Why Was My Rewrite Unsuccessful?


It’s disappointing to spend time on a rewrite, only to check your inbox and find that it’s been unsuccessful again.

We’re mindful of the effort that goes into getting stories ready to submit, so we’ll only ask you to look at it again if we think it has publication potential.

 Some reasons why stories don’t work second time around . . .

  • They drift away from the original story, or ‘feeling’ of the story. We liked the original enough to ask for a rewrite, so please don’t make major changes unless these are requested.
  • Once the first raft of initial corrections are done, it can reveal flaws or weaknesses in the story that perhaps weren’t quite so apparent before.
  • The rewrite was sent back too quickly. Let the new draft settle, so you have time to take a carefully considered overview before re-sending.
  • It can occasionally also come down to personal preference. Your editor reads your rewrite before passing it to the Fiction Editor, and then the Editor. They then take time to consider if your story is not only strong in itself, but that it is a good fit for the “Friend”.

Why we ask for rewrites

We ask for rewrites relatively frequently — from experienced writers, as well as from newer contributors. It’s not unusual to be asked for more than one rewrite, too; a bit of back-and-forth correspondence is normal. Our aim is to help shape your work in preparation for possible publication.

In most cases it’s not necessary to rewrite the entire story, just one part, or selected parts of it. An email from a member of the Fiction Team will direct you towards the areas of your story that need attention.

If you’re asked for a rewrite, please read exactly what’s required carefully.

Not sure why you’ve been asked for a rewrite? Find out here

Click here for more from the Fiction team, or click here for some of our top writing tips.


Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 150 years of 'Friend' fiction!