Monday, I told how I’d swore off dating and met Megan on my birthday; how my friend accused me of “trying too hard” and Megan herself forgot my name. Yesterday, I told how we discovered Megan was a gamer, and I called “dibs.”
Our story didn’t end there.
In fact, the story of our relationship properly begins with utter rejection and total humiliation.
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I hashed out typos/misprints one more time (there were still some nobody caught yet — unfortunately I’ll probably find more again tomorrow) and then spent about 90 minutes researching preferred hardcopy submission formats, spent 40 minutes formatting and printing, and finally put the whole manuscript together with a SASE and addressed a large manila envelope.
Woman’s Best Friend will soon be on its way to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction for review.
It’s weird to have stage fright for something you won’t hear back on for two months, minimum, but I do. Boy do I. I’m more frightened than Naomi was.
What’s most important is that I get another story finished and submitted LONG before I hear back about this one. If this story is 3 or 4 stories behind me, all of my excitement and energy will be focused on current projects, and a rejection for this one will hardly matter (continuing that cycle indefinately until a work is purchased).
The next project actually will be none of the prior ideas I mentioned, but a whole other pair of ideas I mentally married earlier today. I think I’m going to wait until tomorrow to tell you, though, but my non-geek fans will be pleased it’s another modern thriller instead of outright sci-fi or fantasy.
Step aside, Dean Koontz.
The feedback is starting to roll in for Woman’s Best Friend. Only for the first half so far; I’ve had a few requests for the whole story, but I haven’t been able to send them yet since that file is at home and I’m at work during the day.
Writers must simultaneously believe that their work is both the greatest story ever told (or else what’s the motivation to keep writing it?) and the most worthless drivel ever put to paper (or else how can we take rejection, which is inevitable?)
My ego is taking the customary post-new-story bruising, and it’s rough. But it’s necessary. It’s not just necessary that you give me feedback, it’s necessary that you be ruthless about it.
Because the people who read submissions are overworked, way behind, underpaid, and with each manuscript, all they’re looking for is an excuse to toss it out so they can move on to the next. Only a story which grips them flawlessly from beginning to end will be published.
I do want to remind you that I’m looking primarily for your experiences as you read. I’m looking for what you felt and thought, not how you think you would feel if X was changed/added/removed, because…let’s face it… we don’t really know. (And I’ve already received one grammatical ‘correction’ which would make the sentence incorrect. Needless to say, you can’t take all of everyone’s advice.)
But thanks for the feedback I’ve gotten so far, it’s already been a huge help.
Those who have requested the full text will receive it later tonight AFTER I’ve made the corrections already made evident in feedback to the first half, and done a quick polish/edit of the second half. I want it to be as quick a read as possible; it’s necessary that I edit it before I really begin to hate this story.
Some writers dread the blank page; not I.
I love the blank page. A whole world of possibilities awaits, and not one clumsy phrase yet clutters the concepts. Drafting the opening line of a story may well take me several hours, but it’s a process I enjoy.
For me, the challenge is the middle of a project. I find myself awash in a sea of words. The opening glow has been lost, and no fruits of my labor are in sight. Minor changes to the first paragraph can send ripples through the rest of the work causing untold grammatical or continuity errors until each is painstakingly fixed. I recently found a sentence in Perfect Justice that lacked gender agreement from the first half of the sentence to the next. That’s a pretty basic mistake, and I’m pretty sure one I’ve NEVER made in stream-of-consciousness writing. It occurred only because at some point, I changed the gender of a minor character, and failed to correct all the related pronouns.
Last night I wrote for about two hours, working on Woman’s Best Friend. Afterwards, I logged into the site and updated my wordcount.
Now when I look at it today, that progress bar has leaped forward. Before when I worked on a story, particularly the first draft, I got no sense of progress or accomplishment. Even now, I still don’t know how many drafts it will take before I submit for publication, and afterwards it’s anybody’s guess how many rejection slips it takes before publication. (And some stories may never see print.)
But the progress bar is something and it’s giving me a sense of achievement and more motivation to go back tonight. It’s made my progress quantifiable at a glance (if not qualifiable).
Quite likely 3,000 words will be too short for that story, but I wanted a very attainable goal for the first project undertaken along with the website. And it will make a good benchmark to try and stay within before going longer to make sure I’m no wordier than necessary.