death or dismemberment

At any given time I've got half a dozen stories in circulation and a few on the bench, awaiting revisions. Rarely a week goes by without some sort of response (happily, lately, it's been more positive responses). I can say this without meaning to sound snotty: many of my rejections are personal. Some of the smaller zines tend to do this as a courtesy to a fellow editor (and, after all, I'm sometimes reading their stuff as they read mine). But I've gotten some personals from higher echelon magazines, too.

I've realized that sometimes they either don't get it or they just didn't read the damn thing carefully enough.

Now, before you go all "shut up, angsty writer" on my ass, I'll mention my stories are vetted by at least 3 people before they ever see an envelope. These are not nice people. These are people who regularly shred my work and cackle with glee while doing it.

And after careful consideration of my own work in the context of their comments, I realized a particular editor didn't read carefully enough. Their feel for the choreography was too off. They mentioned one particular event as unestablished earlier. Except, I have a line, nearly verbatim to their comment, right there in the story, establishing such credibility. Why do I know it's there? Because it was brought up by critters who told me how to fix the problem, and I did.

Just goes to show I'm not the only sleepy editor on the face of the planet.

They also took issue with the premise, which is a tougher thing. To buy this premise, you must believe that headlines over a death will end quicker than headlines over scandal. I don't mean the name will never be known again. I just mean a celebrity won't monopolize the front pages for as long if they die verses if they are embroiled in a scandal.

Now this is a bit of a stretch to think about. It requires some distance and perspective. So when studying my premise, I asked, well. All right. I asked OLD people.

And they unilaterally agreed that those who die disappear faster from the public eye than those who are the center of a scandal. Interestingly, one of them even congratulated me for recognizing the difference, being the young whippersnapper that I am.

I found younger people, on the other hand, believe death causes longer-lasting headlines than scandal.

This was no scientific study with stats and shit. I just asked a few people. So, I'm interested: what do you think?

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