it's a great life, if you don't weaken (matociquala) wrote,
it's a great life, if you don't weaken

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Kids? Don't do this. Ever.

So, as some of you know, I read slush for Ideomancer. Which means I also reject slush for Ideomancer.

I am, in fact, a bottom-level slush reader, which means I get my share of what comes in over the transom, unfiltered and uncensored.

When I reject something, I try to explain why. Even if it is rejected in the first couple of paragraphs, it's generally because I know what the problem is, and I know why we won't be buying the story. The urge behind this, believe it or not, is charitable. One does not learn in the absence of feedback.

The professional thing to do when one is confronted with a rejection is to read it, shrug, internalize any useful comments, ignore any crazy talk, and go write another story.

The unprofessional thing to do is this:

>Dear [Author Name Redacted];

Thank you for sending us "[Redacted]," but I'm afraid this
isn't quite right for Ideomancer. I needed something more to draw me
into the story than exposition, no matter how clever the world you
created was, and I found this story lacked conflict and a stake for
the narrator.

Elizabeth Bear

Dear Ms. Bear:
You know, I have to take exception to your comment. It just shows that you didn't bother to read all of my story. It is not all exposition, though it is heavy in the first person format and I was going for an O. Henry feel, which you obviously don't care for. But don't say it's "all" exposition unless you read the entire story and actually felt that way about it. Considering the feedback I received from Critique Partners before I sent this story out, if you had read the entire story, you wouldn't have made that remark.  People bawled over this story because it touched them. And you're telling me it's all exposition. This tells me you never finished it.
I know you're busy. I'm not saying you should read all of everything that comes across your computer screen, but in my opinion, you shouldn't bother offering personal comments on other writer's work unless you have taken the time to read all of what they have written.  Otherwise just send a nice form letter saying it's not what Ideomancer needs right now, thanking them for their submission, please try again in the future. Form letters aren't bad unless they're badly written (such as the ones by SF&F that say casually, "I'll give it a pass"). 
You're an intelligent writer. You should understand these things by now.  Please do better next time.


First of all, if you're going to argue with a rejection, don't.

Second, if you are going to argue with a rejection, don't.

Third? If you are going to argue with a rejection, make sure you are arguing with what the rejection actually said, and not your projections thereunto. Also, don't put scare quotes around words that don't exist in the note you are ostensibly quoting.

Fourth, editors talk to each other.

Fifth, yes, I will tell John who can't remember the name of the magazine he works for, and who doesn't approve of his grammar.

Sixth, Ideomancer has a database in which we enter the name and author of every story, its disposition, etc. It has a comments field.

What do you all suppose the comment field of this author's story now says?*

(The UnSub's letter reproduced above for teaching/demonstration and educational purposes.)

*Hint: It's not "[redacted] is a real joy to work with, and should be encouraged to resubmit."

Tags: face down in the cheerios again, industry, slush monkey

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