I have had a few "encouraging rejections" from a number of editors over the past couple of months. They said they liked my stories but the pieces just didn't quite work well with other tales in the magazines or anthologies, or it was "just a matter of fit."
I always appreciate a word from the editor regarding a story not being accepted. I understand the need for form rejections; the volume of submissions many publishers receive requires that they process pieces as efficiently as possible or writers would clamour with even more agonised ire about the long wait to hear back. Also, I recognise that some of the works I have submitted in the past very well warranted a form rejection. (Heck, I admit some didn't even deserve the form response I got.) Nevertheless, a terse comment, a mere hint at why the decision is made, even something akin to Gordon Van Gelder's apologetic and friendly "This story just didn't grab me," are all boundlessly better than the form rejection--especially that variety which goes to great lengths and into fine detail explaining precisely why the publisher cannot go to any lengths or into any details about why a story was rejected.
Anyway, even with as little as I have been writing and submitting lately due to attending school coupled with being the stay-at-home-dad for our year-old twins while my wife is working, I feel as if I'm on a bit of a streak with submissions. It feels like I'm getting ever closer to my next sale. And it's an exciting feeling to be sure.
Of course, whether that feeling soon proves true is a whole other blog post.