some things never change

February 27, 2011

This is from a rejection slip I got way back in 1997, before I’d sold anything.  (I purposefully picked one that said nice things, though I could have shown you one that wasn’t so nice.)  I got a lot of these from magazines that used checklists in the interest of being a little more helpful than an impersonal photocopied page.

So imagine my shock while reading Silent Movies:  The Birth of Film and the Triumph of Movie Culture, and finding this image:

Essanay Studios was most active in the 19-teens, producing the early films of Charlie Chaplin.  So the checklist form rejection has been around a long time.  And check it out — movies had only been around for a dozen years and they were already getting ideas that were overdone!  Also notice the similarities:  “Plot is weak” on one and “Weak plot” on the other.  There really are only so many ways to write badly…


4 Responses to “some things never change”

  1. LupLun Says:

    Actually, things do change. Nowadays, they just trash your query and ignore you.

    (I don’t hold it against them. Really, I don’t. But this is why a lot of first-timers turn to e-publishing.)

    Anyway, the part that amuses me is the box that says “SASE should be stamped, not metered.” This makes perfect sense — meters expire, stamps don’t — but it’s amusing because the fact that they included it on their form suggests that they expect it to reach the rejectee regardless of that handicap. ^_^

  2. […] der Kitty-Reihe – großartige Bücher ) bei dem ich doch stutzen musste. Man siehe hier: Was mich daran stutzen liess war nicht die Tatsache, dass amerikanische Magazine (einen Hinweis auf […]

  3. Jim Van Pelt Says:

    I recognize that form. I’ll have to go through my (overflowing) box of rejections to match up to the magazine that sent it.

    I have not seen the behavior that Luplun mentions above (it may have been a tongue in cheek comment). The print magazines seem to behave the way they always have, and the e-zines don’t seem different from them. Some folks are fast. Some are slow. Some seem kind, while some are brusque.

    A rejection is a rejection, either way, and all it means is to send the story elsewhere while you’re working on a new piece.

  4. LupLun Says:

    Uh, I was talking about literary agents, actually. Don’t know how the magazine business does it.

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