Had two responses this weekend. The first was from Weird Tales rejecting “Old Nag.” It was a nice enough rejection, one of those “not quite what I’m looking for but feel free to send us more” notes – probably form, but still something you like to hear. 🙂
The other was an acceptance of sorts. This was for the AnthologyBuilder site with “First Night in Jennings Grove.” In case you haven’t heard of it, this is an interesting project that allows visitors to create their own story collections from a database. So the acceptance doesn’t necessarily guarentee publication, but it’s still someone saying “Yeah, I’ll take it!”
Since I posted anything, or had an acceptance. In fact, my last nine responses have been rejections. That doesn’t sting so much any more, but a few were ones that I was kind of getting my hopes up for, such as Permuted Press’ Giant Creatures anthology, Horror Library III and The Beast Within.
Now I’ve just got a bunch of others I’m waiting to hear back on.
Today I received my 100th rejection, this time from Clockwork Phoenix.
This was just about the last thing I’ve got to send their way, and I was hoping to make it in to the anthology, but most of the sting is gone. You just pack it up and send it elsewhere. It’s been a difficult lesson, to be sure, but one I’m rather proud to have made. After all, you can’t get published if you don’t send it out. And if you send things out, you’re going to get rejected. This just shows I’m doing it…I be a writer!
Just got a rejection from Horror Library Vol. III for “…Hitman.” It was one of those generic “it was well written but not what we’re looking for at this time.” I’ve got plans for another horror story called “Stone Heart, Vinyl Floors” that should be pretty good…if I don’t place it before next year’s call for submissions. If this one turns out as good as I think it will, selling it shouldn’t be a problem.
Got a rejection today from the Horror Library Vol III for “Routine Maintenance.” I really thought I’d finally found a home for that story…it’s been difficult. On the brighter side, he did invite me to send something else in.
Jeff Parish’s That Ain’t A Mosey is a Wild West zombie adventure, and fun, if a little clunky at times and hardly the most original story in the collection. One is reminded of Joe R. Lansdale’s Jonah Hex adventures.
It’s another hold request, but at least it’s not a rejection (although, I did get one of those today from A Clockwork Phoenix for “…Hitman”). This one is a hold for “Routine Maintenance” which could finally see the light of day for Horror Library, Vol. III:
We have received and read your story, and it has made it’s way through our editing staff. We enjoyed it quite a bit and would like to place it on our tentative ‘short list’ for the time being. Not a guarantee that it’ll be in for sure, but let’s just say it’s made it past the first rounds…and is certainly a story I enjoyed on many levels.
“Routine Maintenance” is similar to Stephen King’s “Trucks” — but takes place years after cars have taken over the world. I hope they ultimately take it. “Maintenance” has had a hard time finding a home, with many close misses. I originally wrote it for what was supposed to be a series of anthologies from Scissor Press edited by Jason Marchi, but that one seems to have gone belly up. Horror Library would be a great one for me to get into in any case, and I think “Routine Maintenance” is a good, strong story.
I think it’s time to send “Nothing to be Afraid of” and “The Pains of Love” to the trunk. I don’t work well with flash fiction, although I do like “Nothing to be Afraid Of” (all 120 words of it). I work better with more words; maybe I should take a stab at some of the longer flash (1,000 words or so).
But for now, I’m concentrating on Jennings Grove, which now has the entire prologue and about half the first chapter up!
“Thinking Small” seems to be having a little bit of trouble finding a home. I got a five-day rejection from Fantasy & Science Fiction (and that includes the time in the mail) and today, a two-day rejection from GUD. Now it’s off to Blood, Blade & Thruster.
Got a rejection from Magic & Mechanica today for “Thinking Small.” Dissappointing, given all the work that went into it, but not really much I could have done about it. It was one of those close rejections:
I loved this concept of expansion involving deforestation and territorial defense. That the fairies magical ability is what prevents the King’s engineers from building bulldozers and plowing through them all is certainly problematic, and I enjoyed the solution of clockwork insects.
What they didn’t care much for was the writing style. I use multiple perspectives, which the editor said wasn’t his style.
I wish I could give you greater feedback on this piece. I fear, however, that this is one of those times where an editor remarks “it’s just not for me” in a vague sort of way.
I’ve got to admit I really like the folks over at Ricasso Press. They’ve rejected every single thing I’ve sent, but they’re very professional and usually quite helpful.
Now I just got to figure out where it goes next. I’m thinking it’s about time to try one of the biggies.
Just reworked some parts of “Of Bones and Blades” based on my Critters critiques. I didn’t do a wholesale rewrite on it — it’s more subtle than that — but it still wasn’t easy. I guess the hard part was reading the critiques in the first place. A lot of it was downright brutal.
One person suggested to me recently that many on Critters might have to visit the bathroom to determine their posteriors from an excavation. I’ve certainly seen evidence of that in these, but I’ve also had to recognize the story had some major problems. I had a rant on here before about an editor’s objections to the story (for Black Dragon, White Dragon). I didn’t get where he was coming from. I guess having a dozen other people hammering the same things at me finally drove the point into my brain.
I tried to make the main character sympathetic by tacking on a desire to save his people, but didn’t really take the time to make his actions jive. He came across as an arrogant SOB and the reasons I gave rang hollow when compared to what he did. People identified more with the dragon he was hunting. I also stuck too much backstory in at the wrong places.
So I think I solved that by simplifying the backstory in favor of the story’s strongest part all along: The action (it’s a battle sequence). I’ve also just decided to let the main character go ahead and be an SOB. The “save my people” thing isn’t gone entirely, but it’s secondary to him just wanting some really cool weapons.
Here’s hoping it worked.
In other news, “Routine Maintenance” has been rejected by Reality Complex.