Rebecca Day

Archive for the ‘Rejections’ Category

Back from the Dead, Again

Posted by rwday on May 13, 2008

Wow.  It’s been a loooooooong time since I’ve updated here.  Sorry about that.  I’ll try not to ramble on – I think shorter, more frequent entries are probably more readable than spewing out the blogging equivalent of War & Peace every 3 months.

So, news.  Mostly bad – rejections from several publications, and I’ve been too lazy to send the stories out, or in one case, I’ve just about decided to retire it to the trunk.  I miss writing short stories, to be honest, and considering how awful I’m doing on the novel front, I really ought to just go back to the short stuff for a while.

Good – I’ve had a number of really nice emails from readers of Thaw wanting to know about a sequel.  It really is mostly done – it was all done till I got a bee in my bonnet about changing the Callan sequences into something a little less angst-filled.  I started on the rewrite, guns blazing, only to be totally distracted by life, my garden, a lot of novels (to read), and some very bad television.

Also in the ‘bad’ category – I can’t get through to my publisher.  I haven’t heard anything about my first quarter 2008 sales, so I’ve written 3 times now.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.  Not even a ‘I got your email, am working on it, please be patient.’  Not even bounce messages, so I can only assume my email is getting through and being ignored, or that something very awful has happened to my publisher. I can’t express how frustrating that is.  Seriously, any response is better than silence.  Even ‘eff off and die, you annoying author b***h’ would be an improvement.  ‘Nuff said for now, but there may be more on this topic if things don’t improve.

I mentioned this on the LJ, but as this blog is the ‘writing’ one, it should be noted here – I’m letting my website and domain name lapse.  I’m just not writing enough (or earning enough – see previous paragraph!) to justify its continued expense, not when this blog is free.  If at some point I start to sell seriously again, I’ll get another site, but as I’m not even writing under R.W. Day anymore, having doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

I have some rambling thoughts on what I’m going to attempt to write next, but I think those can wait.  My basic problem is that I have too many ideas – I’m trying to write like I read.  I generally read anywhere from 3-6 books at a time.  They sit in various places in my house and I pick them up as I’m cooking, getting ready for bed, watching TV, on work breaks.  That works for reading.  It doesn’t work for writing, where you (or I, at least) really have to immerse myself in the world and characters.  I’ve got to commit.  Unfortunately, indecision is pretty much a theme of my life – see my 60 gazillion college majors, for example.


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Magical systems, generally

Posted by rwday on October 28, 2007

A couple of form rejections, one from Strange Horizons for “Mourning Jewel” and the other from ASIM for “Stepchild.”  I’ll get them sent out again tomorrow, but honestly, it’s depressing as hell sometimes, and short stories are, right now, a distraction from the novel I ought to be working on.  I’ll keep sending out the finished ones, but unless I get knocked upside the head with an idea that won’t leave me alone, I’m not going to write any new ones for a while.

We were in Ohio for family stuff this weekend, and as usual, I planned to write in the car, and as usual, I really didn’t.  I polished a bit, edited some, fiddled with ideas, and worked on organizing some files, but no actual writing was accomplished.  I really hate burying myself in my laptop while my poor husband drives in silence.  He’s not a big music listener, doesn’t do audiobooks, so my conversation is pretty necessary when the road gets long and boring.

I did go over my current project with him, basically making sure the way I’m handling the magic seems logical and consistent to him.  He’s read a lot of second world fantasy and has definite thoughts on magic, so it was very helpful.  We both agree that too often magic is either inconsistent (i.e. your wizards seem to be able to do pretty much anything, and yet Voldemort is still running loose  there are all these problems that could easily be solved by a couple of well-placed spells) or worse, the fantasy reads like a bad D&D adventure with people hurling magic missiles around willy-nilly.  Besieging a castle?  Why bother with trebuchets and starving them out?  Just zotz them into the stone age with your Awesome Spell o’Doom.

No thanks.

The thing about magic in my world is that it’s largely considered part of the past – like in Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, there was once a time, an almost mythical past, when magic existed, but that time has passed.  Of course, that’s just the perception of most of the common people, which doesn’t necessarily reflect reality – magic is still there, it’s just kept quiet.   It’s the Middle Ages, after all, and their world has a Pope and will soon have an Inquisition, and besides, one guy with magic generally isn’t much good against ten thousand peasants with scythes and cudgels.  Magic is an ace in the hole, a last resort, so you don’t get people conjuring up chairs out of thin air a la Dumbledore.  My magicians get their chairs the old fashioned way – the make their peasants build them.

We also talked briefly about me doing a romance, just to see if I can.  I have a pretty decent plot developed for a futuristic romance, and when I finish Fim and set it aside to season, I may give it a go.  I know fantasy romance is what’s selling these days, but vampires bore me and I don’t see that I have anything new or original to say about werewolves, really.  Though neither does anyone else, from what I can see. Seems like half the books on the romance aisle have the word ‘Moon’ in the title.  Makes me want to write one called Arse Moon, about Bradley Barebutte, a ruggedly handsome cop who turns into a wolf when he drops trou. Somehow I don’t think the literary world is ready for that…

Posted in Rejections, Writing | 4 Comments »

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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Posted by rwday on October 14, 2007

26 day form rejection from All Possible Worlds for “Imago Dei.” I’ll flip it back out to the next market on the list tomorrow. *sighs*

No writing to speak of this weekend.  I guess there’s nothing wrong with taking a weekend off once in a while as long as it doesn’t become a habit.

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If what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, do I have to leave my writing here?

Posted by rwday on October 3, 2007

9 day form rejection from Hardboiled Horror on “Hell.” No real surprise – it was a longshot, and a reprint at that. I’ll try to find some other reprint markets and shop it around, I guess.

I’m getting a surprising amount of writing done here in Vegas – I guess not being even slightly interested in gambling or nightclubs or shows helps with that. I’ve edited a couple of stories, did some writing on the plane and worked a while on worldbuilding and novel planning. Tonight, AH (after House) I’ll get back to the Ashes edits.

I started a rant on accuracy in fiction – historical, fantasy, SF – but it’s sort of morphing into my thoughts on whether writers have a duty to take their subjects seriously. I’m still formulating thoughts, but short answer? Yes, we do. What that means is going to vary by genre, but essentially I believe if you want your readers to take your work seriously, you’d damn well better do the same.

It’s also come home to me recently that not every writer wants the same thing from writing. Which means that my ‘taking seriously’ may not look much like what some other author’s ‘taking seriously’ does. But I think I’m right, so I sense that this rant may end up being pretty damn judgmental.

Posted in Rejections, Uncategorized, Writing | 3 Comments »