Archive for November, 2010


Some Words of Encouragement

“Detail makes the difference between boring and terrific writing. It’s the difference between a pencil sketch and a lush oil painting. As a writer, words are your paint. Use all the colors.”
-Rhys Alexander

Sometimes I think as writers we can tend to look at another writer’s work and think our work doesn’t stand up against it. To the point that we may not send our work to the markets that seem renowned — the ones that are “household names” to writers. Places like Glimmer Train, Asimov’s, Carve Zine, Analog, and L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest are good examples of popular markets, I think.

But why do some of us hesitate to send our work to such places? Why do we box ourselves in? Containing our works to those smaller magazines that offer only exposure and (if you’re fortunate) contributor copies? Don’t get me wrong, the smaller markets need stories, and it is a great way to build your publishing credits, especially if you need that confidence boost in your writing. But hear me out.

When I finish a new story, I usually do send it to a lesser known market which may or not offer payment, or any sort of compensation other than publication. I do that to see where the cards fall. If they like it as is, great! (though that hasn’t happened yet, haha)

But while I send it to a market, I also get it critiqued.

As history has shown, I’ve always had to use the critiques I’ve been given. After I get the story to where I feel it’s at its best and any more critiquing of it would be purely preference and opinion (meaning nothing major regarding plot or character or the like), I go for the “big” markets. Now that I have full confidence in my story, why not start with paying markets?

Glimmer Train seems to always be on the list of markets to send my work to. No acceptance from them yet. But it doesn’t discourage me. They (or anyone else) can’t publish me unless I send them something to publish. I want writing to be a substantial part of my income, and I can’t get that by avoiding such markets.

Again, I don’t say neglect the “smaller” magazines, but what’s your motive? Do you want less competition? Do you just want publication? Or are you afraid? Do you think your work isn’t as good? I will say this: If you don’t have much confidence in your abilities, why should an editor? Remember, you’re a writer; no one can tell the story that you have to tell or tell it the way that you want it told.

There are a lot of us writers in the world, but we all have different styles, different motives, different goals. If you want to do this in the long run and make some sort of income from it, you’ll have to graduate from the smaller markets at some point. If you haven’t even graduated to sending your work out to magazines, it’s time to start that! Believe in yourself and  your work. If you have talent and persistence, you’ll reach your goal.

With my story forthcoming at Daily Science Fiction, I thought it appropriate to tell the story of how that publication came to be. It is my first sale after all. And it really isn’t anything extravagant, but I think it’s cool.

Basically, after I found out about Daily Science Fiction, I sent them one of my stories (it was actually my flash fiction piece I spoke about in a previous post). I sent them that particular story because it was the most recent one I’d written and thought I’d begin sending it to places. In under two weeks they responded with a rejection. I appreciated the quick response time but wasn’t thrilled with the response. Obviously. Haha.

But of course I pressed on. The next day I decided to send them another of my stories — one of the “veterans” that have been rejected a lot. It didn’t discourage me that this particular story was rejected by over fifteen other markets. I knew it was a good story, as everyone I showed it to said that it was.

So, I went about my days with work and whatnot, not concerned about the stories I had out. Until one day after work I was on my laptop in the basement and had a thought about why I hadn’t heard anything from Daily Science Fiction. I mean, at this point it was three weeks since I submitted, and I was curious. I went upstairs to my desktop (as my laptop didn’t have e-mail access at the time) to check my mail. One of the e-mails was from Daily Science Fiction. I opened the e-mail and a contract was inside.

“Holy crap,” I said.

“What?” My mother asked, who was in the computer room at her computer.

“I think a market just bought my story.”

And, yeah, that’s the story of my first sale!

Randomness

“This morning I took out a comma and this afternoon I put it back in again.”
-Oscar Wilde
So, I was thinking today about something I used to do as a kid which I realize is quite disgusting. Now, of course we’ve all done a lot of things as children that weren’t suitable, but bear with me.

As a kid, I loved peanut butter. I still enjoy it. I mean, I currently put spoonfuls in my ice cream from time to time. Vanilla, cookies and cream, black cherry… That’s right, very little flavors escape the goodness that is peanut butter. But as I was washing dishes today and saw a spoon with peanut butter on it, I flashbacked to my childhood to when I ate peanut butter out of the jar.

That is quite the most disturbing memory I have of myself. I question why my parents let me do that. Now, it’s not the fact that I ate peanut butter out of the jar, as one spoonful isn’t a bother at all. But I made a nice snack out of it. Let’s just say I did more than double-dip.

What makes it semi-vomit-worthy is the fact that with each spoonful of peanut butter, I would lick the spoon to make sure I got the peanut butter remnants, and then stick the spoon back in the jar! And do it multiple times! Inserting a salivafied spoon into a jar that other people will have to eat out of is not my proudest childhood moment.

I was just thinking about that. I feel like I should apologize to my family because it is quite gross.

Updates

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
-Ray Bradbury

For those of you who have been stopping by to see the new blog posts (and been disappointed) I do apologize. I am here now and I’ll give a small update.

Two of my stories have been rejected, so I need to find markets to send those out to again. They came within a week of each other, and one was actually the story I said was taking longer than the average time Duotrope had on their listings page. Turns out that long wait wasn’t good news for me. 😦

The other story that was rejected might need to be rewritten, I’m not sure. I may show it to a few fellow editors and get their opinion on the piece. This particular piece is my first flash fiction story, so I’m unsure on whether I developed enough in the short span of time and made everything clear and concise. It’s a few drafts from the original (thanks to my critique group) so it came a long way, but a fresher pair of eyes could be helpful.

My remaining two stories are still out there being considered.

I haven’t written anything new since I worked on my story at Part 1 of my vacation earlier this month. I do have the next three stories I want to have done though — two are science fiction and one is contemporary. One of the science fiction stories I want to have complete soon so I can submit it to the current Writers of the Future quarter.

Ending this, my first published story, A Day Like No Other, will be up on Daily Science Fiction‘s website on December 1st! But you can get it e-mailed to you on November 24th if you sign up for their e-mail list.

The countdown begins!