Archive for September, 2010


Waiting for a response

“The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean.”
-Robert Louis Stevenson

I submitted one of my stories to a market back on June 22nd. I’m still waiting on a response. I wouldn’t normally say anything about it because I’m a very patient person. In fact, I once waited over a year for a response from one market before I assumed that it was a rejection (it was a simultaneous submission, so it wasn’t like I was waiting around to send it elsewhere).

According to Duotrope, this market’s average acceptance and rejection response rate is around 40 days for both… I’ve been waiting nearly three months. And their website doesn’t list a timeframe in which to expect a response.

I’ll continue to wait,  of course, but I just found these facts interesting.

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Why I’ll pass on watching Blue Bloods

“Why do writers write? Because it isn’t there.”
-Thomas Berger

So, I watched Blue Bloods, a new show that aired on CBS this past week. Okay, so that’s not entirely true — I watched some of Blue Bloods. I should preface this review with: since I didn’t finish watching the episode, I don’t know if it gained back its credibility or not. But partway into the episode, I turned it off simply because I thought it was a waste of my time if I wasn’t going to enjoy it.

Let me paint the picture… A little girl was kidnapped. The detectives found a doll (about the size of a Cabbage Patch Kid, I guess) at the scene. The parents of the little girl said they had never seen it before, so the detectives conclude the kidnappers probably lured the girl using this doll. They run the doll for prints. They found none.  Perfectly fine up until then.

Since there was no prints or evidence of any kind on the doll, it’s assumed that the kidnappers used gloves. Also, very fine, very plausible. Very smart of the kidnappers.

The detectives do some digging on the doll and trace down the manufacturer to find out where the doll can be bought and whatnot, and they discover that it’s a prototype and only a few people have access to it.

Are you kidding me? I can overlook the dumb move of the kidnapper leaving the doll behind in the first place. So be it. But how in the world is the kidnapper smart enough to use gloves when dealing with the doll, yet idiotic enough to use a doll that hasn’t even hit the market?

It’s ridiculous and it didn’t sit right with me. Too many advancements in the plot are sometimes made at the expense of the characterization that was originally shown to us. Even CSI can sometimes be accused of finding that right evidence at the right time in a really coincidental way, but the criminals in that show aren’t really elevated to be smart. And that show has something else going for it: main characters I’ve come to care about (Blue Bloods’ characters didn’t really make me sympathize with them; they gave me no reason to stick around).

But why have a bad guy be smart in one scene and then completely drop the ball a couple of scenes later? That’s something to learn from right there. I’ve had to catch myself in my fiction sometimes. You want a certain action to happen, so you think it’s okay to bend a person’s character (or make them have a convenient “lapse of intelligence”). Does it progress the plot? Yes. Do you get to your desired result? Yes. Do the detectives solve the case? Probably. But do you really want to get all of those things by dumbing down the characters and hoping  your readers (or viewers, as it were) just accept the idiocy?

Again, please note: This review comes from a viewer who did not finish watching the episode, so please forgive me if my review doesn’t stand true by episode’s end. 🙂

Vacation Checklist

“Write without pay until somebody offers to pay…”
-Mark Twain

So my vacation is inching closer, and my job is really making me work for it. I have one day off from now until my vacation. It’s not that they’re punishing me (though some might see it that way) but we’re understaffed at the moment and they’re offering overtime like it’s a free meal or something. I’m not complaining, as it’s some extra cash in my pocket. More money to buy souvenirs with when I go to Mexico. 🙂

And yesterday I was effectively asked if I wanted to work a double on the 1st of October. I said I’d have to let him know, because frankly, that’s literally around the corner from my vacation start date. Being a person who doesn’t like to wait until the last minute, if I don’t have things in order by then, I’ll probably decline the offer. Priorities, man.

I just have so many things to do before I leave for vacation, I’m going to try to do most this upcoming Monday.

  • I need to figure out the luggage I’m going to take, as I don’t want to take more than two — one carry-on & one checked. One of them has to be a garment bag because I’m bringing a suit with me. I want to see how much I can put into the garment bag without overloading it. If I can fit a decent amount in there, I’ll probably take a smaller suitcase as my second bag. If I can’t, I’ll take the bigger suitcase to accompany me. Thinking about it now, I’ll probably just opt for the bigger suitcase, which makes the garment bag my carry-on by default. But I’ll start my packing on Monday and see.
  • I have to shop for another pair of shoes that will match another of my outfits. (Ya know, I was never one to say “Oh, I’m going on vacation, let me go shopping!” but this cruise and their formal night and themed white night has done this to me…) I will say though, that Perry Ellis has become a new favorite store of mine. They have nice stuff in there. (Random Note: I had to fix two typos in that last sentence when I originally wrote it… Ah, the glories of waking up early to write before one goes to work)
  • I need to pack… wisely. I’m going to two different locations with two different climates. Enough said.
  • I need to call the owner of the condo and confirm all the details about my arrival, getting the keys, and all of that good stuff. (Remember, my vacation is two parts — the cruise is the second part) He seems like a nice guy — the reviews he had were positive, so I’m sure everything will go smoothly. This is my first time using VRBO.
  • Another thing, I need to establish who’s going to take me to the airport and then pick me up. Haha, this should’ve been the first one listed, but I just thought about it while typing this out. It’s not that I don’t have anyone to take me; it’s that I have several people who can take me.
  • Gotta figure out this money thing. I can research this on the internet, but is American money good in Mexico? What sort of bills should I bring? Small bills? Large bills? (Just wondering, but is any certain bill regarded as “medium”? I never heard anyone say, “Yeah, I want medium bills.” lol, way too random.)

There may be more vacation-related things I need to get done (they’ll come to me later), but there are some non-vacation-related things I gotta do too (some aren’t really a “gotta” but more like a “wanna” because if I don’t do it before vacation, I pretty much can’t do it).

I won’t get into that list though.

“Sometimes I think my writing sounds like I walked out of the room and left the typewriter running.”
-Gene Fowler

Yesterday marked the highest viewership for my blog, and today I’ve nearly matched that number. I can sit here and wonder where they all came from, but I’m pretty sure that Alex. J Kane had something to do with that. Turns out he saw a post of mine on a mutual blog we both frequent (Scott W. Baker’s Chaos out of Chaos) and decided to stop by. Big thanks to him! My networking is starting to grow. Now we have each others’ blog on our blog list.

Now that I appear to be getting more views, I feel I should add more content. Surely my small list of markets is not even a fraction of the awesome markets that are out there (not that I’ll add them all, but there are a few more that I would really like to draw attention to). The two writing sites I have are just the two main ones that I use for the majority of my writing needs — critiquing and submitting. Places like Writer’s Digest, Writers’ Journal, and The Writer are all excellent print magazines that also have online presences.

It’s time I take the title of this blog and really expound on it. As much as I love writing — and want to do it throughout my life — another of my passions is to help other writers. I don’t claim to be the best writer out there, but I’m the best writer that I’ve ever been. If I can share what I’ve learned up until now and see other writers grow, then that’s a great song to me. That’s one reason why I enjoy the critique process so much — giving and receiving. It’s all about the bettering of any given piece. And with the growth of that piece comes the growth of the writer. And with the growth of that writer comes the growth in their writing.

I want to contribute to that circle as much as I possibly can.