Q: You give feedback, but why don’t you accept re-submissions?

A: Changing your piece might not be the way to go. However, our feedback might help you find the right venue, and help you ensure future submissions here are a good fit.

Let’s suppose you have a flash fiction submission that has been rejected for something specific, like “anecdote” or “vignette.” You don’t have to change your submission. Consider that your submission (as it is) might be a perfect fit for another venue.

In other words, for our venue we tend to go for a specific range of flash fiction. Roughly said, “in under 1200 words, go nuts on dramatic arc, plot and characterization.” So, painstakingly pack in everything needed, then take out only the words that make the story’s soul cry. In reality, a stunning number of submissions under 1200 words do not take advantage of that space allowed. Remember, “vignette” is a four-letter word, here. So is “anecdote.” And “saturated fats,” but that’s another post.

How does BS come up with feedback?
Did you know that, for every polite feedback response we give, it’s been distilled from a string of multiple editors’ comments probably five to ten times as long? For example, it’s possible that I might argue internally (on the submitter’s behalf) that the piece is perfect in every word, the way it is. Perhaps the submission poetic, multi-layered and sufficient to cast a stunning light on a moment. This is a moment in which the narrator accomplishes “something awesome”. How often do you see that? I might ask. Yes, the response comes, but it’s just a vignette. These characters could be anyone

And that gets back to our preference on Flash Fiction. In the example, the response to you might be,

It’s possible to relate the entire sequence of events–even the layering and the unique coolness and voice–in a much larger story expanded to the format mentioned earlier, under the word limit. 

But wait–oh-oh–would that mean it was undeveloped? Preposterous. However, if you do a re-write and tackle our feedback, perhaps you might discover something along the way.

Wait…No amount of work will get an acceptance?
Let’s be careful here. The original question was, why don’t we want re-submissions? Don’t mess up what you already have on our account. You know the guidelines, you know the tone of our content. If you submit a square peg for us to put in a round hole, then we will give you feedback, saying, “we’ve concluded that this is indeed square…why would you submit such silliness? Good luck somewhere else.” If we do this, you should find a home for your beautiful square peg. Not re-submit to us after “some tweaks.”

Given a specific piece and a specific venue, there may never be a way to change the piece. The process of changing a piece to meet specific feedback from one venue is a serious consideration. There are thousands of venues out there. Piece shows you are done learning your craft? Maybe. Piece too hard to re-visit? Possibly. So you conclude: feedback noted, move on. That is an acceptable outcome!

On the other hand, if you have exhausted the possibility that there are no skill issues at stake, then at the end of the day, you are your piece’s only advocate. Are you willing to perform surgery on a piece and re-craft it to the tone and requirements of a particular venue? It’s an unusual creative writer that is willing to do that. It’s a good skill to have in the commercial world for example, but certainly not required here.

Moving on with that piece is ok
So, yes, we give feedback, if you ask. No, we don’t want that piece resubmitted, because it’s painful all around and possibly the wrong path for that piece anyway. Yes, we want you to submit again, if you have a developed piece you think is a good match.

Christopher T Garry

I... ate it. Fine. You happy? Yes, I ate the cookie.

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