Monday, June 24, 2013

Well, I Guess I Have To

I am slowly, slowly coming to terms with the concept of self-promotion.  I am the type of dude who doesn't want to bother anybody and feels uncomfortable tooting my own horn, so to speak.  Still, I've come to learn it's something I actually need to do if I want my stuff out there.

I should have know it long ago.  I remember reading this on a packet of sugar, and it always stuck with me:

          He who has a thing to sell and goes and whispers in a well,
          Will not make as many dollars as he who climbs a tree and hollers.

Goofy, but pretty apt.  Anyway, this is my roundabout way of notifying, uhm, the world or something, that my story 'And the Chilean Sea Bass Was Overcooked, Too,' has been published in the One Sentence Story Anthology, which is available here:

The .pdf is free but there's also a very attractive print version available for only $5, including illustrations by Katie Sekelsky.  The editor is Matthew Bennardo and he did a great job - the stories run the gamut from sweet to heartwrenching and just about everything else in between.  If you like the .pdf please consider spending the fin and helping out an indie publisher.

In other news, my alarm didn't go off this morning at 5am and I missed my writing session.  I'm pissed about it, which is a good thing.  Not the missing the session, but being ticked about it. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Know When to Fold 'Em

I wrote a story.  That is not an unusual thing in and of itself.  I write a good number of stories, although it would probably behoove me to write a number of good stories instead.  The idea came to me out of nowhere like they sometimes do and I cranked it out over a couple of hours.  It's urban fantasy, but it has a fairly risque sex scene in it.  It's not graphic or gratuitous (it's actually crucial to the plot) and believe me, I reined myself in, but I could see how it might make some readers uncomfortable.  Hey, I'm okay with that.  Writing should cause reactions in the reader. Unfortunately, I seem to be getting the wrong one.

The story has been rejected, numerous times.  As per above -  this is not an unusual thing in and of itself.  I'm okay with the fact that as someone who writes for a hobby my three pro sales are dwarfed by the number of rejections I've garnered, and while I don't like being turned down any more than the next person I've learned to accept it as part of the game.  Sometimes I write things that maybe aren't so good.  I got over the delusion that it wasn't my writing but just needing to make the inner circle that was holding me back (for an excellent essay on that, read this by Scott Lynch: ). I can accept that a story simply isn't good enough. (What?  Never!)

See, but that's the problem here. Of the reject slips this particular story has earned itself, over half have been of the personal type and borne praise such as 'well-written,' 'excellent writing,' 'interesting and a good read,' and so on.  Nobody specifically mentioned that the sex squinked the story for them, so I'm left to wonder - is it the sex, or is it just that the story isn't good enough?  Or perhaps I should peek behind Door #3 and ask if I'm submitting to the wrong market?  Should I go back in with phaser set to SEXIFY and make it something that might (wait for it) find a fit in the erotic market?  (Disclaimer: my wife/first reader made that suggestion after the first few rejections) This calls for research, to see if it's something that would be embraced by the romance genre (probably not) or only by the hard-core erotics, for which it might be too tame.  All that takes is a little research.  And if SOMEBODY has to go read so-called dirty stories, I suppose it can be me.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Rejection Infection

Part of writing is being rejected.   For me, it must be an integral one.  Like most would-be scribes I've amassed a hefty share of 'no thank yous'  over the years,  although I am old enough to have a number of them typed on actual paper.  The speed of the internet makes it easier to find markets and submit to them.  At the same time, it also allows our egos to be kicked around with much more speed and efficiency.

Yesterday morning, after I'd gotten up at 5am and cranked out 749 words in 45 minutes (yep, sticking to the schedule and ignoring the exhaustion), I took 5 minutes and submitted a story to a market that was new to me.  The story has been a 7 time loser - it's a little risque, and that might be a tough sell, or - OR - it just might not be that good.  I like it and my first reader likes it a a lot, so I keep sending it out.  Yesterday, into another slush pile it went.

This morning, when I woke up at 5am (even on Saturdays, including when I have an MS charity Muckrun in a few hours!  The dedication!)  I had a bright, shiny rejection notice waiting for me.  Now in the old days when I used to pound on an actual typewriter with a rock the story probably would have still been in my town's post office.  Instead I have almost instant confirmation of suckitude.  Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Good, or at least that's what I want to believe.  Hopeful waiting only makes the sting of refusal that much more sharp, methinks.  And this one came with positive personal comments - 'Well-written' and 'Interesting' - but the reader said the payoff wasn't enough.  There was a time when feedback like that would have shot me over the moon - now it just frustrates me a little at the same time.  I'm buoyed that my craft seems to be continuing to improve, as these type of comments are increasing in frequency.  At the same time, boo for failure.  This is a tough hobby, this writing.  I understand that it's a fickle one too, and that I could write a great story that for some reason doesn't appeal to a certain first reader - but that's how it goes.   The taste of writing success is so very sweet, so addictive, that it's almost impossible not to keep striving for it.  And also, I just like to write.  Telling stories make me happy.  Having my first reader growl at me that she had things to do but lost an hour reading the first draft of my 10,000 word story gives me a warm fuzzy.  Looking on the bookshelf and seeing the spine(s) for Machine of Death lets me realize I managed to achieve a lifelong dream (maybe a little more than I expected to).  And yeah, my ego gets stroked.  Let's not pretend that element isn't part of it.

So I suppose that being rejected quickly is part of the price tag for being able to have a vast array of publishing options at my actual fingertips.  Do one-day rejections hurt, even with kind words?  Sure.  Am I deluded in chucking this story out there for an 8th time, denying that it might be a pile of vomit?  Maybe.  But we all have our addictions, and this one is a fairly easy one to scratch.  besides, it's quiet and pretty at 5am.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Why I Game, Part 1 (of infinity reasons)

Because your children's old toys can be used to strike absolute terror in your friends . . .

The fighter in front (hell of a paint job by not me) is played by my wife and didn't get quite as badly mauled as the cleric and the monk did.  They killed the crab just as it reached the water with the barely conscious monk in one claw.  It was then returned to the Gorram Cat for flinging about the house.