• Member Since 13th Jun, 2012
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I've been writing and selling stories for longer than a lot of folks reading this have been alive. Check Baal Bunny for more!

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One Down, and One Up that Wasn't Even on my Radar · 10:13pm May 12th, 2018

As detailed in my previous blog post:

I submitted four pieces of original fiction to four different markets at the end of April. Well, all right, five if you wanna count the April 2018 Writeoff...

My Writeoff story, "Call Waiting," placed 5th out of 15 entries, and it garnered some comments that I hope will lead to a good rewrite. More on that in a moment.

But I'm also in receipt of a bounce notice for "Vehemence," the story I submitted to the Battling in All Her Finery anthology. As with most paying markets, there's no feedback involved in such a rejection slip: the e-mail, in fact, consists of two sentences—"Thank you for submitting 'Vehemence' to Battling in All Her Finery. Unfortunately, we have decided not to accept it for publication."—with the usual "Dear You" and "Sincerely Us" appended above and below.

That's always the problem for those of us who love revising. Without feedback, I've got nothing to work on, no tweaks I can make, no way of knowing what about the story didn't work. That's one reason I enjoy the Writeoffs so much. The reaction to "Call Waiting" pointed me toward some concrete things I can do to improve it, and that's what it's always been about for me: making as good a story as I can, then refining it into something better after seeing it through the eyes of other folks.

But when I'm submitting a story to a single pair of eyes and those eyes just blink out "no, thank you" in Morse code, well, I'm pretty much done. It might be a problem with the story, or it might just be that "Vehemence" didn't work for this particular editor: if Cold in Gardez had been the sole judge in the Next Generation contest, for instance, judging from his comments, I'm pretty sure my story there would've finished a bit lower than the number three spot. :twilightsheepish:

Or it might be that the anthology already had as many stories about female merchant marine captains in a fantasy world setting as the editors wanted. Or it might be that my approach to the topic didn't fit in with the overall concept of the book.

There's no way of knowing, and with us writers being so adept at spinning fiction, we can come up with dozens of reasons why the story wasn't good enough—or why the editor wasn't astute enough, of course... But that's "one down" of the four I talked about in the previous post.

The "one up" was a complete surprise that came in an e-mail a couple days ago from Alice Dryden, quite a fine British writer of "furry fiction." Anyone who picked up the Gods With Fur anthology a couple years back—I had another Writeoff story in it, one called "The Processions of the Equinoxes" where a surly, swearing butterfly tries to get Spring started in the meadow she supervises—likely remembers her story "400 Rabbits" set among the drunken rabbit gods of Aztec mythology.

Well, she said she's editing an anthology for Wildside Press. They've apparently been publishing these "e-book only" short story collections called Megapacks for some time now, and while they've done a bunch of SF, fantasy, and mystery ones, they've decided now to put together their first pack of furfiction. Ms. Dryden wanted to know if I had a story amongst my previously published pieces to which that I'd be willing to sell certain limited reprint rights in exchange for $25.

So I sent her a story that originally appeared in the February 1994 issue of Asimov's SF magazine, a thing called "A Bag of Custard," and I guess we'll see what happens.

Next up, the deadline for this year's volume of the Sword and Sorceress anthology is tomorrow. So I should hear "yes" or "no" to the next sorceress squirrel story within a week or 10 days.

So much going on!


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Comments ( 4 )

Those binary notices nearly did in my writing hobby completely. Fortunately pony showed up to help :scootangel:

I hate to admit it, but Call Waiting totally baffled me. Then again, I'm the shallow end of the pool.

I read the intro to 'A Bag of Custard' and was impressed.


Pony makes most things better.


"Bag of Custard" is one of my favorite things I've ever written, so I'm glad it might get a little more exposure. "Call Waiting" was me experimenting with trying to tell a story by focusing almost exclusively on the character. Another couple thousand words oughtta fix it up, though. :twilightsmile:

The Pony Punster in my mind just looked at "Bag of Custard" and saw "Nag of Custard." She needs to be introduced to that stallion who's way too fond of jelly, seems to me...



She needs to be introduced to that stallion who's way too fond of jelly, seems to me...

Sounds like a match made in(side) a doughnut

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