A Tale Of Two Letters

Letter 1: The Rejection

It’s taken a while but I finally feel like a real writer. That probably sounds a bit weird for someone who has been blogging for about seven years, has written a sixty thousand word baby diary and has about forty other short stories up on the web (and one in print) at this very moment…but any writers reading this might just have an inkling where I’m coming from.

All of my work so far has been delivered in very safe environments.

Step 1 – Blog. Ultimate Safety. On my blog I am the master. End of.

Step 2 – Submit to a site with no rejection policy (repeat thirty odd times). Thanks Shortbread!

Step 3 – Branch out marginally and submit new work to a site edited by four talented and word-obsessed individuals. And one Welsh bloke who may or may not have a blog. Or three. And some stories on a no-rejection policy website.

Note: I have to be clear – my fellow LS editors would under no circumstances do me a favour and publish what they believe to be a sub-standard story just because I submitted it. That said, having their advice in terms of what to tweak and being privy to their collective knowledge about how to judge a story has helped enormously.

Step 4 – Submit the best thing you’ve ever written to a publication. Cherry-picking your back catalog is another safe route. I submitted two pieces to Firewords Issue 4 and The Adamant Carbonisation Of Henry Spiller (still my favourite title as well as my favourite story) got selected.

Step 5 – Submit your second tier stories to the same publication because despite all your efforts you ran out of time to come up with something new to put forward.


Thanks but no thanks.

OK so I have to say the Firewords guys are awesome and gave me the Carlsberg of rejections. My story Anniversary got on to their final selection round, my 400 word fiction piece The Water’s Edge was well received but came up just short and my conversation piece Good Night, Good Luck and Good Love was a great idea but had too much similarity of voice between the two characters.

Regardless, this was just what I needed.

In an odd way, had one of these stories got over the line I would have felt like a fraud. I wanted to submit them to see how they stacked up but I was furious at not getting a new piece done in time. Everything I’ve written so far has had an almost immediate outlet. I think I will be well advised to write more but keep some things up my sleeve.

Oh, and if you’ve never spent time on Literally Stories or read Firewords please do. And for the many excellent writers who have so kindly followed my blog LS is always looking for submissions.


Letter 2: Dear Father Christmas (c/o Snowy Village in the North Pole)

Rhys wrote his first letter to Santa today (with the help of his mum). It went like this:-

Dear Father Christmas,

I’ve been very good this year and would love some presents for Christmas.

I would like:-

– Spaceman Lego

– Some apple seeds to grow an apple tree

– A picture of you Father Christmas and you must say cheese and please

– A new racing track for the one I broke

– A magnetic fish pond and a catcher

– A little house to play with

– A bunny to stroke that’s real

Lots of love

Rhys xxx

Our dear, lovely, big-hearted boy was happy to stop at Spaceman Lego bless him but carried on with the list after some maternal encouragement.

He asked what all the xxx’s were at the end – and on finding they were kisses did his own extra ones on the envelope.

My heart is swelling just writing this down.

He was beside himself with excitement when, after leaving the letter in the postbox for ten minutes for the elves to collect, it disappeared.

I suspect an acknowledgement letter may need to be sent to him soon – full of encouragement and support.

Just like his dad got.

12 thoughts on “A Tale Of Two Letters

      • My parents killed Santa before I even knew he existed. My friends told me about a Santa who visited them and I asked my mum about it. “Santa doesn’t exist.” “But my friends-” “They’re idiots. The next time you’re there, burn this bible.” 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • That feels like an extra paragraph on the Dr Evil life speech – “My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low-grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery.”




  1. I think we are all learning that rejection letters are just the thing that nourishes us and makes us feel that we belong to the world of “author”. At least these days you don’t have to send a stamped and addressed envelope for them to send it back to you in!!!

    As for the Santa letter – I had already said today – I’m having nothing to do with Christmas until November at the earliest and then you sneaked one in under the wire – very cute. I hope he gets all he wishes for and perhaps a couple of things as a surprise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am in awe of your paid-for-by-return-post-rejection-wonderfulness Diane!

      I’m sure there will be other moments of rejection that feel less excellent but this one was a good thing and all part of the learning curve for me.

      I was also bypassing Christmas until November – this is what happens when your wife is at home with the kids and there’s a power failure. This would never have happened if he was sitting slack-jawed watching Dinopaws, Hey Duggie and The Furchester Hotel… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a sweet letter!! Apple seeds to plant a tree… Awww… And a BUNNY. SO MUCH AWWW. My heart’s going to explode.

    As for your rejection letter, I felt the same way when I got my first. I was a real writer! I found the whole thing so exciting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He’s such a sweet little boy – makes me very proud. He’s still not getting a bunny though hehe 🙂

      Best attitude for rejection I think – with a piece in print and a proper rejection letter I may even be able to whisper the word “writer” when people ask…shhh…

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s