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bear by san

March 2017

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bear by san

I wouldn't mind the day job so much--

--if more went on here. It would feel like less of a waste of eight hours of my day.

***

Thoughts for the day (editorial advice for aspiring writers--and for myself, on the days when I'm not wearing my editor hat and the short fiction rejections are getting me down):

"Perseverance and growth will pull a writer into the top 10% quickly. As far as publishing goes, however, the real challenge and the hard pull is to get into the top one-half percent. But the slush pile is thinner than it looks."

--Jim Van Pelt

"There is always room for excellence."

--Charlie Finlay

...does not stand out

--Realms of Fantasy BFoD (Blue Form of Death).

***

This ties into the earlier comments on craftsmanship and passion.

Editing, even a semipro zine has totally changed the way I look at writing and submitting short fiction. And this is something I've had a hard time explaining to other neophyte writers who haven't had the editorial experience.

Some of you know this already. You can skip this part.

To wit: It's not enough to submit a story that is "good enough." That is to say, a story that doesn't do anything wrong.

You have to write stories that do things right. That play to your strengths, and that take chances, and that wake the jaded editor up and keep him staring at the page until he's done, flipping pages madly. There is no such thing as good enough in short fiction these days (even in the semipro market.) There is "wow," and there is ...does not stand out.

And now the good news: One editor's "didn't stand out" is another editor's "wow." And one editor's "I liked this but I'm not going to buy it," is another editor's "Gimme."

But if you're getting more "didn't stand out"s than "I liked this but I'm not going to buy it"s, chances are you could be doing more right.

Right story. Right desk. Right day. Write better.

It's all about getting behind the rock and pushing, Sisyphus.

Comments

Oh god yes.

And the worst part is trying to figure out the difference between "not doing anything wrong" and "doing things right."

Doing right?


And the less you're doing wrong, the harder it becomes... and then there's the point where you suddenly realize that "doing things right" sometimes entails "doing things wrong." Just in different ways than you might have when you had to start learning why they were "wrong."

:-P

China Miéville and his tense/POV shifts in The Scar, for example.

And it all looks so easy, from the outside. :-)

Re: Doing right?

As Dorothy Sayers has Lord Peter say in The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, "there's a difference between the man who can draw and won't draw, and the man who can't draw at all." Ideally, the effort is invisible. That's what makes it impressive. *sigh*

I've recently submitted a story to Abyss and Apex, so I'll be interested to see where A&A's editorial judgment puts it on the continuum between "not doing anything wrong" (or, worse, "doing things wrong") and "doing things right".

eeep!


It will be interesting to me too, since I don't know your non-livejournal name, so I have no way of telling if I have it or Leah does.

We'll find out together.

Re: eeep!

Well, that's cool then.
And now the good news: One editor's "didn't stand out" is another editor's "wow." And one editor's "I liked this but I'm not going to buy it," is another editor's "Gimme."

How about, 'Well-written, I like it, but I have this thing about first person POV'?

Aaarrrggghhh.

City Slab just bounced a vampire short story of mine. No, the 1st person POV wasn't the vamp.

1-POV


If an editor really, really hates something(in my case, horror stories--often, first POV or present tense) it's often in the guidelines.

Have you seen this yet?

http://www.ralan.com

(Note: Ralan's standards for "Pro" publication are not the same as SFWA or HWA's... !

hope that helps...

Re: 1-POV

Yes. In fact, City Slab's guidelines discourage (but don't forbid) first person POV. I can't remember whether I didn't notice it or said, what the heck, worth a shot. Oh, well, at least their turnaround time was short. Off to another market...
wrong. You have to write stories that do things right. That play to your strengths, and that take chances, and that wake the jaded editor up and keep him staring at the page until he's done, flipping pages madly. There is no such thing as good enough in short fiction these days (even in the semipro market.) There is "wow," and there is ...does not stand out. And now the good news: One editor's "didn't stand out" is another editor's "wow." And one editor's "I liked this but I'm not going to buy it," is another editor's "Gimme."

Yes. Testify!