Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Rejected, Revised, Resent ...

Currently Reading: Bill the Galactic Hero by Harry Harrison

Late last week another rejection arrived. It was the second "No Thank You" for a story I had worked on for six months. A few notes on what followed:
  1. Wait

  2. I really wanted to wing that sucker back out quick, shouting behind it: "Go earn me some money!" I resisted, telling myself 'Let it lie, just overnight. Look at it tomorrow.'

  3. Edit

  4. Now, I had gone over and over and over it before submission. There couldn't be any changes needed, right? On the other hand, perhaps I had become a little bit better writer in the two months since I last saw the story. I told myself 'Just print it out. Chances are, you won't even un-cap the red pen.'

    Over 60 changes, including 1 typo, 11 awkward sentences, 10 repetitive words, and 6 acts of grammatical rebellion.

  5. Wait Some More

  6. Besides, the post office is closed on Sunday...

  7. Edit

  8. There was this tip from Boskone: print a copy in a different font than you normally use in order to catch things you wouldn't otherwise. Sure, why not. Just to double check it, right? I'm positive I caught everything I'm not happy with.

    33 more changes, including 5 I didn't catch in Times Roman. Some were words and lines I had been mulling over since the last edit. Even so, what the hell was I smoking when I wrote this?

  9. Market Research

  10. The low-down at Boskone was Asimov's is publishing more new writers. At 7,500+ words, this story doesn't have many options. I check the submission guidelines with care. Asimov's will even take a humorous story.

  11. Print

  12. I have 24lb paper in the closet, hidden away from the other members of the household. It's for their own protection since it is 110+ brightness. How bright? I could sit in the closet, close the door, and read the newspaper. I put it next to the regular printer paper and the other one curls, turns brown, and smolders. Printed words pop out like 3-freakin-D.

    Oh, it's bright, baby.

  13. Wait Some More

  14. Besides, the post office isn't open at 10 pm. Relax, it's ready.
It couldn't possibly need to be revised again. Right?


Blogger Steve Buchheit said...

Oh boy, do I know that feeling. Resist. Resist, I say. Okay, maybe do a line edit, just to make sure there are no typos. Argh! If I switch this paragraph out here, and... four weeks later I send it out.

Check for typos, print, and send it back out. Release it back into the wild. And then get back to work on the current thing. (Dang, that IS easier to say that do). :)

Okay, well, at least address the envelope and the SASE envelope, get the reply postcard ready, and place it in a position that you'll see it every time you walk through your house.

And congrats on the reject letter. Now go get some more! :)

March 6, 2007 at 10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations! Tonight I'll pop a bottle of champagne to celebrate with ya. Each "no" is a step closer to a "yes"!

I really like your revision process, so much that I'm printing it out and posting it by my computer.

Did I notice that maybe you left out the step where you read the work out loud. I find that hearing the words spoken helps me with dialogue, voice and tone.

Done. Now, send it back out again. (And you can send me a copy, too.)

March 7, 2007 at 12:03 PM  
Blogger Camille Alexa said...


The wait and wait technique. It's actually far more useful than it sounds like it would be, until you try it.

And amazingly, YES, AGAIN! One miraculously discovers one HAS become a better writer in the two months since the story went out.


You're doing good, Little Engine. Keep chuggin'.

March 7, 2007 at 3:15 PM  
Blogger My Sister's Garden said...

Ya know... you could send it to one of your editor friends. Just a thought...

March 7, 2007 at 3:30 PM  
Blogger Todd Wheeler said...

Thanks you crazy enthusiastic writer friends!

Rick: Yes I did leave that step out of the list, but only in error (the post was getting a little long anyway). I did read it out loud several times. Very helpful step.

March 7, 2007 at 4:37 PM  
Blogger Todd Wheeler said...

Chris: I think I read parts of that story to you all 3 different times. Wasn't that punishment enough? ;-)

It's kind of you to offer. I do need the discipline of doing it myself. Perhaps when I finish my volume of doom and despair poetry you could take a look? :-)

March 7, 2007 at 4:40 PM  
Blogger Todd Wheeler said...

LBB: Indeed, waiting has it's rewards. I was skeptical of the different font step as well. Not that it would help everyone, but good to attack the writing from different angles and see what works.

Steve: Yeah, that current thing. Where was I? Oh, look, another blog to read ... :-)

March 7, 2007 at 4:49 PM  

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