Okay, so I posted a little prematurely that I would have a short story included in the October edition of eFiction Magazine. Yesterday I got the following email from Doug Lance, the Editor:
The editorial staff feels that your latest submission “Christmas” could use a bit more polish before it goes into an issue. Would you like to workshop it? Or work on it yourself and try resubmitting the piece?
Thanks for contributing!!
Certainly, I’ve had rejection notices before, but Doug’s email was different. First off it was upbeat and positive. It didn’t just tell be that my work was unworthy or that it wasn’t what was trending now. More importantly, it included something none of the other rejection notices ever did ― options.
“Would you like to workshop it? Or work on it yourself and try resubmitting the piece?” Wow, options. Normally, it’s either yes or no, worthy or unworthy. I knew that the eFiction website had a Workshop for authors, but I had never really considered it. Basically the Workshop is a place where you can upload whatever you’re working on and other authors will read it and provide comments. I just uploaded it yesterday, so I haven’t gotten any comments back yet, but I have seen comments made about other’s works. I’m very impressed by the level of detail some of the reviewers provide and their willingness to help out a fellow author. Writing is typically a solitary pursuit and I’ve always been reticent to share, but I can see the potential for a workshop if the members are really active and dedicated.
My other option, of course, was to work on the story myself which I am doing as I await results from the Workshop. If you’ve done any writing at all, and especially if you self-edit as I do, you probably have a pretty good idea what I’m about to reveal about my own efforts. Yes, indeed, as soon as I started rereading my story several grammatical errors, including dropped and repeated words, jumped out at me. I know I was in a hurry to call the piece done and submit another story, but if those errors glared at me, they must have screamed at the editors.
Rejecting the story was the right thing to do. I’m a little embarrassed because I submitted something that was not up to eFiction’s standards or my own, but I’m not upset or discouraged. The way eFiction presented the rejection made all the difference. It told me that while my piece needed polishing, I was not alone in the effort and help was available if I chose to avail myself of it. I have chosen to workshop my piece, make it better, and resubmit it at some point.
I was rejected, but for the first time I actually feel good about it.
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