I have recently committed one of the writer’s cardinal sins: I submitted to a magazine that had previously rejected it a couple of years ago. There are several things I could offer in my defence:
- I can’t really find anything that says it’s a cardinal sin: most advice is about showing-not-telling (which is something else I might be guilty of);
- I rewrote the story, partly as a result of feedback I received from the first submission, and also gave it a new title;
- I do keep a record of submissions, but it’s a bit unwieldy (and changing the story’s title clearly doesn’t help).
So, there we have it: I’m guilty as charged. I received a reply today. The editor hasn’t noticed he’s read the story before: or if he has, he doesn’t mention it. The story has been rejected again; as with the previous rejection there is brief feedback. As I’ve mentioned I did rewrite the story a little following the earlier feedback; but this was largely a matter of drawing the reader’s attention to a moment I felt the editor had missed. Here is an extract from the feedback I received the first time:
[M]y main problem was the pace of the story. It consists of a series of incidents, each of them given a brief description, but not really building up to anything or moving the story forward. It seems to simply jog along … There isn’t very much development, either of character or of plot.
This time I got: