Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Waiting Game

I've got two short stories out for consideration (well, technically three since I just emailed one out over the weekend, but I don't think about stories I've sent out unless a month has passed). The fact that they've taken this long is good, generally speaking. I've found that the really bad stories get the first paragraph read and then packed back.

One of them is going through the elimination rounds for an anthology, and they've promised to contact everyone by May 31st. The longer they take, the more I am pleased to wait.

The second one is about a month behind their standard response time, but the magazine is currently submerged in stories. I sent in a query over a week ago and haven't received a reply. I'm crossing my fingers on that one, but a few more months and I'll be withdrawing it.

This is the downside to trying to get the more popular places to consider your work. Too antsy, and they'll probably cut you out just because you're annoying. Pieces of work can get bounced by the system due to overflowing email inboxes. And sometimes they're so busy that pieces aren't even looked at, but simply sent right back out with a generic rejection letter.

I suppose I should be happy that out of the eight or so send-outs I've had that only 2 of them have been a form rejection. I've had quite a few nice emails back from editors, my favorite being the one from the editor at Aberrant Dreams, who wrote a lovely email. But it's hard being on the edge of publication with these stories and being unable to find a home for them. They're a bit like puppies who need adopting at this point.

I'm still surprised that out of all of my pieces, "Taxing Fixation" was picked up first. With it being a satire, I figured it would take longer to get it published.

It's not surprising how many hoops you have to jump through to get published, and most of them aren't particularly hard, you just have to be willing to play by the editor's rules. I know I looked through a lot of information on standard formatting for submission before I did so. And yet, we still get writers who send out items like the following excerpt:

"Mican sat with her feet up and watched the rain pelt the window. She hated rain its dreariness emphasized her loneliness. She drug her feet off the desk and walked to the window. She leaned her forehead against the window her warm breath fogging the window each time she exhaled. Lightning lit up the grey sky followed by a deep roll of thunder. She stood up and stared at a small bush in the far corner of the garden something caught her attention out of the corner of her eye. Could it have been her own wishful thinking, maybe she was seeing things. The small bush started thrashing about as if caught in a violent windstorm, Mican’s heart caught in her throat. The tiny pods that hung low on the thin stalks burst open revealing bright orange and red flowers. Mican turned and went to walk away, she put her hand to her chest she was being called, another keeper was being chosen. She felt the familiar tug and closed her eyes as she was pulled to another place. She opened her eyes to a familiar face he smiled at her"

No, I didn't add or take away anything. This is exactly as it was presented, lack of final punctuation and all. The following six paragraphs used "as the lightning flashed" four more times. She has been rejected by six agents/publishers over two years, and I just couldn't bring myself to tell her why. I mean, this is the woman who wanted me to add ellipses in unnecessary places and told me to watch out for the fragment sentences that I used... which were all dialogue... I knew there was a reason I only spent a week in that group. Terrifying.

I seriously wonder about people like this, who send out excerpts and short stories written in a way that's designed to make you weep from the lack of grammar, vocabulary, and creativity.

This is why 101 Reasons to Stop Writing was founded. They must have read the excerpts like the one above and finally gone nutty.

Oh, and you're probably wondering why I'm blogging in the middle of the day - I've got strep, so I'm home on quarantine today, doc's orders. I'm using my time very constructively, as you can see.

Actually, my only other plan for today includes finishing two novels and sitting down to hard edit my zombie comedy story. God knows it needs it.

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