Keeping Busy

I’ve been keeping busy here with lots of writing-related projects.

I entered a short fiction contest last week and used the deadline to push myself to work a bit faster than usual. One of my long-in-progress stories went through significant transformation and ended up much weirder and creepier than before. We’ll see how it does in this contest. I don’t know much about the people doing the voting, but I know the other entrants are extremely varied.

Just before the contest, I received a note from one editor that my submission had been “short listed” and would be passed along to the next threshold of editorial consideration. These here fingers are crossed.

A different editor at a different periodical liked my first submission enough to offer me a chance to rewrite it, which I did over the weekend. That editor’s suggested changes shifted the story’s focus away from a repeated series of flashbacks that were, I agree, somewhat extraneous. Whether or not that editor ends up taking the resubmission, I feel the story was made better by his suggestions so I’ll be happy either way. Of course, I’ll be happier if he takes the story!

Finally received a rejection for Q3 of Writers of the Future (June ending quarter). I was kind of worried about that submission for WOTF. That story has a significant sexual element, probably too much for that market. It’s not too intimately detailed (no genital talk, basically) so I thought it might get through. And of course, it could have been rejected for other reasons than the sex stuff. Who knows with this stuff. You don’t often get an editor saying “we’d take this story if you toned down the naked fun.” That manuscript has been stuck at WOTF for five months now… long enough that my writing has progressed since that was submitted, so I’ll probably take another look at it before sending it back out.

Otherwise my policy continues to be: resubmit all rejections by the next weekday at the latest.

Oh, another exception: I received a personal rejection note from the main fiction editor at one of the major markets, with specific comments about what he thought was wrong with another one of my stories. This kind of thing happens so rarely, as any fiction writer knows. Those of you reading this who are not writers… suffice to say 99% of rejections are form letters with no hint of an explanation). For this reason, and because the suggestions feel perceptive and accurate to me, I really do feel inclined to utilize the suggestions and do a minor re-write. Not to resubmit to the same market (the comments were not offered in that way), but just so it’ll be better for the next market. Anyway, it was only the second rejection that story had received, so there’s still hope to sharpen it up a bit and hook it up with one of the top markets.

That’s all for now. I’m getting ready for a long weekend, and enjoying summer-like weather completely uncharacteristic of November in Portland.

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