please submit
No thanks. But thanks. 


Hi. It's a little too spare. Too cool. Sorry. But thanks. Please try again, maybe with something longer.


It's all intuition. And the "aura" of this one is like sort of a freckly yellow, which reminds me of bananas, which doesn't make me want to post it. That's a really terrible critique, I realize.


Excuse me for sounding like that Senator debating Dan Quayle, but I know Joyce very well, and you, David, are no James Joyce. 

I'm familiar with what J.J. does and how he does it. And I see what you're doing, somewhat. But I think the "experimental" parts of the text, the fragmentation etc, get in the way more than do much good. And the lines, the prose of it, is/are more like stream-of-bukowski than anything "stylistic." What I mean is that there's a difficult-to-get-through thing (ie, tension, muddledness) happening between the simplicity of the sentences and the overall style. Or more so, there's a sort of experimental / pretentious conceit to the way you present the episodes (ie, jump cut) within the story (call it "the whole") that's not matched by an equivalent experimentation / pretension line by line (call it "the parts"). 

Got that? 

So that's why I think it's ok for me to apologize and say thank you for submitting, thanks for considering the piece good for eyeshot etc, but in the end, i think it might benefit from some more work, or maybe from being cut up into smaller pieces that are then worked on a little more . . . dunno. 

Anyway, thanks, and please send more when you have more. Points for degree of difficulty were awarded, just execution wasn't quite there.

Eyeshot's Exagmination Round Our Work in Progress

Sorry it took me so long to reply - I guess I got the message right around Christmas and was home and otherwise engaged - but now I'm back, reading manuscripts, and let me tell you, I voted for Gore - but that was only because I didn't want Bush in office and Nader seemed like a lefty Perot, in terms of his ultimate effect on the election. So, what does this mean to you? Not sure. It means that I liked your story enough and would accept it under some circumstances, but right now, what with the new year and all, we want to start out banging, and the story you submitted is a lot like its narrator - it's a smooth read that doesn't really jump out of its skin too much. If i were married to it, i'd cheat too. Susan Sontag once wrote about husband and lover-type writers, and I think the same can be applied to stories. It's a husband story, but we're looking for something a little more wild and unprotected and wet. Something erotic.

Thank you for submitting again, but we're gonna pass on this - and not even tell you why at any length. I just quit smoking - and the story ends with talk of quitting smoking, and so, perhaps because i need a damn cigarette, i couldn't get into the story's conclusion so well. Sorry - my fault, not yours - oh well, a little your fault too. But if I were more awake, a better/less distracted reader, and if I were huffing on a cigarette, maybe you'd have better chance, but alas, you know how things work: the right place at the right time. . . .

Thanks again for submitting.


Thank you for submitting. I can't use it for Eyeshot. I'm having one of those days in which I can't explain myself. You ever have one of those days? You make decisions but you can't come close to arranging words into sentences etc about these decisions, yet you're still confident you're making the right ones? Some days I'm all intuition . . . All I can say is sorry and please send
more stuff one day.


Thanks for submitting. It's always nice to get submissions. Nice to have something to read that someone wants you to read (if you're reading this message outloud please make it sound like "wants" in the previous sentence is italicized: thanks). 

Although we prefer the S in Eyeshot to remain uncapitalized, your unnecessary capitalization has not influenced our reading of your work. 

And, with regard to your previous publications, if you would send a copy of the "St. Louis Business Journal" to 650 Humboldt St #2, Brooklyn, NY, 11222, it would be appreciated.

Enough preliminaries, let's get on with this response, but let's do it slowly, maximize the suspense. 

I liked the way, especially toward the end in the boat, the language is cleaner than in the beginning, in which it seemed like you modified every noun: 

For example:

rosy pink blush light - purpled darkness - shy sky  - the hem of its nighttime dress - slowly exposing a flaming, skinned knee -. low moaning hum of the highway - The faint drone - the bent gray cross of it  - a grape juice heaven - billowing trail 
You're trying to make the reader see more, but you're getting in the way of what's seen. 

You seem to do much better when you're in the narrative parts (the fishing boat) than the descriptive parts (see above). 

Good luck with your book - and remember to send the journal.


You're from the 718, so you get a lower level of scrutiny.

But I just can't roll with violence written violently -  can't hang with it well enough to care - or dig thru the sentence surface.

And I'm not into bottles of Jack and Bud etc, not in stories at least. Sorry. We also received a negative comment about misogyny in a few stories we've posted, and those were abstractions in which no women were explicitly choked etc.


I read through all FIVE submissions and don't think any of them are really right for the site. I usually give the 718 a little leeway, but sorry, these are pretty rough and not so funny, though obviously intended to be funny - and you should never submit more than one piece at a time - it sort of pisses editors off, since most submitters submit only one at a time, then submit another upon rejection etc, that's the way it's done . . . but I don't really care about that - I had the time just now to look through them, and what you sent falls flat for me - but hey it falls flat for ME only - I'm hard to please sometimes, especially when it comes to humor, although my only requirement is that, at least once, I laugh out loud.

So maybe try these somewhere else, or try to write something a little more ambitious, or something that doesn't so obviously TRY to be funny . . .

My guess is you're pretty young? Spending spring break submitting to weird lit sites or something?

Anyway, thanks for submitting and try me again if you want, but next time, send one piece at a time.


As the Human League once wrote, keep feeling fatuation, bodies moving, something, something.

Although November displays its misty final days, with everything decaying as though by beauty's design, we blossom. And now, whilst we're all a-blossomed, we'd really be pissed if we dissuaded you from infatuation, especially at such a pivotal time in our relationship, what with the winter coming on.

This is the exciting time. Before first touch. Before we mix files on various drives and you send words that I format and (I blush) upload them for all the world to see . . .

But, we hope that this stumblingly shy, red-ear'd rejection, will not quench your fire. We prefer when suitors send beautiful sentences set into paragraphs -  the poesy need be not quite poesy -- or it need be poesy that knocks us on our apple-orbed asses -- to find its place upon the eyeshot screen. Not that what you send offends, just that it's not quite what we're looking for, which, perchance, another five days reading the archives would reveal.

But don't let any of this belie the fact of our infatuation, or really, your infatuation, since we have never seen you, and despite admiring depth, humor, and "puhsenility," we're all about surfaces, darling.

Eyeshot's Aphrodisiacal Chalice of Ecstatic Oysters and Spiced Cider


The story you three sent is pretty straight, depicting some sort of nonparticular american norm, affecting its language, yet telling a tale that's hard-to-follow and seemingly arbitrary. What I'm saying is that the overall tone and characterization and setting calls for a simply told STORY, I think, and you all sort of roam along without a constant voice or narrative momentum in command, which makes it hard to read and enjoy. But that's just my opinion, of course. I'm also sick, hungover, and on too much nyquil. 

There were also a bunch of stylistic things that made me pause, too many sentences with that i'm gonna add weight to this sentence simply by ending with a comma and then a final weighty word or phrase, like "unfulfilled." I'm not going to give any more specific examples - what if all the examples I picked were by the same person? you see the danger, the complications, the dread . . . 

So, look, thanks very much for sending this to me, considering all the sites out there, and I apologize for not having much to say that's really nice. The content needs to match the collaborative process more for it to work, I think. But others might like it better than me: he who's quick to admit to liking things a little more idiosyncratic. And that's sort of the issue with the collaboration, right? How to constrain one's voice or harmonize it to match those of others so there's a coherent or at least non-distracting tone - I wonder what it'd be like with three stylists, three writers with drastically unique voices? I wonder if you could get three such writers to do it? What I don't like about the collaborative idea is this leveling of voices, since what I respond to most in writing is voice, use of language etc . . . If it's an academic exercise in harmony, I'm not really interested in it. Which leads me to writing programs and the homogenizing toward "the ideal" of some workshopped fiction etc etc etc . . . 

Anyway, just beginning to fight my way out of a bright warm sunday spent sick, hungover, and dreading . . . 

Wish I could say something better than I have - I apologize again if I've been too harsh. Hope I haven't made your starry eyes well up.


You need to mention at least four people we know for automatic inclusion. Unfortunately, you only mentioned three . . . 

Although Laugh Riot is not a requirement for submissions, we do look for a little something your submission seems to lack. 

The story's almost an essay, which is fine if the piece is written semiecstatically and overintellectually - but your thing's written in a style that doesn't do it for us. It's easy to read, understandable and all that, but I guess we look for more performance . . . Your submission makes too much sense, I think, and on a sentence-to-sentence basis, it wobbles a little. 

Don't send something you dusted off about dead people. Take some chances, write something new, something you've never done before that you don't think could get accepted anywhere else, then send it here. That's the advice section of the rejection note. 

Sorry, but thanks for submitting. I hope you kick some ass, then trace the bruises and send them here. 


Sorry for the spareness of the reply, but plagiarists get less than special consideration.


Hi. Thanks for submitting. It's great that you'd like to put this on Eyeshot. But it can't happen. Not with this story. Would you like to know why? Because there's not much of a story and the writing's not particularly original or funny or mean or anything. That is what I think. Do you hate me now? You shouldn't. I don't hate you because I didn't want to post your story. The story exists outside of you. You are not your story. You can take what I say and think about it, or cry, or tell me to piss off. All are acceptable. Or you can ignore me. Whatever. By which I mean to say, thanks for submitting and please send something again if you ever recover from the crushing blow this rejection served to your artistic ego.

Eyeshot's Supermean Ego Extractor


Hi. At first I thought this was written by a German and was all excited to post it! The language was terribly off, but in a great way, and it was about America taboot! So I thought I'd post it unedited and it'd be cool that way. Then I realized the voice was Japanese and I had to change it in my head from the German. Then I started thinking that it wasn't authentically wrong, but a contrived accent. Then I started to get a little bored with it. Then I skimmed along and saw that you're an expat american etc. Then I hit reply and began writing this rejection note. Then I tried to be nice. I typed things like thanks for submitting and good luck with your book and please try again. Then I ended the message, typing my name and saying that I'm the editor of the site to which you submitted, but I tweaked the site's name to something like "Eyeshot's Axis-Power Accent Mistake." 


I'd like this more if the additive weren't crack.

It doesn't have to be crack, does it?

The inclusion of the word "crack," much like the addition of the word "monkeys," doesn't do anything except make readers think that what they're reading is now "supposed to be funny."

Crack isn't all that funny, not really. There are substitutes. Nonsensical substitutes. Other additives. There must be.

So if you recast this letter with something other than crack as the additive, I'd like to see it - otherwise ...

Rejection Letters From the Eyeshot Outbox #1


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