I received a rejection letter this morning. It happens. Sometimes the stories that we write just don’t fit the call. It happened to me twice last week, though admittedly one publisher wanted to hold on to my story for another anthology so that’s what I like to call the rejection-acceptance letter. 😉
I’m an author. Rejection letters are part and parcel of the business.
Today’s rejection letter has puzzled me however. Contained within are the standard “I liked your story but it didn’t make the cut…” platitudes we always hear. But there’s also some constructive feedback I’m finding hard to digest.
So I’ve come to you – my readers and friends – to ask your opinion.
The editor made the comment that I am “keen on overly describing things” and offered an example:
The anger was gone from his posture, but the words were sharpened like knives; each one of them penetrated her heart, causing it to burst with pain.
The editor also gave me their suggestion for how they would have restructured/written the line:
His anger had faded, but every word still felt like a stab.
To put it into context, because it is hard to judge based on a single sentence, here’s the meat of the story around it:
“Babe! You’re not listening again.” Melinda gently spoke into the face of her irate boyfriend. “I need to do this – it’s the only way.”
“There has to be another way, Mel. What you’re planning is illegal and could well get you killed! My life is not worth that.” Lucas shouted back at her, hoping that his volume would help her to see sense.
“It’s worth it to me,” she spoke in a whisper, wiping away the tears as they coursed down her face. “We’re barely making ends meet now as it is and with you not working, we’ll never come up with the money for the surgery. Please understand I’m doing this for you, for us!”
Her passionate speech didn’t have the desired effect on Lucas and she was disheartened to see him stalk across their modest sized, one bedroom apartment to grab his coat. “If you do this, we’re over. Simple as that.”
The anger was gone from his posture, but the words were sharpened like knives; each one of them penetrated her heart, causing it to burst with pain. He looked at her one last time before roughly grabbing the doorknob and jerking it toward him.
“You can’t leave now, it’s almost time for your medicat–“
The hard slam of the door was her only response.
So here’s my question to you – am I not being critical enough of my descriptive tendencies? As an author my goal is to paint a picture in the reader’s mind; to have them see what I see. But do I go too far? Or is it a question of style preference?
Comments are greatly appreciated!
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