Monthly Archives: December 2013

Every Good Story

Must come to an end.
And I’ve approached the end of this chapter of mine. For the past semester, I have been the editorial assistant at Bluestem, and I don’t regret a minute of it. I have learned a lot about reading and writing, and I hope that you learned something from these blog posts as well.
I’ve written about print versus digital, rejection, and even how and where to submit work, but now it is the time to say goodbye. At Bluestem, I have learned how to be a better writer by posting these blogs. I’ve also learned how to be a better reader by reading manuscripts and proofreading my work.
I, however, learned the most from my supervisors: Dr. Knight, fiction editor, and Dr. Abella, editor-in-chief. They’ve taught me how to work in a professional setting and how to proofread my work. I wouldn’t be where I am if not for them. They’ve taught me the ins and outs of working at a literary journal and I am forever in debt to their advice. I can’t thank them enough for their support and their help along the way.
I also need to thank all of you (my readers and contributors of Bluestem). You’ve read, commented, and appreciated these posts, and there is nothing better than knowing that people out there read my posts. You gave me a reason to keep writing and I hope I did the same for you. But before I go, I want to leave you with a poem about saying goodbye. Enjoy!

As always,
Keep writing.


What Hurts The Most?


We’ve been through it a million times and probably a million times more before we die. Writers deal with rejection on a daily basis. Whether it’s an inbox full of one-line rejection emails to a letter telling you where you went wrong, writing will always come with rejection. Edan Lepucki gives in his article, “Ask the Writing Teacher: Fifty Shades of Rejection,” examples of magazine editors and forms rejection.

Lorin Stein, editor of the Paris Review, explains “we have two forms of rejections: One reads “Thank you for submitting your work…We regret that we are unable to publish it.’ The other includes the line “we like your work and would like to see more of it.’” These rejections are simple and familiar to many writers. The problem with these rejections is that they don’t give a writer sufficient information on making their work better, and they aren’t beneficial for a writer who wants to better her style.

Michael Nye, managing editor of The Missouri Review, writes, “we encourage our interns and editors to provide encouragement about the manuscript. Something such as ‘we really enjoyed the energy and detail of penultimate scene between Paul and Joanna.’ It’s important for our writers to know which pages worked best for us.” This is the kind of rejection a writer should want to receive, because knowing what pages don’t work and which ones do is helpful. When writers have an idea of what a magazine looks for in writing, then the next time they submit, their writing can be improved upon.

Michelle Meyering, editor of The Rattling Wall, writes about a rejection that is extremely rare which is “emailing a writer and asking them to ‘hold’ a submission that I love for a future issue of The Rattling Wall.” The problem is that once your piece is on hold, you can’t submit it elsewhere, but it beats any form of rejection above. When asked to hold a piece of work, what do you have to lose? Plus, you can always withdraw the piece at anytime. It is better to be on hold than receive a flat no.

As a reader for a literary magazine, I hate saying no to writer’s work because I know how hard it is to get published, but at the same time, not every piece deserves to be published. This doesn’t mean that a piece can’t be reworked and then submitted again, because it can and I wish more people would resubmit. But, without sufficient rejection letters, how can we ask writers to resubmit when they have no idea where they went wrong? I support giving a little criticism because in rejection, a little criticism isn’t going make a writer feel any worse, if anything, it’ll make them a little better.


Until next time,

Keep writing.