keyboard.  I see that one creeping down to your waistband.
[15:19] leahbobet: No, I am utterly serious about this.
[15:19] leahbobet: Love, Editor.
[15:19] matociquala: eeeeee
[15:19] hawkwing_lb: :)
[15:19] hawkwing_lb: ick.
[15:19] leahbobet: Dear Author: I watched the Twilight Zone once too.
[15:19] matociquala: Dear Author: That word does not mean what you think it means.
[15:19] matociquala: Love, Bear
[15:19] leahbobet: heeeee.
[15:20] leahbobet: That is for the heroine guy.  *g*
[15:20] matociquala: Dear Author: Your participles are dangling. Please tuck in. Love, Bear.
[15:20] leahbobet: LOL
[15:20] hawkwing_lb: hee
[15:20] leahbobet: Dear Author: When your writers group says they want more exposition about how this works, they lied.
[15:20] matociquala: Leah, in a curious coincidence, winamp gives me the velvet underground, Heroin
[15:21] leahbobet: ...it was totally eavesdropping.
[15:22] matociquala: Dear Author: All your characters are assholes. Also, I am, pretty sure the vampire is going to eat the serial killer at the end. Love, Bear
[15:23] leahbobet: heeee
[15:23] leahbobet: Dear Author: I rejected this after one sentence.  It was all I needed.  Hang your head.
[15:23] leahbobet: And best of luck with the piece elsewhere!  Love, Leah.
[15:23] matociquala: Dear Author: No. Love, Bear
[15:23] tanaise: Dear Author:  I didn't even need to read your story to know it was bad. Love, Me.
[15:24] matociquala: Dear Author: Not just no, but hell no. Love, Bear
[15:24] leahbobet: Dear Author: Considering the list of markets that have taken your fiction, I am afraid that reading this attachment will give me some sort of genital herpes.  Thank you, Leah.
[15:24] matociquala: ow.
[15:24] matociquala: you just made me snarf Dogfish Head Raison D'etre.
[15:24] leahbobet: My genital health is important to me.
[15:24] leahbobet: heee sorry.
[15:24] matociquala: That is some kind of sin.
[15:24] matociquala: *g*
[15:25] matociquala: At least I didn't soak the laptop.
[15:25] matociquala: (that sounds dirty)
[15:25] matociquala: Dear Author: Three pages of italics is too much.
[15:25] matociquala: Love, Bear
[15:26] katallen: (one day the serial killer will eat the vampire)
[15:26] katallen: (what an amazing twist that would be!)
[15:26] hawkwing_lb: (serial vampire killers?)
[15:26] hawkwing_lb: (oh wait, we have those already)
[15:26] leahbobet: Dear Author: I do not need to be educated on your politics.  I imagine if you speak like this to your children, they will grow into serial killer vampires and eat you.  Love, Leah.
[15:26] katallen: ::grins::
[15:26] hawkwing_lb: hee
[15:27] matociquala: Dear Author, I have been rejecting you since 2001, and I'm not seeing any signs of improvement. Please take up knitting.
[15:27] matociquala: Love, Bear
[15:28] matociquala: Dear Author, This one was better!
[15:28] matociquala: No, really!
[15:28] matociquala: Please keep trying.
[15:28] matociquala: Love, and I mean it, Bear
[15:28] tanaise: Dear Author:  Best yet!  But still not saying much.
[15:28] leahbobet: Dear Author:  Pleasepleasepleaseplease stop doing that one little thing so I can give you money already.
[15:28] leahbobet: I have been trying to give you money for years now.
[15:28] matociquala: LOL
[15:28] leahbobet: Please.
[15:28] leahbobet: Love, Leah.
[15:28] matociquala: Oh god.
[15:29] matociquala: Yeah, I have a couple of those.
[15:29] leahbobet: It is with the gnashing of teeth.
[15:29] matociquala: Dear Author: Fix this, and I will buy your story.
[15:29] matociquala: Now go have a nervous breakdown in your blog.
[15:29] matociquala: And put Xs in my name so I can't ego-google it.
[15:29] matociquala: You think.
[15:29] matociquala: Love, Bear
[15:30] katallen: o.o
[15:32] matociquala: Professionalism is dead.
[15:33] matociquala: Dear Author: I feel sorry for your spouse. Love, Bear
[15:33] matociquala: Dear Author, when they said "confessional literature," they were not talking about confessing to mass murder. Love, Bear.
[15:33] leahbobet: *g*
[15:34] katallen: heee
[15:34] matociquala: P.S. I have a restraining order.
[15:34] leahbobet: Dear Author:  I'm sure if you found some undergrads they'd think you were very literary.
[15:35] hawkwing_lb: *protests on behalf of discriminating undergrads everywhere*

[15:52] tanaise: Also, I think we forgot "Perhaps therapy might be more useful than another story about how damaged your family is/made you."
[15:57] matociquala: Celia, and "Dear Author, honestly, all I want is a story that is interesting all the way through. Honest."


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I once got a rejection letter for a story that said "this is vapid, substance-free, style-obsessed crap so I'm rejecting it."

(The story was "Lobsters".)
But at least they were honest!

On the one hand, I'm mightily amused.

On the other hand, I'm suddenly dreadfully afraid that you might one day actually read something I wrote and have something along these lines to say about it :-D
Clearly your only recourse is not to suck. ;)

Dear Author... my entry

Dear author....

Thanks so much for sharing with us the most profoundly inappropriate example of electronic flatulence we have ever observed. This piece is so far from acceptable, that the light from acceptable will not arrive for 2 million years.

have a nice day

"Dear Author: Move out to the country and grow vegetables."

I keep thinking about what one of my writing teachers told me... about the writer who submitted a manuscript... and a few weeks later, got back a pile of ashes in response.
*picks self up off floor and climbs weakly back into chair*
Gosh, I love reading the chatroom transcript. I suppose it would be a terrific faux pas to ask whether I could sit in...

;-) Hang around for a while and get to know us.
Well now.

I think I'm okay with having to interpret the politically polite phrases used in rejection letters into self-encouraging delusions rather than brutal honesty. :p
When I started editing at the California Quarterly, I was warned not to write in a rejection what the previous editor had written, which was the two-word note, "Tree killer."

The California Quarterly is the lit magazine of the University of California at Davis, which is a tax-supported school. The writer was a California resident who, after receiving the rejection, called his state senator, and the senator actually came onto campus to ream the editorial board.
Is there a word for laughing and cringing at the same time? Linging? Craughing? Because that's what I'm doing. ;)
I vote for craughing.
Dear Author,

I know that you've had success placing your work with several major publications, and have even been nominated for numerous awards, but I can honestly say that neither I nor any of the people I know actually care for your pretentious literary wanking--including this. The fact that you're also a slush reader with delusions of grandeur makes me want to cry. Pass.

No love,


Alas, I too still get ten rejections for every sale.

It's the job.
OMG! Thank you so much. I am sure, should i ever try to get anything i write published, i would much prefer your rejection letters to a form letter anyday. :)

But then, a form letter does leave out the hope that perhaps they didn't read the book and that they have you mixed up with someone else. Something this personal ... well... you know you done suck!
Wonderfully harsh.... "Not just no, but hell no." *CACKLE*

Dear author,
Enclosed please find my eyes. I won't be needing them anymore.
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