By the Numbers: “A Distressing State of Purity.”

Rosie Goldstein
Goodness!

Let us first take note that the image the magazine Literary Orphans chose is far sexier than I am enjoying.

Over the past two years, my latest publication, the flash fiction piece “A Distressing Sate of Purity” was rejected thirty-one times before finding a spectacular home at Literary Orphans. One of those thirty-one rejections came from the literary magazine for which I am now a reader, Vestal Review. In May of 2017, a VR Editor Who Shall Not Be Named wrote on my rejection that “A Distressing Sate of Purity” was “an interesting story except for the ending.” Traitor!

Due to Vestal’s response, I sent “Purity” to a magazine which offered editor feedback for $4. Read below. (Some parts are redacted because they reveal critical plot points.)

Though ostensibly flash, the piece seems to be interested in telling a modern fable; that is, a piece that feel a little bit bigger, more allegorical, more omniscient in the telling. Usually flash focuses on a single concentrated moment told in detail, with an intense focus on the language, but this piece skips time and the narrative voice stays large. That style is not to my particular taste. What I prefer to capture me in flash is the language: a dense focus on the line and the energy brought about by a particular rhythm and line of tension in the prose.

I think the most interesting part of Rosie’s character is something that wasn’t quite exploded enough: she seems to want to {REDACTED}, and she figures out a situation in which she can and yet {REDACTED}. Why is that? I’d like to see that story zero in on a moment of interaction with {REDACTED} — right now it’s mostly told, and I’d like to loosen the narrative grip on the piece and see a moment of confusion or ambiguity in Rosie’s education.

I took my $4-advice to heart. And worked my ending. And kept submitting.

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