Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Increasing the odds and the faces we show each other

As I stared at a rejection for a story today, I was not only dismayed that the story so many editors liked, had been rejected once again, but because I'm running out of SFWA-approved venues to send it to.

AND I don't have enough stories in circulation. I need to take my own advice and think several moves ahead. I need to have ready two or three other appropriate target magazines to send each of my pieces to upon rejection. Rejection happens. We have to plan for it and move past it. I often refer to it as kicking my chicks out of the nest. Of course, just having the next place lined out may not be all there is to do. We have to make sure the magazine still open for submissions, the guidelines haven't changed and --all too often-- reformat it.

For instance, if it was formatted for a print mag and you're sending it to an ezine, you may have to lose the double spaces between lines and the hanging indention for the first line of each paragraph (using instead an extra line between paragraphs). Still others demand .text docs, which is even more work, putting all those underlines before and after words that need to be italicized. A great many of my stories have inner dialog and even aliens projecting thoughts. Therefore, I'm big on italics. >sigh<

So, I think my answer to this is to schedule a regular time when I go through all my original and reprint stories that have been rejected and send them back out. One of the reasons people are chronically late is that they underestimate the amount of time things take. I think this is part of my problem. I need to get a grip on how long it takes to send out submissions and schedule times throughout the year to do it. That's why I like the Broad Universe mailing parties. That's precisely what they're for. Only the last one occurred when I had no time to spare, alas.

I'm still loathe to reformat a piece for the following magazine. It might (hopefully!) be all for nothing.

That's enough about rejection. One can only take so much, you know. ;)

I still haven't received my contributor's copy of The Mystery of Fate: Common Coincidence or Divine Intervention? It looks like it's a very professionally put together antho.

I did manage to knock out two book reviews and an article for a local magazine this week. And I've made progress on a story for an anthology. Maybe this weekend I can work on a rewrite of one of my new stories thus increasing the odds of both rejection letters and acceptance letters. It's rare that the first one is an acceptance. It's all a process. Oh, we weren't talking about rejection anymore, huh?

I tried to edit my recording of a radio interview and got stuck. I think I'm going to have to ask for help with this one. I was the only guest on an hour-long show. That's more of me than most people want to hear at once and the file is gynormous. I want to edit out parts into a more manageable size and also separate out the part where I read a short story on the air. It would be nice to offer a story read by the author on my website.

I found some SF news you might be interested in over at Locus. Namely, the 2010 inductees of the Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Octavia E. Butler, Roger Zelazny, Douglas Trumbull and Richard Matheson. So I knew there was a SF Museum in Seattle and I also knew that there was a music museum, in fact I was there the year it opened. But I had no idea they were one in the same place: Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame. Egads! I feel like I've been living under a rock. Anyway, that's where the ceremony will take place in June.

Those of you who share listservs with me have already seen this, so talk amongst yourselves. The Speculative Literature Foundation is offering a $750 grant to a budding speculative fiction writer of 50 years of age or older. The deadline is March 31st, so don't delay if that's you.

Finally, I've been thinking a lot about privacy, or our lack thereof lately. And the choices we make when we post things online. As in face to face encounters, we have different faces we show to different people. Some of us do this more than others, but I refuse to believe there are people in this world that don't do this. So, when we're posting all this stuff online, are we some sort of weird composite? One that is not really who we are either, because we're picking and choosing what we say instead of prompted by someone's pointed questions?

I'm a big fan of House. A recent episode had a woman who blogged about EVERYTHING. She couldn't do anything without blogging about it. This character made the statement that you can know a person more through their blogging than through actual conversations. Her rationale was that she was (and presumed others were) more honest and open in her blog than face to face or on the phone. She shared every last detail on her blog including arguments with her husband. Personally, I think if anyone really is like that, they need help. That's really obsessive.

Well, like it or not, this is my science fiction writer face. I try to stay on topic and my readers come back because they know what they'll find here.

And then I read this article in the NYT about online privacy and identity theft. Makes you think.

vote it up!


Eric James said...

You probably already have this, but just in case -- you can download Audacity for free. It is an audio recorder and editor, and it is pretty easy to use.

Ann Wilkes said...

Yes, I have it. It can't read the file type. :(

Onesimus said...

You may have received a rejection, but at least you wrote a story.

It's been almost twenty years since I received a rejection - but it is also almost twenty years since I wrote anything I could send out.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You got a lot going on today.

And what's worse? The rejection or never trying at all?

Ann Wilkes said...

Personally, I think rejection slips are a badge of honor in themselves. Only writers who submit works get them. :)

Bryce Ellicott said...

I absolutely agree with the 'badge of honor' idea. I print out rejections and tack them up on my cork board. Since most stories get rejected many times before acceptance, I figure each one is a necessary step to publication.

Privacy is hard to come by these days, as you note. And with or without the internet, we all show different faces at home, with friends, at work, etc. I write under a pen name for that reason. It is still authentically and originally me - the distilled writer part of me. The other parts that say, rant about the price of cat food, are offered in other venues :)