Fantasy & Science Fiction rejection tiers

by look i have opinions

Editor C. C. Finlay has three templates for rejecting most stories:

“Template 1 is the ‘didn’t grab me’ template. The beginning of the story did not grab me. Sometimes, early in the submission period I kept reading until I noticed the page where it did finally grab me, and I may have included a note about this. By the time the tsunami of submissions hit on Day 14, I was sitting on a mountain of reading, and if your sub didn’t grab me, then I probably didn’t leave a note.

“Template 2 is the ‘didn’t work for me’ template. Your story was good, I read it all the way through, but some big thing didn’t work for me, usually the ending. I know, endings are hard. But the emotional payoff, what you remember most about a story, is how it makes you feel at the end. So you have to be an Olympic gymnast and nail that dismount. If I could put my finger specifically on what didn’t work for me, then I tried to note that in your letter. Sometimes I couldn’t. Sorry.

“Template 3 is the ‘didn’t win me over’ template. Look, you’re probably a pro. This is a good story. You know it’s good. You’re probably going to sell it elsewhere. Maybe I can tell you the idiosyncratic reasons why it didn’t make me all hot and tingly so that I can’t stop thinking about it day and night, night and day. Maybe I did. But either way, you probably don’t care. It’s a no. You’ve already got your next market lined up and you’re ready to send it out again. AS YOU SHOULD.”

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