“The Honor of Our Rejection,” by R. C. Barajas

Jul 21st, 2021 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Dear R. C.,

Thank you for your interest in SquareHole Review.

We appreciate your faith in SHR to give your story the careful reading it deserves. Thank you for considering us. Please believe that reading this kind of unsolicited submission is a task we do not take upon our cardigan-clad shoulders without full acknowledgment of the heft of our responsibility. There is not a waking moment in which we do not gratefully hitch our hearts to the wagons of editorial duty and whip the steeds of literary glorification into a lather of somber consideration.

While we cannot accept your story for publication, we admire your ambition. In appreciation of your new subscription to SHR, we are providing you with some editorial suggestions that might be useful. We invite you to to renew your sustaining subscription when it comes due, and to submit again in future, should you want to honor us with yet another sample of your writing.

Your story shows grit and/or pathos in regards to your subject matter. The characters of “Jason” and “Elise”  were tangible yet warmly unfocused. Some compression in places would be helpful. We loved the writing at the sentence level, though found it sometimes wanting at the word and letter level. Try varying the demand on the reader’s eye by enlarging the commas and periods and making the question marks, colons and semi-colons quite small. The story could start later and end earlier, with attention to length and breadth and girth. Enfold your reader into the conceit of the narrative but avoid seeming too pleased about it. Think compression. Draw out your arc, flatten its curve and buttress the interior world. Also some compression in places would be good. Delete your darlings.

In the end, we felt there was no substantive evolution of the characters. Consider less stasis, more jumping around.

We wish you luck in finding a home for this story. You might try:

Drawing Board Press, No!, SnotJournal, the venerable Initium Mortuus Biannual.

Also: JankMag, Fissure, and Sbhjyfgejhfbe.

We are humbled by your trust in us. It is our north star, our raison d’etre.

C. F. Larkinspale

Thank you for reading SquareHole Review!


R. C. Barajas was born in Stanford, California. Yes, it’s a real town. No, she didn’t “go there”, but thanks for bringing up a painful time in her life. Her writing has been published in The Washington Post Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Cleaver Magazine, Please See Me, and Fatal Flaw. Her photography (analogue, in case you’re wondering, which you probably aren’t) has been in a bunch of places, too. She’s really smug about that. She lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband and two loopy dogs.


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