What exactly are they looking for?
Today after I got drunk really last night with my friend's one of the friend's home and did a lot of dancing, especially on Joe Cocker You can leave your hat on, imagine what dancing. It was superb night and I got home around 4 am and woke up at 9 am. Good thing school is out today.
So right now I receive this e-mail from a magazine I submitted to a month ago with the rejection, which was very polite by the way. No hard feelings on my side, but still the comment 'We are looking for something else' got me thinking and my half awake mind has had a sort of a deep philosophical moment and I had to debate and put my thoughts in the blog, since I do want to sound like a professional.
I bet that you people, who have sent short fiction out or even manuscripts and get that same line, ask yourselves "Well, what are they looking for?". Somehow it's rude to ask the editors that, because a) it will put you in a bad light as one of the people, who think they are the best around and must know the reason why their work is not accepted and b) it might be a kinder way to say "You really can't reach our level."
Out of curiosity though, I can't stop myself from asking this here. What exactly do the editors search for? If course they say the truth, because I am sure most of them do. Do they want to see a different style, a story or novel that is paced a bit faster at the time or maybe they are looking for certain character or motive or general vibes? Of course they might want topics handled in a different way in the specified genre or may be a mixed genre, if the magazine published multiple genres. I am not so sure, but god do I want to know.
The best case scenario would be to have means to know, what exactly a special magazine/ agent/editor searches for and observing the bigger, writers and authors can really sense what is hip and what is not, but that is general. I dream of a special Google version that shows individually, who wants exactly what and when and so on. Of course this is my Utopian version.
Now here comes the fun part, for me that is. Have you ever wondered the same thing out sheer curiosity? Do you have a special sixth sense to sniffing out what goes and what not on all levels? And if you do, do you mind making a list for me? I couldn't resist. But seriously. Have you?