Why Short Stories Are Rejected

April 27, 2008 | One Comment

In February of this year, Zadie Smith, chief judge of the Willesden Herald International Short Story Competition, announced the prize would go to… no-one. From 85o entries, the judges couldn’t find any that merited the award. The Guardian had an interesting discussion about it on their blog.
Later in the month, Steve Moran, editor of the Willesden Herald, listed the top twenty-seven reasons why short stories are rejected, and its a pretty comprehensive list, written with painfully, and often hilariously, searing honesty. Those of us who are editors may nod sagely at some these short story flaws, and all of us who are writers, will certainly flinch in recognition. Then again, many of the things he lists, like using archaic terms, as in “for” rather than “because” (OK, I’m guilty of that) , or pondering too long on description, (yep, I do that, too…), are surely a matter of subjective taste?