Writing Good Stories That Get Rejected

So, it happened again. Twice in one day. Again.

Let me back up a little.

Recently, I decided to write a story for a specific market. The procrastinator that I am, I did not realize the deadline was approaching until the week of the deadline. No problem. I had an idea for a story. I could sit down and write a 1500-2000 word story in a week.

I sat down to write the story. It turned out to be almost 4000 words when I finished, 1700 of them written the day of the deadline. I submitted with an hour to spare. Made it.

I liked writing the story. Even as I was writing, I told myself that if it didn’t sell, it was still a good experience to right this story I had been thinking of for years. If nothing else, it would make the start of a novel. But really, I wanted to see it accepted.

The editor has a reputation for fast rejections. I went beyond that period and heard nothing. I started to hope and daydream a little. It would be good to get published in this market again. (I had sold to them previously though it had been many years ago.) How much was I going to get paid again? It was nice to think about.

Then today, I got the rejection letter. It was a very nice rejection letter. The editor did in fact like the story a lot. However, the story wouldn’t fit in the current publication because of the project’s budget. I have gotten similar rejections before. I was mentally writing this post when a few hours later, I got another rejection. Once again, the editor really liked the story (in fact, one editor had sent me a compliment when I submitted it) but it didn’t fit in with the rest of the anthology. Double sigh.

So, yes, this is frustrating. You can write good stories that editors like and still not get an acceptance. I don’t blame the editors. The have limited budgets and need to think about the best thing for their publications. It simply is frustrating.

An editor once wrote that getting published is one of the few pleasures in life that is neither fattening nor immoral. I write to get published and to have that nice sense of accomplishment and pleasure. But sometimes, it just doesn’t happen. I hope that those people who did get acceptances are enjoying their turn at experiencing this pleasure.

I’ll get over this frustration. Later tonight, Hermes will jump into my arms and start purring and cuddle with me. The love of a pet is another one of those pleasures in life that is neither fattening nor immoral. Oh, and I bought a donut. Chocolate with chocolate icing. Because sometimes, you just don’t care if it’s fattening.

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