It's a hard pill to swallow. Our prose is an extension of who we are, what we are.
When our story, our novel is rejected, it is a pushing away of what makes us US.
Have you ever been told by a romantic partner, "It's not you; it's me."
You knew the truth: IT WAS YOU. Ouch!
What is the TRUTH about novel or story rejection?
EDITORS REJECT STORIES, GOOD AND BAD,
BECAUSE THEY FEEL THAT THE PARTICULAR STORY WILL NOT GIVE THEIR READERS
THE KIND OF SPECIFIC READING EXPERIENCE THEY WANT OR EXPECT
IN THAT PARTICULAR VENUE.
EDITOR'S REASONS for buying a story:
2. The story has a clear-cut, likable character with whom the reader can identify.
3. The story tells, and solves, a clear-cut narrative problem which the main character solves by his or her own efforts.
4. The story makes the reader glad he read it, therefore giving the reader a (see #1 above) Satisfying Reading Experience.
A magazine, an anthology, even publishing houses ...
they have only finite space and have to consider balance in their publication(s).
Rejecting your story may have broken the heart of the editor ...
or they may have buried it in their cat's kitty litter box.
You know which option I like to think is relevant to my stories!!
You will probably not be given a reason for rejection ... or you will be given a vague, sugar-coated one.
1.) If you were the editor's best friend and you submitted a story she couldn't use, she would reject it.
2.) If you were her mother and you submitted a story she couldn't use, she would reject it.
3.) If you were Jesus at the right hand of God and you submitted a story she couldn't use ...
come on, she would accept it.
Hey, we're talking possible damnation here!
Bottom line: you were rejected. People in Bosnia only wish that was their greatest problem.
We have to move on ... or don't.
We learn from the blows we take ... or we languish in them.
Deep down you know which option is more healing.
In the end, we get compared to other good stories with similar themes.
If another rings purer or more evocative than ours .... guess what?
This is the real world of publication.
Yeah, you're outclassed ... but you entered these woods of your own volition.
It will not be just one bear ...
oh, no it will be polar, grizzly, and Kodiak.
Your story will have to run through a gauntlet of judges that just don't care about you at all.
Not a bit.
They care about themselves.
They do not want to choose a story that the readers will label "Awful!"
and in turn paint those judges with the same tar.
May we all someday experience that singular joy of being accepted.
And if it means anything ... I like you. :-)