Beginning Creative Writing Students versus the Editors

Ashley Wurzbacher

[Wurzbacher, who is currently teaching first-year fiction at the University of Houston, would like to thank her English 3329 students for permission to reproduce excerpts from their critiques--contrasted here with the rather dimmer pronouncements of anonymous rejecting editors.] • Let me begin by saying, you had me at the first line. There is great strength to how you begin. The references, the language, the voice, the imagery--simply amazing. I only wish it were longer, but then again the story is truly marvelous as it is. The very structure of this story is interesting.

Unfortunately this particular piece was not a right fit for our journal, but we were very impressed by your writing.

You are crafty and very clever. I often feel like writing isn't all that different from making clothes and in this case your words are a perfect fit. I can't wait to see where this story goes as it gets longer. You have exhibited some great ideas!

We appreciated the opportunity to read your work, and we wish you the best of luck placing this story elsewhere.

Wow. This could easily be expanded into a novel. I know I am supposed to make a suggestion for you on to improve your writing but I honestly do not have one and would rather not just make something up and give you a fake suggestion. The only thing that I would take away from this piece would be a couple of grammatical things that I did notate on the manuscript. Otherwise, it's perfect. We hope that you will continue to send us your work. This piece makes me sad, and that's a good thing because it means that it is relatable. Your work is cathartic to a reader that is going through a break-up and has bruised feelings and battered emotions. Love lost and hope dashed are universal in that the suffering that we all face within the throws almost never changes. Really, the only real area of weakness was your grammar.

While we will not be publishing this piece, we hope that you will feel encouraged by this short note and send us something else.

½wow. Your piece portrays a cycle that abruptly meets a seemingly dead end. I like that; it's relatable. It is clear that the narrator is dying, or is she? That is the interpretation that I get when I read this heart-wrenching piece. It could be something else, it may be rejection. Only you would know. But from what I see, it is about death. This was a great story and perfect for this time of year.

We really enjoyed this piece, but we didn't feel it was right for our journal at this time.

And as for the ending, WOW. At first I thought the ending was horrible, to be honest, but the more I thought about it and with another read of the whole story, the more I thought it was perfect. I can honestly say that I have no problems with this piece at all. I really liked it for what it is and what it represents. I loved it.

Thank you for giving us the chance to consider your work for publication in our journal. While we have decided against this one in the end, it did get a positive response from our staff and we wish you the best in placing this work.

Really, really great work, truly. Thank you for sharing your raw emotion with us. Keep writing!!

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