Race score down one (for now,) Rejections count up one

January 17, 2014

Yesterday I got an apologetic form-letter rejection from Sheila Williams at Asimov’s, passing on ‘Return to Civilization.’ I think this is only the second rejection I’ve received since getting back from Odyssey, so I need to kick the submissions up as much as I can.

First step would be sending Return to Civ out again somewhere else. I’m thinking I could try Analog but I’m not entirely sure. I’ll try to get it submitted before the weekend is out. That’ll bring my race score up to three, and then I can see what I can do about getting ‘Gotta Have that Look’ or “Orpheus and the Cameraman” whipped into shape to submit too.

IWSG: Facing rejection and accepting ‘as good as I can make it now’

August 7, 2013

Okay, it’s time for the August 2013 edition of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Apologies for not participating in July, but I was pretty ragged with Odyssey writing that week, and my blogging was down to the minimum.

It’s nearly two years now since I last submitted anything to a publishing market. At the time, I told myself that I needed to concentrate on the craft, but really, that was probably just my insecurity, finding a way to avoid rejection. Well, I’ve definitely learned a lot about the craft of writing, and I while I was at Odyssey a lot of people told me that I should be submitting a lot, that I was ready for it. Jeanne told me, Sheila Williams told me, Nancy Holder told me, I think Patricia Bray told me, the resident adviser told me and my fellow students told me. So I’m doing it. I’m going to submit again before August is finished, and I’ve set a tentative goal of reaching 42 new rejections in the year after I left Odyssey.

Part of what I’ll need to get me to that goal, as well as a willingness to face the rejection again, is a willingness to accept something short of an ideal perfection in my writing. Basically, if a story’s as good as I can make it right now, then it doesn’t get to sit on the hard drive for months as I learn more about writing; I pound the digital pavement and start sending it out. Yeah, I’m going to learn more about writing in the meantime, and use what I’ve learned to write better stories; maybe I’ll be able to revise something in between rejections, or maybe it’d be better not. But I can’t let the process bottleneck at the end. Keep writing, keep revising, keep submitting.

New goal: Revising ‘Masterpiece’

July 27, 2013

Okay so, now that I’ve reached my Camp target for new word count, I’m going to turn around and see if I can manage a revision in a week and change. The Oddfellows of 2013, (my Odyssey graduating class,) have pledged to critique each other’s stuff via email and to have something ready for critique every two weeks, which is a bit of a scary thought, but I’m willing to give it my best try, one story at a time.

The first piece I want to submit for a post-Odyssey critique was actually the last piece I submitted for critique in the workshop, but it was for a private critique with Sheila Williams, so my classmates haven’t seen it yet. Hopefully, before the deadline of the first Monday in August, I can do a decent revision incorporating Sheila’s critique and line edits.

One thing she suggested I change was the title; I wrote the story under the working title of “Tunnel of Love”, and then after being inspired by a stray line of dialog at the end, submitted it as “Frigga’s Masterpiece.” Sheila didn’t think the reference to Frigga in the title worked well, and suggested “Slaved to Love”, but I really want to leave the word ‘masterpiece’ in there. I’m planning to make some changes to make the motif of the masterpiece painting clearer through the story, and I’m thinking of changing the title to “Love is a Masterpiece”, which brings in the thematic element of love more clearly. It’s also now a direct quote out of the song that inspired me, Carolyn Dawn Johnson’s “Masterpiece.”

I’ve been working on a list of other things from Sheila’s critique that I can work on, including:

  • Having my main character take more direct physical action toward her goal. There’s only one part of the current draft that really fits this description, but Sheila said it was the best part and she wanted more of it, so I’m working on plans to make that a three-beat.
  • Make a particular minor character less obtuse.
  • Tweak another pair of minor characters so that they don’t come out of nowhere and add something to the plot.
  • Explore the motivations of one of the secondary characters.
  • Adjust a plot element that isn’t really working well in the ending yet.
  • Try to figure out other ways to give more bang to the ending.

I think I need to break ground on the revision draft tomorrow, though I can keep working on the plan as I go, instead of just blundering around editing whatever seems best at the moment.

Wish me luck, friends and followers!

Dispatches from the Campbell Conference

July 9, 2011

So, the writing workshop is definitely over now, and since Thursday evening or so I’ve actually spent a lot of time going to events affiliated with “The Campbell Conference.” This has been interesting – I’ve been to fandom conferences, and conferences that have a lot of stuff for writers and general science fiction/fantasy fans, but this has been a bit like a low-key convention devoted to science fiction (and sometimes fantasy) literature.

Like the workshop, it’s served to underscore just how little I actually know about science fiction literature, and thus been fascinating and annoying at the same time. 😉

Thursday evening was the library reception for the donation of the Theodore Sturgeon papers to a University of Kansas library, which was pretty cool, even though the speeches got a bit long and dry. It was really cool to look at the letter that he got from Isaac Asimov, for instance, or the one-page summary for “Spock Blows Top”, an episode idea for the original Star Trek TV series. It was eventually named “Amok Time” – the first episode to feature Pon Farr, “Live Long and Prosper”, and the Vulcan salute.

EDITED TO ADD: There was something that I’ve overheard bits of, both at this reception and earlier, and I haven’t got up the nerve to ask anybody for the full context yet, so maybe I’ll ask my followers. Something about a woman who was writing under a male pseudonym during the Golden Age of Science Fiction, and a prominent male author who said that “No woman could have written those stories.” Does anybody know who was being talked about?

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