Friday, January 24, 2014

Rejection Consideration

As it comes in hand with getting into that submission process, rejection is an important topic to consider. Rejection is part of life, but in particular it's a big part of the writer's life. Any time you put something out there, chance exists someone will reject it; but that's okay.

I have been on both sides. Having worked as an intern with a small publisher, I had to do the slush pile reading and thus decided which stories we took for consideration and which ones received rejection. It was a strange situation to be in at the time because I'd not sent much out over the years leading up to taking on this role.  There isn't joy for many of us in sending a "this isn't for us" response but not everything can be accepted. Now I'm back on the other side and awaiting for the email rejections from items I have submitted.

Until this year, the only time I had submitted fiction wise was back in 2009, which was a 500 word alien thing that isn't quite a finished story... Yeah, reading it now I wonder why I sent it but that's okay, I thank the kind slush readers that skimmed the short short item. I sent it to 4 places and got 4 rejections before getting distracted by other things. (Yes, I'm an "oh shiny" type, so no adding glitter to comments please as they distract me.) Now that I'm submitting again, 4 submissions so far this year on 2 stories, it's time to look at rejections.

Note: I have a poll on the side over by the about me section that is going until the end of January, 2014. I am curious if keeping a tally of my rejections, submitting and acceptances would be helpful. I'm not going to post much about them at all and never going to list where I have sent. But I want to know if maybe having a counter type spot that shows how many times I've submitted fiction and queries would be interesting for a reader. Any votes are appreciated.

Types of Rejections (in my mind)

Form - This is standard. It's the often short, this is not for us, that is usually premade and just gets the story added in so that the author knows which is getting the rejection. Due to the nature of the business and the number of entries magazines, agents, publishers get, while this isn't the most helpful of rejections, it is common and necessary. The form isn't meant to say the writing is horrible or anything, but a quick way to get the message back to you that they aren't going to publish the item submitted. Simple as that. I've received a few of these, back in 2009 and so far this year too.

Nice Form - This might be a half made up by me thing because it's basically a form rejection though some might start getting into the short but personal realm. In essence, this has a little more than the "we have read (insert story here) but it doesn't meet our needs at this time, the end" type but not a lot added beyond it. To me, the nice form is the one who has the part with the insert story here but also wishes good luck in placing it elsewhere and/or asks you submit other work to them in the future. It's nice because it has that tone, that hey keep going type which sounds more than just "hey, read it but no". I did receive one of these nice ones in 2009 that looked quite formulaic but had send other sci-fi in the future (despite my not having any other sci-fi.... yeah, umm it was nice though).

Personal - This varies a bit but the general standard a friend recommended is if they mention anything about the story beyond the title, it counts as personal. Which means it can be very short, much like a form letter or it can be a full, no but there is why. A few places try to give a comment or two to every submission but those are rare because it takes so much time and effort pending the amount entries sent. One I sent to in 2009 gave feedback to every submission (they are no longer open) and the one I got basically said "make it longer". They recommended novelette length, which is a bit of a jump from 500 words but I totally see why it was suggested and appreciated the comments given. Don't let any reason pull you down if there is much to work on or a hard negative formatting. Like any, take time away and don't backlash but also consider it a success. A personal rejection is something to note, give yourself a tiny candy (or a non-food treat) or something to celebrate cause that marks reaching a point, especially for those that don't give personal to everyone. Then keep submitting (or take break and work on something else).

I could talk more on rejections but that's territory for my other blog (adds note to do a blog post on rejection there next month). Since this blog is focused on my path, let's just leave this here. I am submitting more. I have 2 stories sent out so  far, one that I will be sending I hope next week and 4 more that I would like sent by February 14th due to a challenge I'm in. I'm taking the steps and that's what is great and why I like the rejections. They show me I'm on this part of the journey and not just stuck in the cycle of first drafting. Yay!

What are your thoughts on rejection?
Did you vote on the poll? 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Submission Mission

I'm on a mission to submit stories for publication. Yep, after writing for years (I've been on since 2005 if that tells anything), I am making a big push to submit stories out into the world to publications. Yay!

Background: I have submitted very little in the past. 1 sci-fi flash fiction story to 4 places, one creative nonfiction because had to send it, and one set of poems. All rejected, which didn't bother me actually, and one rejection of the sci-fi was personal (as they gave comments to everyone).

Last time I submitted a story up to Jan 1, 2014, was back in 2009...

Yeah, the time has come. So, I did something fun. I made a poster! (Yay for discounts at a place that prints photos, hehe.)

With help of free vector images, gimp and inkscape to make circles, I created this. It has 100 circles and I have to mark a circle for a story submitted.

So far, I have one marked. Yay!  Already got a rejection and submitted elsewhere but still, I am starting and it's great. I can't wait to get more rejections... and maybe some day acceptances too. There are more to come in the near future.

Do you submit your work?

I'm using The Grinder to keep track of where I submit. What about you?

And also... lookie, the veggie thing is live! ----->

Thursday, January 2, 2014

No Kiss Blogfest

Yay, I remembered this year!

Today is the 5th annual No Kiss blogfest. Make sure to check out all of the fun entries here: No Kiss Blogfest Homepage

This year I am using what started as a novelette but is going to end up a novel. And in an odd move on my part, it's actually contemporary Young Adult. Not a trace of speculative fiction in this one. But I still keep the boy/boy part. ;-)  Quick update. Ryan's father had a list for everything including List Thirteen, which was a list of things to do before dying. After his death, Ryan takes on the list in hopes of finishing it to keep for him. This is a scene that shows 2 of the goals and how his friend helps him.

A section from List Thirteen:

Ryan settled down on the floor in the corner of his father's office room. Since declaring his goal in finishing List Thirteen, he had made it his sanctuary. Though he refused to sit in the office chair. Each time he thought maybe he should because it had a very nice, cushioned seat, he couldn't get himself to sit down. It was his father's and he didn't want to change that fact. So, instead he sat on the floor in the corner and faced the organized desk. With a sigh, he opened the thick epic fantasy novel, turning to where he'd given up last.

Staring at the hundreds of pages that remained, he couldn't help but wonder what appealed his father so much about the series. Not to mention how could the author keep writing books of that length and keep them interesting. Plus, it was fantasy. But he had to read the whole series, so he took a quick sip of water and plowed forward, turning the pages to get started on chapter four.

A knock on the door interrupted much later and he grumbled as he put the bookmark in on page 398. He rubbed his eyes, unsettled at the dimness in the room that he didn't remember existing when he'd sat down to read.

The door opened and Trevor peeked in before pushing it wider so he could enter. "What are you doing in here?"

"Reading." He held up the book a couple inches higher as evidence. It hit him how long he'd been sitting as he moved with aches radiation through his legs, across his butt and up his back.

"Oh right, the book thing. Looks like you are almost done." Turning on the overhead light, Trevor moved by the desk and put down the plastic bag he'd brought with him. But he didn't sit in the desk chair. Instead, he stood near the desk, resting against the edge. "That makes one you can cross off the list, right?"

Sighing as he stood, his legs tingled with numb pain as he put his weight on them, he had to shake his head in the negative. "Not even close. The list states the whole series and this is just book one."

"How many are there?"

"Fourteen, well, the last book is called number fourteen but really there is one that is a prequel to book one that I don't know when it should be read. So, that makes fifteen." Ryan put the book aside on a small side table before changing his focus. He kind of liked the book at that point and wanted to finish but his friend coming in with something in tow made him wonder what he had in mind. "What is in the bag?"

"Damn." With a smile he put his hand on the bag. "Oh, this? Well, I said I'd help you with the list so I bought some hair dye. A nice pretty pink. I know you'll love it."

He hated pink and stuck out his tongue at his friend's suggestion. "If you got pink I'm going to punch you."

After a long, fake dramatic pause, Trevor pulled out a box of dye. He held it up so Ryan could see the front that had the color and an image of two people who had used it. "I know you can be a girl at times but relax, I got you a better color than pink."

Staring at the strange box gave him both relief and trepidation. While the color on the label wasn't pink and it had an image of a boy, it also had a girl with the same color and it looked sort of girly on both. But in truth, compared to pink and even purple, the teal dye did present a better option and it was crazy enough to qualify for the list. "Fine. So, I'm supposed to dye my own hair?"

"No, you goof. I am going to do it." Trevor pulled out another box. "And later on we can use this one so you don't have weird hair all summer long."

Ryan squinted at the box, uncertain about how often he'd have to color his hair and at the same time wondered how his mother and sister both put up with it since they did it a couple times a year it seemed. "Black? That isn't my natural color."

"I know. But it will cover better, or so the lady said. Besides, I think it looked good that time."

Standing close to his friend, Ryan caught his gaze, uncertain how to respond. He'd done the black hair look once, a couple years ago but the way Trevor had worded the comment combined with the stare that followed made his stomach twist. He wondered in that instance if something more lay hidden under the comment or if it was like the other things Trevor said to him in the past. Little jokes and pretend nothings that some said looked like flirting. The hand on his shoulder, touching the edge of his hair near his right ear felt real though.

Then it ended. Letting it go, Ryan led the way out of the office so they wouldn't risk ruining the carpet. Instead, they used his sister's bathroom. She was away at summer camp so he could use it without her knowing.

At first, he had little doubt but having to remove his shirt jolted his nerves. But he didn't want to stain his shirt. Relief came when they draped a couple towels over to protect his skin. He let Trevor handle the dye, doing whatever it required in order to get his hair done.

"I think this takes a few steps." Trevor stared at the box. "We need to bleach it first, then do the color."

"Whatever you say." He sat on the wooden stool and waited, not able to do much but keep still.

"Do you know why he had some of these goals?" Trevor kept the conversation going as he worked through Ryan's hair. "Like, some of them are kind of strange for his age, don't you think?"

He winced when his hair got tugged too hard. "I asked mom. She said a few of them were his mid-life crisis goals."

That caused a pause for a couple seconds. "Wait. Your dad planned his mid-life crisis? What a nerd. No offense."

"Yeah, he was a nerd." Even though Ryan smiled, he had to wipe near the corner of his eye to keep a tear from falling at the mention of his father. The hand that squeezed his shoulder helped.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year, New Goals and New Format

It is a new year and time to roll out the new. But first: a quick Salute to 2013! And a great big Welcome 2014!

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I didn't do much blogging in 2013 in general. I did the change over from It's in the Book on this one, to Fiction and Fitness but haven't done a whole lot after the April blog challenge. But it's a new year and time to get the blog up and running in a more effective and useful manner. And with that, a new background and new post formats. I still plan to do goal type posts at the beginning of each month, but no more Insecure Writing posts. Hope all who take part in the blog hop continue to do well. I have a few other ideas I'm bringing to the blog though.

First, I am going to do a couple more posts on health and fitness. This includes a focus on vegetables segment, which will probably first be in another post, then two weeks later I will post some recipes I tried that incorporated the vegetable showcased.  Thinking twice a month for now on that feature.

Then there is the writing. Aside from talking about my goals for writing each month, at least twice a month after that I need to post updates. This will in particular focus on what I've written, edited, submitted and any books/publications I've read.

The big thing is simply, blog on a regular basis. Now for the goals part of the blog.
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I did goals for 2013. Here is the results of those goals.
Writing (novels)
Edit TT and SG, send to test readers, prepare for submission (edited TT, sent to test readers, on final edit, however just started SG edit barely).
Finish first draft of AF, OiEM, LtW and/or AD, TK, GaD (Finished TK and almost done with AF).
Try not to start new novel at least until November if at all (Fail but by accident, shorts became novel ideas).
Be closer to submitting by my birthday (Was closer though not there yet).

read 50 books/manga/etc (Not even close, with manga and such think the total is 20).

Eat healthier (eh, need to write this goal better for next year, be more precise)
Make progress in life plans (In ways yes but always room for improvement).

Now for 2014 Goals

Finish final TT Edit.
Edit SG.
Finish first draft of 2 YA Novels.
Submit more short fiction to markets. (this breaks a goal making rule, but I am not specific for my year goal because each month I plan to make a specific goal for this item)
Read 15 books
Blog once a week minimum, taking all blogs into consideration.

Change diet over from fast and cheap, to vegetables and home cooked but cheap.
Do a physical activity for 30 minutes 3 days a week, not counting work.
Lose 25 lbs. (Current weight is 217).

January Goals
Write 4 short stories
Submit 5 items to publications.
Finish writing AF
Work on TT Edit
Start Vegetable focus using canned, frozen and fresh veggies.

How did 2013 go for you?
Do you have any goals for 2014? Any goals just for January?


I write like
Arthur Conan Doyle

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I write like
Mark Twain

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!