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Magnum Opus


Dear Editors and/or People forced to read the slush pile,

I rarely come across a call for submissions that I don’t like, but yours was one that I simply loved. Your journal’s call, looking for “only the best work out there in any genre,” thrilled me as no other has before. I have precisely the thing you need to brighten up your upcoming issue! From my cursory glance through the excerpts available on your website, I am confident my story would win the ‘Editor’s Choice’ award as well.

illustration of author reaching through window

“If you recall, I sent you my story titled “Magnum Opus” some time back…” Illustration by Josh Quick

In the spirit of your call for “great stories,” I’m doing exactly as you advised—hitting you with it! Attached to this email you will find, if you search hard enough, my magnum opus, a steampunk-noir-erotic-adventure of 11,523 words for your kind consideration. I am confident it will blow all your expectations out of the water. I truly envy the opportunity that lies before you of reading my masterpiece and absorbing its greatness.

You will be delighted to learn that only ten-percent of my story features racist, sexist, and homophobic undertones. Upon insistence of my critique partners, I have removed the scenes that depict torture and incest. But fear not, I fully intend to include them in my as-yet-unpenned crime thriller.

Your submission guidelines urge writers not to reveal details of the plot, but I’m sure you will make an exception when you hear that my story features a shadowy detective whose client presents him with a steampunk time-travel machine. He takes a casual trip into the past where he copulates with a succession of Marilyn Monroe lookalikes before careening back into the future to resolve his client’s conundrums (or is it conundra? I’ve never really figured it out).

My third person bio would read as follows: Gargi Mehra acquired a degree in computer engineering, and as soon as she did, regretted it and jumped into a river of creativity. The tsunami of rejections flooding her inbox might have led the average writer to slash their wrists, but not her—she persists in sending her work to every literary journal that boasts an active website. Over the years, she has had eleven times more work rejected than she has had accepted. On occasion, she has even hoodwinked the editors of several journals and garnered publication credits in their esteemed pages. Glowing personal rejections from the world’s most prestigious literary journals adorn her bedroom wall.

Thank you for the considerable time you put in for reading writers’ stories. As my writing instructor often tells me, “Since you have taken the trouble to pen your stories, why not share them with the world? Why must I alone suffer them?”

Wishing you literary regards,

Gargi Mehra


Reminder 1 

Dear Editors and Readers and whoever else has to trawl through submissions,

How are you doing down there in the editorial room, hunched over a pile of inappropriate submissions?

If you recall, I sent you my story titled “Magnum Opus” some time back, which is far more suitable for your particular style of literary journal than most. You wouldn’t know yet as the sheer mountain of inept stories have weighed you down and colored your perception of emerging writers like me.

As promised earlier, my story contains little or almost no objectionable elements, and tons of the fun.

I understand it may take a while to read it, but let me know when you do! As always, my contact details including my phone number are available below my signature, and in the header and footer of every page in my submission.

Warm regards,

Gargi Mehra


Reminder 2

Dear Editors,

I have recently been alerted to the fact that my submission falls into the category of a ‘novelette’, which I am sure will impress you even further. Its mishmash of genres will leave you breathless with admiration—just double-click to read it.

Call me to discuss further!


Gargi Mehra


Reminder 3

Dear Editors,

This is to remind you once more of my submission titled, quite appropriately, “Magnum Opus.” I am willing to work with you towards revising and revamping it to match the vision you nurture for your literary journal. All you need to do is read it and stamp your approval upon it for us to proceed.

In addition to phone and email, I am now active on all forms of social media as well so that you may contact me at any time and by any means possible to discuss the story.


Gargi Mehra



Dear Editors:

I am “sorry not sorry” to inform you that my story “Magnum Opus” is no longer available for your consideration. My cousin’s sister-in-law has started up a new literary journal and simply loved my submission, and she will not just be publishing my story but also compensating me by casting the widest possible net of exposure.

Bye forever,

Gargi Mehra

# END #

You may not get to read her “Magnum Opus,” but you can read Gargi Mehra’s great autoreply here.

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Gargi Mehra (Guest Blogger)

Gargi Mehra is a software professional by day, a writer by night and a mother at all times. She writes fiction and humor in an effort to unite the two sides of the brain in cerebral harmony. Her work has appeared recently in numerous literary magazines online and in print. She blogs at https://www.gargimehra.com/ and tweets as @gargimehra.