I wrote a short story this summer about Onefist Jel, one of my protagonists in my novel. First I wrote it and sent it in to a critiquing group called critters. It's a good group, and it requires you to critique several other stories before you can get yours onto the list for the week. Anyway, after getting feedback from several critiquers, some good, some not so good, I revised it and began sending it in to different fantasy/fiction magazines, without success.
Sometimes I slack off on the task of sending in submissions, especially after getting frustrated. So after a couple of sendings with either a negative response or no response at all, I forgot about it for a few months, until recently I sent it in again. For the first time, I got a response that was informative, telling me why it was not accepted, what the story lacked or had that was distracting or detracting. The magazine editor was also complimenting, for she mentioned some good things, too. That was the nicest rejection letter I've gotten. She told me I could feel free to resend it after revising the thing, which I have since been inspired to do.
It so happened that while visiting the website for this magazine, I signed the guestbook, and mentioned that the site was rather haphazard. So in respones to this comment, the same editor, emailed me asking what exactly they could do better. It seemed like she could have been a little bit put out by receiving such a remark without specific suggestions or legitimate points (kind of like receiving a rejection letter that doesn't tell you what's wrong with your work. But she also said that if I wrote back with more specific suggestions, she would send me a free copy. I did so, remarking on several ways in which the site needed better organization. It turned out to be a bit of a critique on the site, based on the overall appeal and marketability that people are looking for. It was very much like the writing process, where readers/publishers are looking for a nice package that fits all the rules and is sure to please a majority, but at the same time one wants to be unique and different than all the other stuff out there. It was kind of funny, because she had legitimately told me how my work doesn't fit, and now I was legitimately telling her how hers didn't fit.
So anyway, I've just finished revising/rewriting the short story, Onefist Jel and the Boxer, and I plan to send it back again. I'm wondering if I should send it back through the critique group again. I think I like it. Maybe I'll wait until I get that magazine copy she promised me, and see how my story measure up to the ones in there. That's it for now. It's been a good weekend. I'm hoping the week is great.