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editors suck
sunday, november 10, 2002

editors just plain suck ok, so maybe not all of them, but most of them seem to have one goal in mind: beat up writers.

rejection slips suck in general. they make you doubt your ability as a writer, no matter what anyone else says. i've had professors who've told me i am a damn strong writer and will get published. too bad they're not editors. the really frustrating thing is these were not professors who said such things to be nice. they gave honest opinions. and none of them were easy. as much as i love my friends' praise, the comments by these profs meant so much more. but, as i said, they are not editors.

an editor could easily soften the blow by commenting on what the writer is doing right. too many think "we hope you find a place for your work" or "don't give up" is enough to keep a writer going. why should it? we all know it's canned, even on a rejection letter that has personal comments. still, at least some editors try to give a writer that much. most don't even try.

too many rejection letters are pre-formed slips with no personal comments good or bad. i'm supposed to think an editor actually took the time to read my submission when i get a canned rejection? now, to be fair, i know some markets get thousands of submission every month and a canned slip might just be the easiest way to approach rejections. but even a small comment on what was good and what needed work or why it didn't fit the market would be great. how hard can it be to write something like "nina is a great character, but the conflict is a little weak"? i'm not even asking for suggestions, just an honest "here's what's good, here's what needs work" kind of comment.

which leads to my next bitch. less than half the editors i've sent to bother with any comments, but those that do give negative only. apparently telling me i where is suck is supposed to be motivation enough for me to work on it and not suck.

you get beaten down with negatives enough and you figure you just might as well give up.

and here's the real kicker: most editors can't even agree on what you're bad at. so far i've been told my ending is weak, my middle needs to be torn out and rewritten, and my beginning isn't interesting enough from 3 different editors . . . on the same story. if i go by that, i pretty much suck all around and shouldn't be writing at all. i know my endings are weak - that seems to be the one consistent criticism i get, but if i can't do beginnings or middles either then i really shouldn't be writing at all.

this is where a comment on what i do well would be good. if one editor likes my middle and another doesn't, i know i can write just that some people don't like what i'm writing about. yea, so i'm supposed to know that anyway. i'm just so snowed under by what i'm doing wrong, it's hard to keep that in mind.

people don't do well under constant criticism. rejections for me now stand at 9. my remaining markets were closed or no response. a whopping 13 attempts to get something in print and still nothing.

yea, i'm being a baby. i realize every writer goes through this and some have been rejected several dozen times on the same piece before publication. but i'm allowed to sulk at keast a little. number 9 came in today and i'm still stinging from the blow. however, i am also refusing to give up. i immediately emailed the story elsewhere.

maybe it's not the editors. maybe writers are just gluttons for punishment.

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to make different without changing into something else; castrate, spay; to become different