I was excited for a very brief moment when I discovered an email in my in box from the editor of Fantasy and Science Fiction, a magazine that has published my work in the past. Rejections come by snail mail. (Of course, checks also come by snail mail…)
My pleasure was short-lived. He was checking to see if he got all the pages of my most recent submission. “This seems incomplete,” he wrote. He gave the last line of the story that he was holding. Yep, that’s the end all right. As soon as I tell him that, the rejection will be on the way. I wonder how many strikes I get before my slush pile free pass is revoked.
I think the problem may have been in part that the story has a similar feel to what they published previously, only this one is supposed to be funny. If he’s reading the thing with the assumption that it’s serious, it’s not going to work and the punch line will just hang there. (I actually backed off on the funny for the final version, not wanting to overdo it. Might have been a bad choice.) I’ll try the story next at a place that will read without preconceived notions and see if it goes over better. If not, I’ll just have to accept the fact that the story just isn’t as funny as I think it is. Inconceivable!
(Another lesson – there’s a reason one is supposed to put [end] at the end of a submitted story.)