Monday, 23 December 2013

Rejection – Number 192

A few days ago, I received a polite email from the editor of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, rejecting my story ‘Golden Idol, Iron God’. He said the story was a ‘near miss’ and called me a ‘good writer’, but in the end, it just didn’t quite make the cut. He also sent back a copy of the manuscript, complete with some notes and questions. This is going above and beyond for an editor, and I must say that most of his points seem fair.

I haven’t written much fiction lately; I’ve been too busy with non-fiction and wargaming. I wrote ‘Golden Idol, Iron God’ almost ten years ago, and it remains the only story I have written about Stevan the Targeteer that has not seen print.

So why 192? That is the number of times I have had one of my fiction stories rejected. If it sounds like a lot, I assure you it is not. I’m sure some people have been rejected thousands of times. It is part of being a writer. If you can’t learn to live with rejection, you’ll never make it in the business, so it is important to find a coping mechanism. Stephen King says he would impale his rejection letters on a railroad spike. Personally, I just keep count, and celebrate whenever I reach a milestone.

Being only 8 rejections away from the big 200 makes me want to write a few more stories and get them sent out. Only by sending them out can I get them rejected. And only by risking rejection can I ever hope to get anything accepted.

My first ‘professional’ fiction sale was a Stevan story entitled ‘Stand at Llieva’ which appeared in Black Gate Magazine 5, pictured above.

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