At SixFold, the all writer voted literary journal.
Upon further review, it appears that there was one, very uncharacteristic vote that held my story back. The vote in question (LAST PLACE!) and commentary was so far removed from the 1st and 2nd place votes and commentary I received from the other voters. Here it is:
“This document contains several curse words or vulgar language. The quality and quantity of trite or inappropriate words, phrases, misspellings and clichés are found in this paper. The use of a ‘readability index’ to gauge whether or not your text is appropriate for a certain audience may be helpful. Most of your sentences state with a pronoun. Variety is helpful in eliminating monotony. Keep on writing as with practice you can do it.”
The thing is, my story contained very little profanity, zero misspellings and it had been run through a “readability index” with the following scores:
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 4.3
Gunning-Fog Score 6.6
Coleman-Liau Index 7.6
SMOG Index 7.4
Automated Readability Index 3.4
Average Grade Level 5.9
A score of 8 or lower is what is recommended for the general public.
It’s almost as if this voter was reading a different story while voting and commenting on mine by accident.
In contrast, here are some of the more flattering comments left by other writers:
“Midtown Funk 1. There’s a lot of despair throughout the text. I liked that Joe just rolls with the punches (literally) despite his gambling problem and the terrible things that happen to him. He carries this sense of responsibility for his own mistakes that’s admirable, even if it is just because of despair and resignation. His strength is particularly strong when he thinks about how he will die humorously. 2. The details about the settings are great – the bar in particular feels so alive and almost like it’s a character.
“Midtown Funk: A witty Charles Bukowski-style story about a man at the end of his rope. Strengths are: that the story starts in the middle of the action
“Good descriptions/imagery. Love the details of the bar bathroom – so stark and depressing, just as a bar bathroom usually is. Also love the description of the music on the jukebox. More of a vignette than a whole story altogether, though, I thought this was a well-written piece.”
“I was entertained by the ‘film noir’ qualities of the piece. The character is engaging if not particularly likable. The dialogue is authentic and the mood is sustained effectively throughout.”
“Vivid imagery, original non-cliched descriptions, and an engaging opening. The writing style and explicit imagery gives me a Chuck Palahunik vibe.