Saturday, April 30, 2011

W1S1 April Results

Well, April is at an end (how?!) and I figured I'd join in with the rest of the Write1 Sub1 world by posting my progress for the month, both regarding the contest and my other projects. So here goes:

Stories Written in April: 2 

My Ray Gun and Me
Back in the Day

Submissions: 5 

My Ray Gun and Me (2x)
Back in the Day (2x
The Liar

Rejections: 3

The Liar (from March submission, Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
My Ray Gun and Me (Lightspeed Magazine)
Back in the Day (Word Riot)

Acceptances: 0  :(

Still no luck. It has been over a year since Midwest Literary Magazine accepted "Goldie" to be a part of their February issue, and I'm really starting to miss that buzz I got when that email arrived. It wasn't long after that when I found out they had included me in their print anthology, which was arguably even more cool than the online magazine, and not all that long since I placed in Spectra Magazine's microfiction contest, but neither quite felt like that acceptance.

Oh well. One of these days.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rejected: Lightspeed Magazine (3)

Lightspeed Magazine almost taunts aspiring writers with its title, which, if you've ever submitted there, you know to be a hilariously grim pun on how quickly they send your story back rejected. They just passed on "My Ray Gun and Me", which was my w1s1 entry for the month. This makes my third No from Mr. Adams.

I'll crack that market one of these days, John Joseph...

In other news, I've actually accomplished my goal of getting in TWO stories for w1s1 before the calender turns. I banged out a neat little 300-word piece of flash today that I hope won't have much trouble finding a home. It almost feels like cheating, writing something that short, but there are plenty of markets specifically for that kind of prose, so I guess there's no reason to feel guilty. 

Anywho, back to the grind. Gotta find a new market for "Ray Gun", among other things. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It Never Goes The Way You Plan It

When we last talked, I mentioned a story that I had been working on, a little ditty that was threatening to become my longest story ever. I brought it up because I was on a roll, and planning to use that story as my very first entry into the Write 1 Sub 1 monthly challenge (check THIS post for an explanation of W1S1).

Well, because Fate is such a fickle mistress, all of the good feelings I had for that story disappeared almost immediately after writing about it on this blog. I used to post much more frequently, and often discussed stories I was writing, or at least mentioned that I was working on one idea or another, and I cut down on the posts precisely because I felt they were sapping me of creative juices. Hey, for all I know, that's a load of BS and the story just died on me, which happens. But I'd rather play it safe from now on and just never...ever...mention stuff I'm currently working on. 

So anyway, as the end of April rapidly approaches, I went from thinking I might be able to pump out two stories for this month, to being in very real danger of not even finishing the one that I had so obnoxiously promised to have finished well ahead of time. So I tried...and I tried...

And I tried...

But nothing came. 

And then, just this morning, I had an idea. 1800 words later, I have a finished story. And...


Wow, is that the first ever live-blogging of a short story submission? See, that's why you follow this blog, people. History happens here. :D 

Write 1 Sub 1, Month 1 (for me, anyway) completed! 

Friday, April 15, 2011


(Clever title, eh?) 

I just received a nice form letter rejection from regarding my "Postcards From Arborville" story. I was expecting it, so it's not as soul-crushing as it might have otherwise been. I originally subbed the story in August, which makes this my longest wait ever. 229 days, to be exact. 

As I said, the rejection was your standard form letter, so it told me nothing of value, and there's no point in sharing it here. 

Still plugging away. I'll update again when the next story is done.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Change of Pace

Trying something new this year.
I've been aware of NaNoWriMo since it began a few years back, but since I'm not a novel writer (yet, anyway), it's never really been something I ever gave much thought. There have been other, similar challenges inspired by NaNoWriMo, but the ones I've seen are usually just NaNoWriMo in other fields--WoPoWriMo for poetry, NaPiWriMo for picture books, etc..

Until now, that is.

Ever since I left the Hothouse writing group, I've been staying away from Writer's Beat, which is where most/all of the members of the group spend a lot of time. But lately I've been missing the shop talk; my life is woefully devoid of folks to chat with about the craft.

So I stumble across Absolute Write, which appears to be a bigger version of Writer's Beat. They have a lot of services for new writers, including background checks on markets, which has already twice saved me from submitting my work to scam artists. I haven't joined yet, but I've been browsing (lurking?) the boards a lot lately, and it was during one of these quiet strolls that I found the W1S1 sub-forum. That is, Write 1 Sub 1, a challenge for writers of short fiction or poetry to write and submit one story per week.

(the story you submit in that week does not have to be the same one you wrote that week, for the record)

I am not a prolific writer. I am the opposite of that. And speaking of prolific, why is unprolific not a word? The antonyms for it are words like barren, fruitless, impotent, and unproductive (according to, anyway). Fruitful has fruitless and unfruitful, but prolific can't even have one true opposite? Lame. I am neither impotent or barren, since both of those words have colloquial implications that might get in the way of what I'm trying to say. You know what? Screw it. I am an unprolific writers. Neologisms rule.

Anyway, armed with that knowledge, you will better understand why I, at first, shied away from the idea of Write 1 Sub 1. But today--just now, right before I started writing this--I found the badge pictured above. Yes, they make a Write 1 Sub 1 for us sloths, too. One story written, and one story subbed, per month.

And, barring any ridiculousness (another good word I'd throw an 'un' in front of and make a pair), the story I'm working on now will be that story. Still don't have a title for it, but I think I'm somewhere around the halfway point (I may have already passed it). The interesting thing about this tale isn't just that it will be my first W1S1 submission, nor that the words are coming easier for this than they have for any story in close to a year, but because the point I've referred to as "the halfway point" is 6,200 words in. The longest story I've ever written weighed in at 7,500 words, so we might have a new contender for the crown here. I'll let you know.

That's it for me. And hey, if you're one of the four people who follow my blog, or stumbled across it by some happy accident and you're a writer or know someone who is, please spread the word. W1S1 isn't about competing, it's about getting writers to write and sub, something that most non-writers would be shocked to know does not happen enough.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Achey Breaky Heart

My second PRL from Beneath Ceaseless Skies came today.

Thanks very much for sending this story to 
_Beneath Ceaseless Skies_. 
Unfortunately, it's not quite right for us.  
Although I found Samael to be
an engaging character, the conclusion  
didn't quite work for me. I didn't
feel I had a new understanding of the  
world from the trickster's actions,
which made the details of the 'demons'  
feel somewhat disconnected from the
We appreciate your interest in our magazine. 
Please feel free to submit
other work in the future.
Kate Marshall
Assistant Editor
_Beneath Ceaseless Skies_

Kate's great because she lets you know exactly what she didn't like about your story, but she does it in a polite way that doesn't crush your soul. It got me to thinkin': would it be better if PRLs like this were a little more...I don't know...salty?

About a year ago I read Dreamsongs, the George RR Martin career retrospective, and there were these little (or not so little) introductions to each section written by Martin himself. Prior to the section featuring his story "The Meathouse Man", George gives some backstory:

Harlan [Ellison] returned my manuscript on March 30, 1974, with a letter of rejection that began, "Aside from shirking all responsibility to the material that forms the core, it's a nice story." After which he eviscerated me, challeneging me to tear the guts out of the story and rewrite the whole thing from page one. I cursed and fumed and kicked the wall, but I could quarrel with a single thing he said. So I sat down and ripped the guts out of the story and rewrote the whole thing from page one, and this time I opened a vein as well, and let the blood drip down right onto the paper.

Now, this isn't exactly an apples-to apples comparison; George had already been published multiple times, and had met Harlan in person prior to that, and the story in question was actually solicited rather than pulled from the slush pile. Also worth noting is that Harlan Ellison is a rather...salty...person to begin with, so his response probably was a bit harsher than the norm, to say the least. But there's something about getting challenged that really revs my engine. Aren't all the best teachers the ones that refuse to pull punches, the ones that hold a mirror up in front of you before they go about rescuing you from yourself?

I suppose I'm asking for too much. Editors are busy, and there are only so many hours in the day to respond to the hundreds of submissions, most of them probably crap. A personal rejection that challenges you probably requires more time and energy than the polite, straight-forward explanation. Maybe those Ellison-esque rejections are like gift baskets at the Emmy's--you gotta be somebody to get em.

But I still say there could be a little more oomph in these rejections. As much as I appreciate and value rejections like these, sometimes I feel like I could use a good kick in the ass, too.

Anyway, onward and upward. Back to the drawrin' board.

Oh, and since I quoted him, go ahead and buy George RR Martin's Dreamsons at There are two volumes, and both appear to be in the bargain bin. I picked them up a year ago and still go back to reread the stories from time to time. There's even a Dunk & Egg story in there. The finest collection of short work by one writer I've ever read, actually.