Most of us have ‘favourite’ stories, poems or articles that for some reason have never made it into print. For some
reason we particularly like these pieces but it seems no-one else does! Recently I resurrected a couple of stories which had unsuccessfully done the rounds but which I thought had a strong idea behind them.
The first was a ‘twist in the tail’ about a fortune-teller and was based on an anecdote that a work colleague told me. It was rejected by both Take a Break Fiction Feast and The Weekly News. I managed to distill the essence of the story down into just 60 words and emailed it off to Real People, which publishes a 60 word story each week and pays £25. And finally my fortune-teller tale found a home! It was published a couple of weeks ago and now I feel that I can stop fretting over that ‘favourite’ and move on.
Similarly, another story, set partly in the early 1980s and partly in the present day, had flopped in a couple of competitions and had been rejected by Woman’s Weekly. It then also got turned down by My Weekly – but this time with a few words about why it wasn’t quite right. I took notice of the comments, reworked the story and sent it off yet again – this time to People’s Friend. This week I had an email from one of the People’s Friend fiction team saying that they liked the story, but also listing a number of changes that would be necessary before it could be considered for the magazine. So now I’m editing the story yet again and crossing my fingers that when I re-submit it, People’s Friend will say ‘Yes’ and finally give my story a home.
So if you’ve written something you really love but can’t seem to get it accepted anywhere – keep trying. Persistance can pay!
#1 by Debbie on February 2, 2012 - 3:49 pm
Hi Sally, congratulations on your fortune-teller story. Wouldn’t it be great if all rejections came with comments for us to work with? Good luck with People’s Friend.
#2 by Sally Jenkins on February 2, 2012 - 4:14 pm
Absolutely, Debbie. Our writing would improve so much quicker if we knew what was wrong with each story we submitted.
#3 by susanjanejones on February 2, 2012 - 5:28 pm
Sally that’s fantastic news. I’m always trying People’s Friend. The rejection letters are getting better (if that’s possible), so I’m going to take your advice and keep on rewriting. Good luck with P.F. Once you’ve had one story published with them, I bet they’ll take more notice when they see your name again.
#4 by Sally Jenkins on February 2, 2012 - 7:01 pm
Susan – Thanks for your good wishes. I did have a story in PF a few years ago but only rejections since then.
Patsy – Yep, finding a favourite story a home is very satisfying!
#5 by Patsy Collins on February 2, 2012 - 6:04 pm
It’s a great feeling when an old favourite finally finds a home, isn’t it?