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Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Dear --------

Thank you for submitting your story, ------- to On Spec. To be honest with you, I stopped reading after your first sentence so I might pen this post. I won't be buying your story. I know how much effort and care you have put into those 5900 words. I also know how a rejection might hurt because I sense you are a 'young' writer (in that you're just beginning to learn your craft). I hope you keep writing in spite of it. But somebody needs to tell you: if your first sentence isn't believable, if you don't take the time to 'sell' the reader on your story's premise, they are not going to appreciate the effort you take with the rest of it.

Ask yourself - if someone were to start telling you a story using your first sentence, would you be able to suspend your disbelief? You are asking me to believe in a world where our present-day technology has been severely limited with no explanation as to how it got that way. Further, you are asking me to believe that our intellects have eroded to such an extent that we are now little better than savannah-dwellers - yet we still maintain an understanding of a 'currency' - an inverse pun when you think about it - that money grows on trees. Sorry. I don't buy it.

I'll go back now and read the rest of your piece, because if you don't see this post, I will have this advice, and more, to give you.

Kudos on your courage, because being a writer takes all you have, and then some.

- Susan.


  1. I really enjoyed reading these last year. Will you be doing more? If so, I hope you'll mix in the occasional positive letter to keep the series from getting too grim.

  2. Thanks for your comment. I'm glad you enjoyed reading my 'Letters' last year. I hope people find them helpful, even if - at times - they can be 'grim'. I love it when I find a great story. When I come across one, I will definitely rave about it here.