Tuesday, June 9, 2009

All Over The Place

I have a story currently being given the serious treatment by an editor at a big name market.

I may have mentioned the story or market in past posts, I'm not sure, but I'll refrain from doing it here in case I jinx myself and everything falls over at the last hurdle.

Thing is, I have learned a great deal from this editor in less than a week. My story has had more red ink applied to it than all previous critiques put together. At one point I asked why they'd bothered accepting it if it was so bad? Probably not a good move on my part, but I judged my fledgling email relationship with this editor to have progressed far enough, and I'm nothing if not honest.

The response back was more than encouraging and a big lesson that good stories will only get better with an experienced editors help and guidance.

It's funny that I expected revisions and block changes to be made on a novel manuscript, and yet was surprised to see similar things, only on a smaller scale, at the short story level. I really am learning about the professional side of things on a steep learning curve at the moment. Reading about it is one thing - being involved as it happens is something else entirely.

Nothing has been set in stone, although the cement is drying fast, so although I've not been able to announce the acceptance within the 24 hour period, I'm hopeful to have an announcement of some kind before the weekend.

The result of all this back and forth revisions and the mounting excitement and nervousness over the story's prospects and final evolvement (my word), is I've done very little of anything else other than reading. My mind is so focused on this story, and everything I'm learning, I can't think of anything else. This editor is so nice, they've even taken the time to explain to me the difference between toward and towards! How cool is that?

FYI - if you're submitting to an American market - use toward, everywhere else, towards.

So if I've seemed a little less than myself recently, that's why.

And yes, if things do fall over at the last hurdle, I am going to be seriously crushed. I'll have a great story at the end of it all and have learned a lot, but I feel like I'm standing on a wobbly stool and playing out the rope over the beam above my head, while someone else ties the noose around my neck. Adrenaline plus, but not a particularly nice feeling.


  1. I currently have three stories (yes three!) under serious consideration from three excellent markets that I REALLY want to crack. I don't know how long I can bear the suspense. Fingers crossed pleasepleaseplease!

    Good luck with yours BT!

  2. I have fingers and toes crossed for you that great things will come from this.

  3. I shall perform the appropriate rituals and offer the proper sacrifices to ensure success!

    Don't ask. ;)

    Seriously, I've got fingers crossed.

  4. Thanks guys. I've got three stories out at the moment which I'm expecting good things from, but this is the biggest of them and yet not the biggest paycheck.

    If it helps at all, you can send all virginal women to me and I'll handle the sacrifices - I'm good that way ;c)

  5. You WILL email me and inform me what the market is.

    ...did my Jedi mind trick work?

    (Good luck!)

  6. Sounds like a pretty big break BT. I'd be excited too. And it must be encouraging seeing yourself so focussed like that.

  7. Hey great new (almost) BT! Your fan in the nether-regions of Canada is rooting for you.

    Re. the short story editing: In class we were given a short story called "The Girls in Their Summer Dresses" by Irwin Shaw. We then compared it to an ealier version prior to the editor getting their hands on it...what a difference, and Shaw was a recognized writer. The good version was much cleaner with excessive dialogue removed (can scan and send these on if interested).

  8. Good luck with it all. I would be a nervous wreck, checking my email constantly.

  9. Good luck! They must really like your story to be willing to work with you so intensely on it (and it must be a damn good story to start with, obviously). Good luck! I'll be watching for the big announcement, hopefully soon.

  10. Flick - the market is...nearly ;c)

    Ben - Being single minded has never been an issue with me, but narrowing the focus to a single story for the entire week is new. Just as well I'm up to date with my assignments and stuff.

    Alan - always interested to see edits versus finished versions. Stephen King has some great stuff like that in his On Writing memoir.

    Jamie - got it in one. I power up and hang on the edge of my seat as I wait for the email to download, and then I'm deflated if an email from the editor isn't there.

    KC - apparently the editor thinks it will be one of the best in the antho - she even labeled it great (of course she could be saying that to all the short listed subs), but we're still working on edits and I've not signed anything so it could still all come crashing down. The amount of little changes, single words or sentence structure, is amazing. They asked for me to write a new scene and to clarify something at the end. This added nearly 400 words to the piece. Additional edits have added another 100 words on top of that. This thing is nearly 6k in length now.

    It's the second longest short I've ever written, the most painful one I had in getting out in the first place, and now it's going through the wringer again.

    But I am learning a huge amount of stuff. This editor is brilliant.

  11. Good luck, BT - I'll be crossed for ya!