They say you have to paper a wall with rejection slips but I've been writing plays for school and novel-length manuscripts for so long, I just don't submit that often. Perhaps I'm making a mistake. I found out this week that a rejection can sometimes give just the right kind of encouragement.
I just got a letter about a short story I submitted to the Parsec Short Story Contest. Maybe I'm self-deluded but I can't help thinking that the judge's comments were very encouraging:
She called my manuscript "very professional...You have a clever story line, you write well, with a nice mix of dialogue and action, and an interesting use of the contest theme." The nicest part of all was when she said "I expect to see your name again, in professional magazines, other genre venues and maybe next year's contest! Good luck with your professional career."
While I know a lot of this might be said just to make me feel good, I'm going to take any compliments and encouragement I can get.
The criticism was very helpful too. I didn't make it into the top 20 out of 133 valid entries. The problem was the "resolution" to my story and "little plot holes." I find plotting the most challenging part of writing for a fiction audience and it never hurts to be reminded of it. Like most people trying to get better at something, a little negative feedback is necessary to help me direct my efforts at the weak spots. In all, I was delighted to get so much feedback from the contest coordinator, Ann Cecil. Thanks Ann, you really made my day.
To celebrate my good mood, I wrote a brand new story this weekend (Drafted Saturday and edited a bit Sunday, finished today). It's a light toned YA SF piece called "Marshmallow Apocalypse." I've sent it off to Julia Czerneda and Susan MacGregor, editors of the up-coming anthology, Tesseracts 15. I am definitely hoping to not get a rejection. Wish me luck!