About a week ago, I submitted by dissertation piece - a short story of 6,500 words - to ParsecInk's new anthology, Triangulation: End of the Rainbow. It said on their website that they have never commisioned anything over 5,000 words, though they wouldn't rule it out. I decided to give it a bash.
After reading their previous anthology, Triangulation: Dark Glass, and listening to their very helpful podcasts, I knew they only published the best quality stuff. And these were people who knew what they were talking about, too.
After I had submitted the story, part of me knew it wouldn't quite cut it. But I was still pleased with the story overall, and had a shred of hope.
Today I recieved the rejection, which read:
Thanks for sending this story our way, but we've decided to pass. While we found the opening intriguing, the story moved too slowly for us. There's some good world building here, but it's faintly reminiscent of Children of Men (the movie) and not really novel enough (from our perspective) to carry a story of this length.
We wish you luck in placing this elsewhere and will be happy to consider other stories from you that fit our theme.
That last comment is good news. They obviously liked my writing, just not the story. I was glad that Steve Ramey was the Assistant Editor who got to look at my story, because he always posts about individual stories on his blog. Which meant I got a little bit more insight. On his blog he writes:
This starts out quite promisingly, with a hint of near future complication, but soon begins to stretch into a simpler tale that lacks the substance to support so many words. There’s some interesting world building, though it feels faintly reminiscent of Children of Men (the movie, at least). There’s not enough newness to carry the idea and not enough narrative to carry the length. Plot elements are a little obvious in places. The actual writing is good, often very good, and the voice engaging. Pass to second read.
Steve then goes on to talk about his 'pick of the slush pile'...
And this week’s slushy goes to — drum roll, please — Story 1. It’s too long for its idea, which is not really novel enough, but it features an intriguing hook, engaging voice, and smooth delivery that set it apart from the others this week.
So as far as rejections go, at least I know it was a good'un! And I've been given some things to think about. I have a few ideas how to improve my story, though I'm not quite sure what the obvious plot elements were, and would have been more than happy to have them pointed out to me. As far as the 'Children of Men' comparison goes, yes, it does have an extremely similar theme (not only to the film, but the book too, as well as Atwood's 'The Handmaid's Tale'), but I was hoping I had created an original angle. I guess I have to work on that too.