Search this site:

Fiction is Rejected

by Jeff

I was interested in submitting my story to your website, but apparently I'm well over the Max limit for the character count. I was interested in gettting another opinion about my work, having been rejected by four publishers already, all seemed interested but for some reason they didn't want to publish the story. Why I don't know. I just wanted to know what exactly I'm missing about it. If they enjoyed the story, why wasn't it worth being picked up?


Rejections can be difficult to understand. Fiction is rejected for so many reasons:

  1. Too much narrative summary (telling instead of showing)

  2. Sloppy editing (passive verbs, too many participial phrases, poor punctuation)

  3. Wooden dialogue

  4. No strong story question

Those are the most common reasons fiction is rejected, but other reasons may have nothing to do with your writing:

  1. The publisher may have exhausted the budget for the period

  2. They may have published a story similar to yours recently

  3. They may have received stories they simply liked better

If your fiction is rejected repeatedly, the best approach is to spend a few dollars and get a professional opinion. A professional writer can pinpoint problems quickly and make suggestions about what you need to focus on to improve your writing.

You can ask friends and family for advice, but they may not want to hurt your feelings and may not have the knowledge to articulate what is wrong. Even writer friends may not have the knowledge yet to articulate the problem in a way that will help.

A professional can analyze an entire story, to improve that particular piece of writing, or he or she can look at a small sample of your work to point to general issues that will prevent publication. The latter will cost the least.

If you seriously want to know if your fiction has issues that prevent publication consider the following options:

  1. Join a low cost creative writing class and ask the instructor for honest feedback

  2. Schedule a free appointment with the local writer in residence at your local library or university

  3. Hire a writing mentor

  4. Pay for a full manuscript evaluation

  5. Request a Quick Look manuscript evaluation

Comments for Fiction is Rejected

Click here to add your own comments

Feb 12, 2010
About paying for help
by: Rita Ashley

Five years ago, I paid Pearl Luke, what seems a small sum in hind sight, to review my first serious writing efforts. Her evaluation, suggestions and spot-on critique paved the way for improvements that today result with praise and publication.

To see my writing then compared to now tells me it was money well spent. If you are not getting the results you want, you need a new set of eyes. We don't know what we don't know and any writer will tell you, we can't edit our own work.

Good Luck.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask an Author.

Interactive Writing Prompts

My Books

Short Story Submissions

Read New Stories

Ask Your Questions

Character Name Generator

Creative Writing Activities

Literary Agents

Online Courses


Writing a Novel

Writing Contests

Writing Degrees

Writing Help Articles

Writing Library

Writing Process

Writing Prompts

Writing Quotations

Writing Resources

Writing Mentor