Rebecca Day

And again…

Posted by rwday on October 18, 2007

Another rejection, this one on “Blossoming.”
Thanks for letting me read your story. It’s exceedingly well-written and enjoyable, but it didn’t quite make the final lineup for a couple reasons: first off, the anthology is practically filled at this time, and unfortunately, yours is but one of dozens of subs I received right before the deadline of a 6-month submission period, all of which has forced me to be make some rather hard decisions; second, although your story is very good, it stretches the guidelines (the book plays a smaller role than I had hoped). I certainly wish you the best in placing it elsewhere. I also hope that you will submit to any future anthologies I edit. I’ll try and email you so that you can submit earlier.

Not a bad rejection, and he’s right about stretching the guidelines, as I didn’t write it for that anthology, just had it in progress and it sort of fit, so I gave it a shot. I wasn’t expecting a sale on this one, really.  I’ve pretty much learned never to expect a sale.

When I first started out at this, every time I sent a story out I honestly thought (in the dark recesses of my mind) that it would sell.  I mean, how could any editor fail to appreciate the OMG brilliance that is moi?   I re-read those stories over now and cringe with embarrassment and have a much more realistic perspective on my own writing and the standards of the markets.  The problem for me comes in knowing I’m not doing the quality of work I want to do but forcing myself to keep writing anyway because if I don’t, I’ll never get to the point where I’m doing the quality of work I want to do.

Like with any field of endeavor, writing practice brings writing improvement.  I don’t say ‘practice makes perfect’ because some people (and I may very well be one of them), no matter how much they practice will never be perfect (how ever you choose to define that).  I played the clarinet in high school and I was good.  I practiced a fair amount.  If I’d practiced more, I’d have been better, but I can guarantee that no matter how much I practiced, I’d never have played at the level of, say, Benny Goodman.  Writing is like that for me – I look at certain books and know that no matter how many words I churn out, how hard I work to perfect this craft, I’ll never write at the level of those authors.  They’re geniuses.  Of course, the other side of that is that I read some books and know that even if I sat down blindfolded and just typed 75k words of nonsense, I’d end up ahead of the game.  Being honest, I suspect I’m somewhere in the middle.  Sometimes high middle, sometimes low.  I can move myself up through effort, but I’m never going to be top tier.  The question is whether or not I’m okay with that.  The answer is probably yes.

Back to “Blossoming,” I need to find another market – was thinking Dark Wisdom, but they’re overstocked and closed, plus I’d have to trim 1500 words or so. Maybe Clarkesworld or Weird Tales. Clarkesworld responds pretty quickly, and you always get crit whether you like it or not! I’ll read it through at work today and make a decision.

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