Thursday, September 15, 2011

A bit of rejection can do you good

Here’s another piece of good news I want to mention. I’ve finally had a story accepted by Metazen, the international literary magazine based in Canada.

I say finally because they’ve rejected two of my stories so far this year. This is a case of third time lucky.

Having a story turned down is never pleasant, but in this case their kindly worded rejections inspired me to try harder. When I sat down to submit the original draft of the piece they finally accepted I took a last look at it at realised that, no, it just wasn’t quite good enough.

The story was solid and people had already said some kind things about it. There was a strong central idea, the right degree of cleverness, all that sort of stuff. But the language just wasn’t working as hard as it needed to.

There were weak metaphors and sections that dragged. I started editing and began to notice other flaws; and there wasn’t enough room for the reader to step in and do their share of the work. I ended up rewriting most of it.

I’m particularly happy that the story they’ve decided to publish is Eggbox Eyeballs.

This is the piece that I performed as street literature recently. I worked with a group of other writers to find a way of presenting this piece live: knowing I'd be sharing the story with them was another reason for revising that inadequate first draft.

It pleases me that one short piece of writing can appeal to bemused pensioners on the streets of an English seaside town and literary connoisseurs on the far side of the Atlantic.

The story will be out in November.

4 comments:

dan powell said...

Congrats on the publication with Metazen. Looking forward to seeing your work up there.

Neil said...

Thanks for that, Dan. And thanks also for those kind words you said about West of Aran on your Tumblr.

Elaine Winter said...

Fantastic news Neil, congratulations! I like your uplifting take on rejection too.

Neil said...

Cheers. Rejection goes with the job. You have to find a way of dealing with it.

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