Avoiding Rejection

It's a fact that all writers will receive rejection letters during their careers--even JK had to shop for a publisher for her books (and we all agree that we love them!) How should you respond to a rejection letter? How can you correct and resubmit your submission? This help guide is divided into two sections--what you can do pre-submission to avoid rejection and what you can do post-submission to avoid a second rejection.

Avoiding Rejections: Before You Submit

It is suggested that to avoid rejection, you follow these steps:

  1. Make a plot outline before you begin writing your story. Where will your story begin, and where will it end? How do you plan to get there? For more on plot outlines, visit the plot guideline page.
  2. Carefully plan your characters--do you know how to write canon characters well? Have you thought through your new characters? Visit the characterization page for more help.
  3. Think through your setting. In which locations will your story be set? What do those places look like? Remember that you must describe this for your reader--they only know what you, as the author, tell them. Help them imagine your setting. Additional help is available on the setting/detail page.
  4. Proofread your submission carefully. Typos are very easy to make. Although spelling and grammar checkers do not always catch every mistake, they can be very helpful. Consider using the spelling or grammar checker in your word processing program.
  5. Consider having a "beta" reader--give your story to someone else to read and make suggestions. They can often tell you that there is a hole in the plot or something they don't understand, allowing you to correct it before you submit the story.
  6. Look through your story and make sure that you haven't copied anything directly from Ms. Rowling. Legally, you can't call your fiction by one of her titles. You can use the characters, but you can't copy dialogue directly from Ms. Rowling's books or the existing films. This is considered plagiarism and violates the MuggleNet Fan Fiction Terms of Service.
  7. Read the warnings page carefully--do you meet the guidelines for acceptable fiction? NC-17 fictions are not accepted.
  8. Read the formatting guideline page to make sure that your submission will be readable when posted.
  9. Write a short, accurate summary for your fiction (see FAQ question #4). Please do not include notes to readers begging them to read and review your fiction. Comments like that are best included in your user profile.

Revising Your Fiction: Avoiding a Second Rejection

To help your revised story get accepted, follow these steps:

  1. Read the moderator's e-mail carefully. You may want to make yourself a list--what needs to be done? It may seem like a lot, but anything can be revised. Ernest Hemingway re-wrote the ending of A Farewell to Arms nearly forty times. If you don't understand something in the e-mail, ask the moderator to explain. Our goal is to be helpful.
  2. Once you've received your list of suggestions, read through the writing guidelines on this page for suggestions on correcting grammar or punctuation mistakes or firming up your plot. Again, if you are unsure of how these guidelines apply to you, ask the moderator for assistance.
  3. Sometimes it is helpful to take a short break from your writing. This can mean watching a movie, reading a book, or some other distraction. When you come back, your mind is clearer and you may be able to see corrections you'd like to make more easily.
  4. If you did not have a "beta" reader before, consider asking someone you know well to read your story. Share with them the moderator's concerns. If you are still in school (K-12), you might ask a trusted teacher or visit the school's extended school tutoring program. Your teachers and the school tutors are paid to help you learn, and will often be pleased that you are writing outside of homework assignments.

If your story was rejected, please try to consider all of the suggestions the moderator makes. If you do not attempt to make corrections, the moderators will not accept your second submission. You may also want to consider, when resubmitting your fiction, putting a note at the top of your story requesting that a certain moderator read your story. If you've been working with a single moderator, he or she will be aware of what you've been working on and will be able to provide you with more assistance.

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