June 17, 2016

The Blame Game

By Shawn D. Brink

So you’re submitting that short story to editors of various appropriate markets and getting rejected time and time again. “Why can’t anybody see the genius in my work?” you declare. “ARGH!!!” you add for emphasis.

Well, I’m here to tell you that it isn’t some literary-world conspiracy that is keeping you on the reject list. The blame falls squarely on you, the author.

I am not saying this because I am holier than thou are. No, I was once there too. Submission after submission I lobbed at editors only to see rejection after rejection lobbed back at me.

Then at some point (I can’t recall just when) I experienced that moment of clarity. A ray of angelic light shone down on me. Somewhere unseen, a heavenly choir sang a single, crystal clear note, and simultaneously, a loose wire inside of my brain fell into place.

What did I realize at that moment? I realized that it’s not enough to be a good writer creating good stories. The competition is too fierce for that. In order to break this rejection cycle, I need to write GREAT stories.

From that moment on, every time I received a rejection, I would make it a point to re-examine the work. I would ask how I could make the writing tighter. How can I make it jump off the page? How could I make it glow to the point that an editor can do nothing but ooh and ah and send me an acceptance letter?

Upon completing these edits, I would resubmit to another market. Upon receiving another rejection, I would re-examine, do further editing and resubmit to a third magazine. And repeat. And repeat. And rinse and lather and repeat.

Since taking this additional level of dedication to heart, the acceptance letters have been trickling in. Sure, I still receive rejections, but I know now that being rejected is simply an opportunity to polish the story so that it can eventually be what it was meant to be - published.

I encourage all writers out there to take on this same level of dedication. Take responsibility for your rejections and turn them into acceptances. Your writing deserves it and so do you.
Shawn D. Brink lives in eastern Nebraska with his wife, four kids and a miniature schnauzer. He is currently building a following with two (soon to be three) novels to his name. His first book, THE SPACE BETWEEN (Fantasy/Christian/Apocalyptic thriller), was published through Martin Sisters Publishing (MSP) in 2013. In 2015, MSP released the sequel entitled THE DEVIL’S REVENGE. MSP is tentatively scheduling the third book in this series for release in December of 2016. One of his published manuscripts placed third in a horror/ghost story contest sponsored by WRITERS’ JOURNAL. In addition, he has numerous stories in publications such as APHELION, TWJ MAGAZINE, THEME OF ABSENCE, SPECKLIT, and FLASHES IN THE DARK. His social media links are Website:

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