So this week I fired up good old Random.org and had it pick a letter of the alphabet and a position, and thus I reached into my vast trove of rejection (and a few acceptance) letters and pulled out this little gem, from when I submitted a story called “The Magician’s Finger” to a magazine called Glimpses:
This could well be the most extensively annotated rejection slip I’ve ever received. The main reason for the rejection, it appears, was that “The Magician’s Finger” was too long (*INSERT JOKE HERE*) for insertion (*INSERT ADDITIONAL JOKE HERE*) into the magazine. As I recall, and as you will see if you click here, this was quite a long story, as many of my stories tended to be—”Cold Turkey” excepted, of course. In fact, there was that one time I went through my story “Suicide Corners” snippig out words and sections to get it down to exactly the upper limit of a magazine’s guidelines, only to be accused by the editor of that magazine of lying about the word count; unusually, for me, I responded to defend myself (I had spent quite a while editing that story to get it to fit their guidelines without breaking it), and that exchange with the editor ultimately led to its being published by that magazine. So that was cool.
Anyway, a few general observations about this particular rejection letter and associated form:
- The letter makes reference to a prologue which, in a later version of the story, appears to no longer be present, so it seems I took their advice and removed that. See what a cooperative author I would have been, agents and editors?
- Any checklist that includes options for both “Characters too stupid” and “Too predictable” is a checklist that I can support 100%.
- I also like the option for “Surprise ending not particularly surprising”. (I’m looking at you, The Village.)
The rejection letter ends with an invitation to submit again to Glimpses, which I did do; there are more rejection slips from them in there. I don’t remember if I ever actually got into the magazine or not. I would have to check my stack of author’s copies, which, like my stack of rejection letters, I still have every single one of, but I can’t do it right now because the cat is making muffins on my lap and of course I can’t disturb her*. But if I remember later, I’ll go and have a look …