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the actual rejection

March 23, 2009

For purposes of comparison, I am posting the contents of my rejection below. I hope that doesn’t offend anyone (including Clarion SD personnel). If it does, tell me and I’ll take it down; I’m not looking to step on anyone’s toes here. I simply wonder whether they all say the same thing or not, especially the way this one is worded. It’s very nice and feels halfway between personal and form, like there are two or three different rejection emails depending on your score. 

Dear Scott Baker:

Thank you for applying for the 2009 Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop at UC San Diego. Your application has been carefully reviewed. We regret to inform you that you have not been selected for admission. However, the admissions panel feels that you work shows promise and says you came “very close” to being admitted. The reviewers encourage you to keep writing and to reapply in 2010.

Thank you for your interest in Clarion.


Tania Mayer
Program Coordinator

This was received three days after the posted deadline for notifying acceptances.  Feel free to compare your message to mine.  I’m curious if they are different.  You can post your letter in a comment if you like.  Whatever.  

For those of you that, like me, got a thanks-but-no-thanks, keep writing and stay in touch.  If we work together, we can all get in next year.  Or better yet, succeed without any workshop but each other.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. March 23, 2009 7:21 pm

    Sorry that the news wasn’t better, Scott. Keep writing. I’ll keep dropping by here to see what you’re up to. And I would take the message that the admissions panel likes your work seriously; Tania doesn’t blow smoke.

  2. March 24, 2009 1:23 am

    My rejection says the exact same thing, and it is nice. The statement that the work “shows promise” and that we were “very close” to admission softens the blow a bit. However, it (obviously) left me wanting more, so I’m planning to join an online workshop to try to meet that need. I need to take it to the next level, not just to prepare for next year but for myself, you know?

    Definitely stay in touch! One of my very first thoughts after receiving the rejection was concerning online contacts I’ve made, and wondering if they’d keep in touch now that our dramatic moment of commonality has passed by. It was a disheartening thought.

    @E.J. –thank you so much for the feedback. It means a lot. Even a nicely worded form letter can drive a person crazy. “Did they really mean it? Or are they just being nice?” etc. I feel encouraged, nay motivated! to go on.

  3. Bananas permalink
    March 24, 2009 4:46 am

    Dear Oso,

    In an ironic twist that makes weird sense in the spec fic universe, I have been waitlisted for Clarion SD. I don’t know if my nerves can take it. So we can wait together in cyberspace.

  4. osomuerte permalink
    March 24, 2009 12:37 pm

    That’s awesome, Bananas. Not as awesome as making it, but awesome in a way much like my waitlisting is awesome. Good luck. Surely one of us will stumble into a spot…but which? -Oso

  5. CoreKnell permalink
    March 24, 2009 8:48 pm

    I received the exact same email, including the “very close” bit. Maybe they do send the same message to all rejectees. I prefer to think that maybe we did actually both almost make it. Keep writing and let’s get in next year!
    Chris C.

    • osomuerte permalink
      March 24, 2009 9:24 pm

      I bet the last few people cut (five…fifteen, whatever) got the same email. I don’t expect a personalized email, just something different from someone who wasn’t “close”. On the upside, I bet we’d both be good at horseshoes. -Oso

  6. March 25, 2009 3:13 am

    I’m with Oso on this one, and E.J.’s comment cinches it; the reviewers/administrators aren’t going to blow smoke up our butts.

    Read what Jamie Grove has to say ( about rejection from Clarion West. Granted, it isn’t the same workshop, but the types of letters sent to applicants are different, and I feel this is probably true for Clarion SD, too. We won’t really know until other people come forward.

  7. March 26, 2009 12:15 am

    I did NOT get the “very close” bit, so you actually were close. This is how my rejection letter reads:

    Thank you for applying for the 2009 Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop at UC San Diego. Your application has been carefully reviewed. We regret to inform you that you have not been selected for admission.

    A number of factors were considered in evaluating each applicant. Please be aware that we received a very large number of applications and many excellent candidates could not be offered admission.

    We hope that you will continue to write and apply your talents to the process.

    Thank you for your interest in Clarion.

    Considering the fact that I won 1st place in Writers of the Future, I feel like my work shows promise… but I guess the stories I submitted must have sucked. Oh well, I got my number 1 choice. No sense pouting that my fall back pick didn’t take me.

  8. March 26, 2009 12:46 am


  9. osomuerte permalink
    March 26, 2009 1:31 am

    Is it wrong that this makes me feel better?

  10. March 26, 2009 4:16 am

    lol! Of course not. I wouldn’t have posted it otherwise. 🙂 You’re celebrating your success, not my failure!

  11. March 26, 2009 4:47 pm

    I have to admit that I feel slightly better, too! Not that we did better than Jordan or something like that, but that we DID rank and it’s not just a form letter. The wording IS different.

    @Jordan: If I’d been paying attention, I’d already know this, but did you submit different stories to the two workshops?

  12. March 26, 2009 4:53 pm

    @Tracie W.

    I did sub different stories. My Writers of the Future winning story, “After the Final Sunset, Again” was 7200 words, so I could sub it to CW, but not to CSD. I subbed two other, unpublished stories to CSD, stories that weren’t really finished, but the only ones I had that fit under their 6000 word wordcount. I literally decided to apply to CSD at the last second out of an unreasonable fear that I might not get accepted to CW, and those two stories were just what I had on my harddrive.

  13. April 8, 2009 9:56 am

    I’m sorry to read about this. I’d hoped that you would get into San Diego. If you have an lj, let me know. I’d love to keep in touch.

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