Dear Vestal Review reader,

It might come as a surprise to some, but the majority of stories rejected by literary magazines are good. At least, there is nothing wrong with them. They have a fine plot, developed characters and accomplished language. Why are they rejected, then? Because writing a good story is not enough. Your competition—and that’s what the other writers are—crafts well. You are not competing with half-wit amateurs. You compete with MFA holders, with workshop graduates, with talented and determined writers. Your story has to stand out. It has to be best of the best. As simple as that.

Of course, the definition of “the best of the best” is subjective or even biased. What is great for one magazine might get a form rejection from another. So, don’t be discouraged and keep trying to find a home for your work.

On another note, good writing requires not just interpretation but collaboration between a writer and reader. A good piece of writing is never finished, but even if it were, the process of reading and thinking by the reader adds to the finished work. The reader’s imagination brings to life the hints and suggestions, the possibilities, whatever exists between the lines. When it’s read only by the author, writing by itself is meaningless. We hope you enjoy the eight pieces of flash fiction in this issue. They are truly the best of the best, but they require collaboration with you to fully blossom.

Mark Budman

Bed Bugs by Abbie Copeland

I Don’t Love You Too by Brett Jackson

Dawn, Again by Cameron Yow

Behind Curtain #3 by Kim Hanneman

Textual Artifacts by Kristen Keckler

Silver by Kurt Steinmiller

The Color of Skin by Matthew Smart

Bad Boys by Zack Bean