Monday, 7 December 2009

I will tame that beast named, Clarity


My watchwords for 2010 are Clarity and Focus  (it's so important I feel like putting it in fancy font). Here are some examples of rejections from 2009...

You are a good writer, but I found this story too confusing in the beginning. I think you need to concentrate on the focus of the story, i.e., what are you trying to say? (Abyss & Apex)

This had some evocative description, but I hadn't the faintest clue what was going on during most of it. (Every Day Fiction)

The details and ideas are marvelous, but we spent a bit too much of this scratching our heads. (Shimmer)

I took several hits on the head re clarity before I sat down to tackle it, we're still mid battle I'm sure, but I'm hoping to have sorted the beast out before 2010 makes me another year older. 2009 has provided me with quite a lot of valuable advice in the form of rejection letters, but I think the below is the one that really struck a chord and left me with a eureka moment (we've all had those, right?)

Some great potential to the premise, but all of these interesting ideas (wings! 10,000 years of waiting! dead father glowing!) are thrown out and then left hanging. Take the time and write the full story - it sounds more like the plot of a novel than a piece of flash fiction. (Every Day Fiction)

I swear the above made me pull up my socks to my thighs, which is quite an achievement for ankle socks.

18 comments:

Rabid Fox said...

My rejections have consisted of canned responses thus far, nothing so personal as what you've received. Still, the constructive stuff is good to read. I'm sure 2010 is going to be a banner year for you.

Cate Gardner said...

I have plenty of canned responses too but I tend to delete those. I really hope 2010 rocks for all of us.

Aaron Polson said...

Great rejections, Cate. (if rejections are ever "great") Focus and clarity: check. Knowing is, as they say, half the battle.

Cate Gardner said...

I really am struggling with clarity, but it's a fight I intend to win.

Jamie Eyberg said...

a personalized rejection is a great step forward, not backward, in my opinion.

Rebecca Nazar said...

Ah, sweet personal rejection, what a bittersweet kiss you are. At least they're snogging with you. ;)

Jeremy D Brooks said...

Personalized rejections == Love

Cate Gardner said...

Jamie, I agree.

Rebecca, I prefer to think they're blowing kisses.

Jeremy, I do treasure them.

katey said...

I struggle with the opposite-- overexplaining every damn thing. (Well, I'm better than I used to be, but... yeah. Thank god for beta readers.) Somewhere, we'll meet in the middle!

Those are some pretty awesome rejections, though.

Natalie L. Sin said...

Imagine if you have been wearing knee-highs!

Cate Gardner said...

Katey, in a rejection from Brain Harvest - Over-obviousness and excessive obscurity is a tightrope, and I feel like you fall off a couple of times. I'm always bruising my knees.

Natalie, ouch!

Michele Lee said...

This is a really good idea. Unfortunately most of my personal rejections are "This story didn't fit our needs for this issue" or "We have this theme better covered elsewhere, so consider this a near miss."

How do you "fix" that??

Laura Eno said...

Personal rejections are awesome. At least you know why, instead of left wondering.
Rudolph rocks!

Alan W. Davidson said...

I have grown very found of the EDF personal rejections over the past few months. You go girl, with those self-improvements.

Anton Cancre said...

Just an input from the reader's end:
The ambigouity and slipstream-like surreality of your work is one of the things I have enjoyed most when reading it. Sure, it makes my head hurt, but its the good kind of hurt. I'm not saying to toss clarity out the window, but please don't stop twisting my brain.

Barry Napier said...

Nice to know I'm not the only one who collects rejections for the sake of motivation...

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Cate Gardner said...

Michelle, poison all the other writers who get there before you. :D

Laura, he's the king of the pack.

Alan, those listed were my faves.

Anton, what a lovely thing to say. :D

Barry, we're insane.