I heard this morning that one of the scifi mags I apply to has a kind of step-ladder in their rejection language:
– “doesn’t grab” = didn’t read more than a paragraph or two
– “didn’t hold” = didn’t read more than a couple paragraphs
– “didn’t work” = read the whole thing, more or less
Having received all of these, I felt kind of stabbed to hear this, because now I realize that a bunch of them, despite getting nice rejections, didn’t even get read all the way through. Probably.
I didn’t know you, too, were a sciffy fellow (reader and poster on your sportsblog). Alas, my understanding is that most of your rejections to any market weren’t read all the way through, which isn’t really (or at least isn’t only) a commentary on the quality of your fiction writing. Editors can generally tell before they’ve read every word of a story if it’s the right fit and the right story for them and their market. Quality is far from the only consideration.
Of course, you’re surrounded by people who know much more about the inner workings of the SF world than I do. You’re making me wax nostalgic about my Clarion days. I’ll have to stay clear of the Mariner blog for a time to regain perspective 🙂