This happened a while ago, and it didn’t help an already crippling month.
I suppose I get my hopes up for no reason each time I submit, but… dammit, everything went so right with this story for so long. I wrote “I Am A Mountain (y estoy hundiendo)” on a strict schedule after months of letting the tale marinate in my brain, just because it was a story I wanted to tell. I edited the work six weeks after I finished it, even though I doubted there would be a market for it. And, wouldn’t you know it, a submission call for an anthology appeared asking for diverse, unique superhero stories… just like the one I wrote! The stars aligned, and in the end they spelled out a heavenly message reading, “We like this story, but not LIKE like it,” a kind message that’s still as indefinite as the depths of space.
That was then. Here’s what I do to move forward.
My favorite movie of all time is “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” I’d love to discuss the characters, story, and relevance of this film at a later date, but I imagine you all have the same question on your minds: “Do you watch this movie on Halloween, or on Christmas?” My answer: I watch it whenever I get a rejection letter. More than just counterbalancing a low point in my life, watching this movie (and its climactic song) reminds me that failure does not define you, and that your dignity is essentially invincible. So the next time you get a rejection letter, use that stumbling block as an excuse to watch your favorite movie. Or, you could watch mine and sing along, from Jack’s mopey beginning to his triumphant end…
This isn’t my first rejection.
In fact, this isn’t even my first rejection from Glimmer Train. And that’s why it still hurts. My log here, the Submission Tracker, shows that my last attempt to get into Glimmer Train was 2013. Three years of improving my craft, and I can’t even get on the list of honorable mentions for their New Writers contest. What a waste.
The editors of Glimmer Train did email me to tell me that The College Station All-Male Feminist Union was a good read. Smacks of a form letter, I know, but I sent they a thank you and they responded by saying they look forward to my next story, so maybe their rejection isn’t as harsh as I make it out to be.
Going forward, I have two things to do before I try to get The College Station All-Male Feminist Union published again.
First off: I’ll try somewhere other than Glimmer Train. GT is still a good magazine, and I still hope to publish something there soon. But the satirical, tense, and (dare I say it?) rooted-in-American-experience nature of TCSAMFU doesn’t fit with a magazine that wants literary, introspective slices-of-life from a life outside of mainstream U.S. culture. At least, that’s the vibe I’m getting from the stories I’ve read in their magazines so far. The next story will have to match their interests.
The next step will be to take my story to other readers. That’s where websites like Scribophile and Critique Circle come in. What are they? They’re actually the successful versions of an idea I had independently, but an idea that I never had the resources to pull off. Writers post their work on Critique Circle or Scribophile for others to critique. You critique someone’s work, you get points based on how many words you use in commenting. When you get enough points, you spend them on publishing your own work. People review your work for points, and then the cycle begins again.
I used to use Scribophile, but I will now be posting my story on Critique Circle for reasons that are too embarrassing to post here. The main problem with Scribophile is that it’s popular to the point where you have to wait a month to get feedback. That’s why, a long time ago, I created a group called ‘The Line Is Too Damn Long,’ where I limit the pool of writers to about 50 or so. Check it out.
There will be more rejections in the coming months. But I imagine they’ll hurt less and less as I go on. In the meantime, I’ll leave all you aspiring writers with the song you need…
(Ok, fine, I’ll tell you why I’m not part of Scribophile anymore. I knew I needed a lot of karma, so I thought I was being clever. I gave a 500 word critique to a story yesterday— not as long as my usual ones, but still in-depth and answering the author’s questions regarding their work. I thought I’d pad out my review by typing “STOP READING HERE” at the end and then posting a few chapters from “My Immortal.” The reader gets a good critique, I get extra points, it all works out pretty well.
I log in today to find out that I’ve been permanently banned from Scribophile. I cannot create a new account, and all my work there has been deleted. No warning, no inquiry, just one slip-up and I’m gone. Looking back, I think there may have been a bot that detected plagiarism on the site, though I have no idea why it’s programed to remember one of the worst fanfics of all time. I sent an apology email to the man behind the website, but… yeah, I screwed up. I fought the law and you know the rest.)