Tag Archives: rejection slips

Itchy Fingers and Rejection.

I came out of the AWP conference pretty jazzed about Meet the Larssons and Project Hometown.  I jotted down half a dozen good ideas to incorporate into the revision of MTL, and at least that many ideas for Hometown.  Since the end of the conference, however, I haven’t done anything on either project.

Some of that was because I wanted to spend some time with the Siren and the kids, and some of was about being a little burned out after three days thinking about almost nothing but writing.  But some of it, I have to admit, was about screwing around on Twitter and Facebook and other places on the internet (or, as our kids call it, “teh stoopid internet,” because it conks out so often).  Tonight it was a combination of screwing around with a new toy and doing real bill-paying work.

But tomorrow, as we all know, is another day.  After the kids go to bed, I plan to get at least an hour in on Meet the Larssons.  As for Project Hometown, I think I’m ready to start the scene-by-scene spreadsheet in the Snowflake Method of outlining. I’ll try to get going on that over the weekend.

During the conference, I met people who had been working on their novels for years, so I don’t think I’m going to beat myself up too much for taking a few extra days off.  But my fingers are starting to itch from lack of output, and tweets, status updates, and blog posts aren’t going to cut it much longer.

I received another couple of rejection slips recently, by the way, for TTB and “Mr. President.”  “Jimmies” is now the only story I have out there.  I think both of those stories need to be trunked for a while, to give them (or me) time to get some distance.  I also want to consider getting back to “Jamie’s Story,” which I stopped working on last month and has lingered, unfinished, more or less in the gloom ever since.  What can I say?  It’s a tough business.

Winter Sunday Stats #7: Watching the Ads, Having an Argentine Malbec.

… because I’m an effete liberal snob.  Actually, I’ve enjoyed the game a lot more in the last couple of years since we got the HDTV; I do love the Super Bowl ads, though.  I’m very curious to see how they change this year, considering our current high-speed train trip to economic armageddon. If I had to pick a team, I’d root for the Steelers.  First, all of America is Pittsburgh now, given the economy.

Second, I’m not going to cheer for any team that never plays home games in the snow.

On to the stats:

On Writing: Not much accomplished this week, due to massive amounts of work for my day (and night) job.  I got a few pages further on the revisions of Meet the Larssons, up to page 208.  “Jimmies” was rejected not once but twice — one market had it for six weeks, the second for less than 24 hours (love the markets with the fast turnaround) — and is now back out on submission again.  I try not to get too wrapped up in the short story submissions; it’s a cold cruel world out there, and editors of even small webzines receive far more manuscripts than they could ever accept, no matter how good they are.  Still, I’m particularly fond of “Jimmies,” and I think it’s the best short story I’ve written so far.  More than anything else, I feel like it deserves a home.  I suppose I could just post it here, but that will be my last resort.

I also made the mistake of typing out a 1200-word summary of a post-apocolyptic science fiction novel.  I’ve put a lot of effort into outlining Project Hometown, and expect that to be my next novel when I get further on the revisions to MTL, but this other one — I’ll call it Project Werewolf, even though it isn’t about werewolves — looks like fun.  It’s the shiny new object.  Pretty.

On Running: Today it was warm enough to run outside, which was wonderful (even though my winter running gear doesn’t fit quite as well as it did this time last year).  I took it slowly because of the ice that was still on the ground, but still managed 7.12 miles in 64 minutes (8:59 m/m) — not what I’d like to do, not even what I’ve been doing on the treadmill lately, but reasonable for my first run outside in over a month, especially considering the ice, stoplights, etc.  My mileage for last week was just over 20 miles, which is where I want it to be regularly, at least until half-marathon season.  Two of my mid-week runs were in San Diego along the harbor, which beats staring out the window on the treadmill hands down.  All in all, a pretty good running week.

On the iPod: I’m still working my way through Scott Sigler‘s Ancestor — just two episodes left.  I picked up Infected at the bookstore this week, figuring Scott’s given me enough free entertainment.  I haven’t listened to much in the way of other podcasts this week while I’m listening to the audiobook.  I have noticed that I haven’t received a new episode of Escape Pod in my iTunes feed since January 9.  Usually the editor/host, Steve Eley, puts out a new episode every week, and based on the download numbers in his last metacast, EP has the second or third largest circulation of any science fiction magazine (including print).  There’s no information on the website about a hiatus, and several of the pages are disabled, including the forums. Steve took a hiatus last fall, and gave advance notice in the feed.  Since there wasn’t any mention in the last episode and there’s nothing on the site, I assume this wasn’t planned, and I hope he’s all right.

Final Note: Just saw the commercial for the new Star Trek prequel.  My shouted “Yes!” startled the children.

A Rejection. A Submission. More Outlining. No Editing. TGIF!

Just a quick update tonight.  Another rejection slip in today’s mail:  “Jimmies” was rejected by one of the big three pro magazines, the only one of the three that I thought would want it.  I spent a while this evening combing through my bookmarks of submission guidelines and finally made up my mind to send it to a semi-pro journal that I like; the editor rejected TTB a couple of months ago, but that hardly makes him unique.

I’ve just about finished writing the synopses of the story for Project Hometown from the viewpoints of each of the major characters.  According to the Snowflake Method (link on the sidebar under “On Writing”), the synposes are supposed to be one page for each of the major characters, and half a page for the minor characters.  That didn’t work for me; of the four major characters, the synopses are approximately 1200, 350, 750, and 900 words.  I’ll have to try harder for the minor characters to keep to a limit, or I’ll be dealing with them through the end of the year.  After I finish the character synposes, the next step is to go back and expand the overall plot synopsis.

No revisions this evening due to exhaustion, researching where to submit “Jimmies,” and (most important) much needed & wanted catching up with Mrs. Unfocused — it’s the first night since Sunday we’ve both been home all evening.  This evening she noticed I got a haircut.  I got it on Wednesday.

Tomorrow’s Saint Lucia Day, which means Unfocused Girl and Mrs. Unfocused bring up coffee and cinnamon rolls for us all to have in bed.  I love Swedish holidays!  Happy Saint Lucia day!

Saltwatch 2008-09:  Days after Dec. 1 without seeing a City of Chicago salt truck:  12.  The good folks at Chicagoist have been on this story for a while (here’s a link to a recent post about my Alderman ripping Mayor Daley a new one, which I’m glad to see, even though I disagree with his proposal to raid the Midway privatization funds to fund snow removal).  As a commenter said earlier this week, apparently Daley’s snow removal plan is to wait until Sunday, when it’s supposed to go up to the high forties, so the snow will simply melt.  Long-term, we can all just wait until June before leaving our houses.

Fall Sunday Stats #7: I Am Such a Wuss.

Today, izzums wuzzums me has a wittle cold, so I decided to be a complete baby and not run at all.  I had a difficult week, between travel and office work, so I was looking forward to my long run today.  Instead, I started to come down with a cold yesterday afternoon, and this morning I woke up with a full blown … stuffy nose, and a little scratchiness right at the back of my mouth, above my throat, if you know what I mean.  Ordinarily, I would ignore a little head cold and go for my run anyway — I read once that if your symptoms are all above the neck, you can run — but we’ve got plans for Thanksgiving, and I would prefer not to be miserably sick for the holiday, so I wimped out of my ten-mile run outside.  I could have had a run on my treadmill, but wasn’t in the mood, which probably says more about how I’m feeling than anything.  I’m a wimp.

What did I do all morning instead?  Let’s go to the stats.

How’s the running going? Ha.  Very funny.

What was playing on the iPod? Nothing this morning, and not much this week, since I didn’t run.  I did listen to EscapePod #181 (“Resistance”) and #183 (“Beans and Marbles”) and Adventures in SciFi Publishing #68 (Sally Malcolm).  The two EscapePod stories were very good; as a wannabe writer, I particularly liked “Beans and Marbles,” which is an excellent example of the unreliable narrator point of view.

What about the writing? I’m so glad you asked.  I started a new short story — I’ll call it “Jimmies,” for now — on the train Monday morning and this afternoon, after an 2,000-word binge, I finished it, at 5,678 words.  In some ways, I think this may be the best story I’ve ever written.  I haven’t re-read it, so I don’t know if it’s the best writing I’ve ever done, which is a completely different question.  It feels right, though.  We’ll see how the revisions go.

It’s been a pretty good week for my fledging avocation as a writer:  one acceptance, one rejection (and that story turned around and sent back out), and the first draft of “Jimmies” started and finished, with time left to revise it and “Babel” (the story I finished last week) before my self-imposed December 1 deadline to start the revisions on Meet the Larssons.

My plans for blogging didn’t work out too well.  I’ll try to get the post about the puppy, at least, up before the holiday.

Finally, I want to wish all of you Wrimos out there good luck with the final week of NaNoWriMo.  Keep those word counts up!

One Acceptance, and Another Rejection.

So yes, I now have one acceptance up on the Short Story Submissions Scorecard.  I’m not getting paid for it — it’s a web-only market and except for a handful of ads on the sidebar, non-commercial — but it’s a flash story only 599 words long, so I don’t feel like I worked too hard not to get paid.

I picked up the acceptance email on my Blackberry while I was in the back of a taxi in Los Angeles, stuck in traffic, so it was not an opportune time to do the happy dance.  In fact, since I’ve been back I’ve been too busy to do the happy dance at all.  Hang on just a sec.

There, that’s better.

I did email & call Mrs. Unfocused, and there might have been maniacal cackling; I don’t recall.  I can’t wait for it to go up on the site, but I have no idea when that will happen.  When it does, I’ll post a link, anonimity be damned.  I want to drive as much traffic to it as I can.  Until then, I’m not going to say who accepted it, because I don’t want to jinx it.

I sent one of my rejected stories out again the night I got home, and was able to add to my usual cover email, “My story ‘On the Job Training’ was recently accepted by…” which sounds great, but didn’t change the result — the story was rejected 11 hours later.

Fall Sunday Stats #5: Ronald Reagan, Commie Scum; John McCain, Terrorist Fundraiser.

The Republicans have pushed me over the edge with their latest lunatic ranting.  The most impressive thing about McCain’s — very funny — appearance on Saturday Night Live last night is that he managed it without visibly looking under the Weekend Update desk for commies hiding under it.

I’m not going to link to all of the videos of Republican candidates and talking-point spewing mouth breathers slandering Obama by calling him a socialist, Marxist, or communist; they’re available on in the ‘tubes.  Google “Obama socialist” and you’ll find plenty.  Let me get through the stats for the week and I’ll give you my rebuttal.

Miles run today:  None.  The Mrs. is singing excerpts from the Faure Requiem at church this morning, and I don’t miss her performances except for emergencies.  She’s got a wonderful voice.

Words written:  590 words of the short story I’m working on.  Between a tough week at work and election coverage at night, I haven’t been getting much writing done.  Back on track after Tuesday!

And now, my Keith Olbermann-style special comment:

REAGAN WAS A SOCIALIST!

Okay, Republican neo-McCarthyites, what in your mind makes Obama a socialist? Is it his support for the progressive income tax structure (increasing marginal rates as income goes up)? McCain/Palin support the same structure, they just differ over the rates. Let’s assume that you don’t believe we’re living in a socialist state today.  The top marginal income tax rate is currently 35%.  Obama has proposed raising the top rate to 39.6%, which is where it was during the boom years of the 1990s. Are you saying that the line between a capitalist society and a socialist society is crossed somewhere between 35% and 39.6%? Where is that line, exactly? Is it 36%? 37? 38.2%?  Were we socialists during the tech boom?

I also think that it’s unfortunate that you’re defaming Ronald Reagan by calling him a socialist. If Obama’s a socialist for proposing a 39.6% top marginal rate, Reagan must have been positively Stalinesque in his support for the communist system, because under his self-proclaimed “tax reform” the top marginal rate from 1982 through 1986 was 50%. What a pinko! Now, to give credit where credit is due, maybe the Gipper saw the light, because in 1986 he signed another tax bill that lowered the top marginal rate to 38.5%. Perhaps that’s the line we should never cross – 38.5%=capitalist market economy, freedom, and the shining city on the hill, while 38.51% = socialism, tyranny, oppressed masses, and another Evil Empire.  Who knew the red revolution would be so subtle, and yet so well defined?

All tax systems are redistributionist, even a flat tax.  Back in 2000, McCain called the Bush tax cuts “irresponsible.”  So is going back to the pre-2001 top rate “socialistic” or simple fiscal responsibility?

MCCAIN FUNDED RADICAL PALESTINIAN TERRORIST!

As for Khalidi, while McCain served on the board of the International Republican Institute, that organization gave Khalidi several hundred thousand dollars in grants in the 1990s. Obama spoke at a dinner where the guy was in attendance, and says that in a couple of conversations Khalidi challenged some of Obama’s biases. Assuming Khalidi is some kind of radical terrorist (a charge for which there doesn’t appear to be any evidence), which association is more offensive?

Let’s get this straight:  Obama, not a socialist, not someone who pals around with terrorists.  He’s just the guy who’s kicking Republican ass.

Fall Sunday Stats (on Monday!) #4: John McCain, You’re No TR

Before I get into the usual Sunday Stats, I’d like to say, Happy 150th Birthday, Theodore Roosevelt! I’ve been a fan of TR’s for years, and I’d like to say to John McCain that I’ve read a lot about Theodore Roosevelt,

and I feel qualified to say, Senator McCain, you’re no Theodore Roosevelt.  And if you don’t believe me, ask him yourself.

In other news, Mrs. Unfocused has made an herculean effort and gotten all of the kids’ baby and toddler clothes out of the study (and out of the house), and rearranged the furniture remaining so that the study is a place I can work at home, and write, without piles of stuff teetering over my head.  That would have been enough for me to feel like it’s Christmas in October, but on top of all that, she found me the perfect desk chair on Craigslist at a ridiculously cheap price:

Sure, it’s used and a little scratched, but some failed start-up’s loss is my tuchus’s gain, which is about the only good thing anyone can say about the economy these days.  I’m still listening to Planet Money every day; I keep waiting for Adam Davidson or Laura Conoway to annouce the very special “Everything’s Okay!” episode, but instead, we have today’s topic, on how things are even worse in poorer countries.  This does not help my mental state.

Miles run today: 10.16 miles in 1:21:54, an average pace of 8:04 minutes/mile, which is great.  It was a beautiful fall day, and my various joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles, which have been very aware of the implacable approach of my fortieth birthday, were relatively uncomplaining.  I beat the Mrs. and kids home, which is always a bonus because I don’t have to feel guilty about holding up the day while I stretch.  And I need a lot more stretching than I used to have to do.

What was I listening to on my iPod during my run: Pheddipidations # 158 (“Running the Bay State Marathon”) and Escapepod # 178 (“Unlikely”).  Escapepod, if you’re unfamiliar with it, is a free science fiction podcast, which audio-publishes new and previously published short stories.  In episode 178, the host, Steve Eley, introduced me to the music of Jonathan Coulton.  After listening to a few songs on Coulton’s website, I bought one of his albums (Where Tradition Meets Tomorrow), which I would classify as geek rock (Cory Doctorow used a line from one of the songs as the title of a recent short story, and if that isn’t geek cred, I don’t know what is).  Coulton’s a heck of a songwriter, and he makes plenty of his music available for free on his website so you know what you’re buying.

Words written last week: 2,493 words of a new short story.  I’m maybe 2/3 done with the first draft, and when that one’s done, I’ve got one more teed up in the Idea folder before I go back to Meet the Larssons, refreshed and ready to rewrite.

In another news, TTB was rejected for the fifth time this week.  The rejection was short but personal and somewhat encouraging, which was a nice change, but still a rejection.  At this point, I think I’m going to leave it alone for a few months, then take another look at it with an eye to revise it to make it, y’know, better; if I could cut it down to under ten thousand words, that would open up additional markets as well.  In any event, I’m going to let it age for a while, and hope that it’s more like wine than an overripe cheese.

Final political note: I took Unfocused Girl and Junior out for a walk the other night to look at the Halloween decorations on the next block.  As we got to the corner of our block, Junior looked at the house there and asked his older sister, “Is that where John McCain lives?”

Because, you see, I had told him that John McCain reminded me of the cranky old man who lived on the corner of my block when I was a boy.  Last week, Junior had gotten confused and thought that McCain himself had lived on my block.  Now he’s taken that one step further, and decided McCain lives on the corner of his block.

There goes the neighborhood.