Rejection — Artemis (short story, SF) — by Analog SF


Well, I received a rejection from Analog SF today. There’s some good news and some bad news. The bad news, obviously, is that it was rejected. The good news is that Mr. Schmidt actually left a comment on the rejection sheet (a form letter), which editors don’t generally do, and especially not for a magazine that gets hundreds of submissions every month. The comment said:

P.S.: Accurate punctuation is important, too. You should especially review format.

Punctuation is something I’m really going to have to look at. I didn’t realize I was using bad punctuation. Maybe I missed something, or maybe I made some error that didn’t seem like an error, but to a seasoned editor like Mr. Schmidt, is a big no-no.
As for format. I’m not 100% sure what he meant by that. I did follow the guidelines on the Analog website, which says:

Manuscripts must be computer-printed or typed (check), double-spaced (check), on white paper (check), one side of the sheet only (check). The author’s name and address should appear on the first page of the manuscript (check). Please do not send submissions on disk (check).

Is there maybe something I’m doing that has fallen out of style perhaps? I use Courier, I underline sections that should be italicized, and I use #s to mark breaks. Is this just an antiquated formatting style now? If anyone has any advise here (especially someone who edits), I’d really appreciate it. I don’t want the format of my manuscript to ever need commenting, because format shouldn’t be an issue. I want to be rejected cause the story sucks, not by any influence of a slightly skewed manuscript format.
In any case, it’s a rejection, and one of the additional hundred or so before I get lucky, if I get lucky. I’ll review the manuscript once more and iron up the punctuation, and submit again. Hopefully it’ll get picked up because I rather like Artemis and everyone seems to like that story (even people who don’t know me, plus my girlfriend, who I trust with these things because she’s not lacking in critiquing brutality).

On a good note though, I got a hand written note on a form rejection, which is still exciting to me even though it’s happened several times before through other magazines. The last story I sent Analog never got a comment, so this means I’m doing something right.

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Writing at Bemidji State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Florida and studies science fiction, postcolonialism, digital fan cultures, and digital rhetoric.

6 thoughts on “Rejection — Artemis (short story, SF) — by Analog SF

  1. Well I started looking around and checked on the SFWA site and elsewhere and there were minor formatting issues, but it wasn’t anymore major. But maybe because Analog is such a huge magazine the minor things were just too much for Schmidt. I can fully understand it. He has enough trouble finding and editing stories that are properly formatted.
    I’ll check out that book Heather. Thanks for the recommendation. I think I noticed a couple minor errors, but nothing major. I’ll fix them though. And I’ll start really re-reading Strunk & White again and see if there is some strange error I’ve never heard of before. I imagine that the punctuation and formatting weren’t why he rejected the story though. It just wasn’t what he was looking for. He wouldn’t have hand written anything if he didn’t think it was worth his time. I think one of my biggest problems is I’m writing stories that certain editors don’t want and then submitting it to them. I need to get on top of that. I think Artemis is going to Neo-Opsis next. I’m not sure Asimov’s or F&SF would want it. Maybe they would. We’ll see. I think it would be a good fit with Neo-Opsis though, having recently read an issue.

  2. Well I keep telling you about the commas, but you won’t believe me. 🙁

    As for format, though, I thought that was fine. :S The underlining for italics is, I think a bit old-fashioned, but not rejection-worthy. Still, I think the fact that he bothered to comment shows that he thinks you have promise. 🙂 I’ll have to be a harsher critic next time …

    Yay for rejections!

  3. Well, I made all the comma changes you suggested missy. There are just a few that apparently neither of us noticed that must be rules I’m not aware of, or perhaps I made a dumb mistake.

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