Missing the Point

Posted on: June 4th, 2006 by Anthony Rapino

I’ve written on this subject before.

It concerns the writer’s meaning in a work, and an editor’s inability to see past the obvious. Yes, I am speaking of literature, and the hidden messages within work.

I have a very short (flash fiction) piece that I wrote for a graduate class. I decided to send it out–test the waters. The rejection I received was less than enthusiastic.

As most of the readers of this blog know, rejections don’t bother me. Some works are not suited for magazines I send to, other pieces need more tightening–I can deal with that.

What I can’t deal with is when an editor rejects a story, using reasons that are crucial to the meaning of my piece.

You need an example?

This rejected work I speak of is primarily a criticism of the decomposition of memory as time passes. To illustrate this, among other things, I use a trick in my writing where I am non-specific about memories that are being told. I show inability for the narrator to remember the color of a uniform, or the activity he was engaged in at a certain time.

The editor rejected this story because it was “too vague,” and suggested I add more specifics.

So now the question comes up: did I do a bad job showing what I meant to show, or does this particular editor just not see it?

I’m not sure of the answer to this, and it occurs to me that possibly I have chosen the wrong genre with which to intermix literature. Or maybe I have not perfected it yet (very possible).

Or maybe I should just get back to writing and stop bitching. Yeah…I think it’s that one.

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