Monday, July 6, 2009

Back To Writing Stuff

So, we have all the joy and excitement of the new arrival and then I'm smashed back to earth with Spoilt Rotten being knocked back yesterday, and then Too Late the Rain being passed on yet again.

Spoilt has now been knocked back twice with very different comments from the editors - just goes to show how subjective this game is. Looking for a new market as we speak.

Too Late the Rain was the ninth non-novel length piece I ever wrote. Let me explain that: I wrote the first draft of Tiger's Eye during the first half of 2007. 130,000 words! Not a great display of craftsmanship but I learned a lot from doing it.

I then turned to writing short stories. I wrote a narrative first (which was pointless), and then the first version of Wake-Up Call which ended up being published at Antipodean SF. I followed that with The Elusive Muse which sold to Fiction Factor. I wrote a sci-fi story and then a non-fiction, self-help type of thing called Reinventing the Wheel. Continuing the pattern, the non-fiction article sold (every second piece had so far found a home).

I then wrote a fantasy short and played around with a filler piece for Reader's Digest (that was fun - great pay rate but they never answered or acknowledged my submission).

Then I wrote Too Late the Rain. Originally it was a flash piece at 984 words. Since then it has undergone a lot of changes. It's grown with the addition of a completely new first half and has been given a new ending, to now stand at 2798 words. Six rejections and two years later, it's still looking for a home. It still gets nice personalised rejection letters - it's never had a bad one. Lots of good comments but, in the end, still a no thank you - close but no cigar.

I've submitted it to 1 competition and 5 paying markets. I believe in this story enough that I think I should gain some sort of payment for it, but the right market is elusive. This is a ghost story, but brushes against some taboo subjects. None of these taboos are overly graphic (at least I don't think it is), but mention child abuse, incest, and killing children - mix it in with a simple-minded teen, and people are likely to turn the other cheek - so to speak.

So, the 15th of July marks the two year anniversary of the first submission of this piece. It is currently sitting with target market number (hopefully lucky) seven. If - scratch that - when this piece finally sells, it will be the ultimate example that every story has a market out there somewhere. Perseverance will pay.

As for new work - nil, nada, zip, zero, zilch, nothing!

I'm halfway through editing the last short story I have in my folder. Once that goes out the door, I've got nothing. Nil in progress, nada in way of ideas, zip inspiration, zero enthusiasm, zilch hope. Could very well have something to do with being ill lately and having very little sleep over the recent weekend - but still, bottom of the barrel is still bottom of the barrel when you scrape against it.

I got my final assignment back (thank you to Pharo, Jamie and D for your honest feedback), and got a mass of wonderful comments and encouragement from the lecturer to go with the A grading. My reaction - well, that's that out of the way - I'm glad I decided put the coursework on hold. I can't even get pumped over an A!

I currently have 9 pieces submitted. One of those is on a long list for consideration. Another is about to go back out, and one more is being edited. By this weekend, I'll have 11 pieces out in the wild looking for a home. Then my time will be spent on reading, which will make for really boring blog posts, so pray for acceptances, pray for my muse to find her way home, and get used to photos and updates on my new grandson - because without these things, I've got squat!

So what's the oldest story you have still doing the rounds? How many times has it been rejected? When would you consider sending it to TLODS? (Yes, I have an obsession to one day send something good to this wasteland of unappreciated brilliance - but I have a bigger compulsion to get paid for my work)


  1. I think the longest one of my pieces has been out has been since March of last year. I think it has hit 9 markets and has gotten good responses (personalized) from all of them. It has been at its current market for 84 days.

    I hope your muse finds you soon and I can't wait to see pics of that new one in your family. Best of luck to everyone.

  2. Six or seven markets is not very many. You'll hit the right one soon.

    I've got one story, more or less the second short story I ever wrote, that I can't leave alone. I just rewrote it last week and sent it out again. The weird thing is, it's not a very good story and I don't really love it.

  3. I do believe that there's a right market for everything-- assuming the story does what the writer intended and isn't misfiring. That said, it takes a friggin' age to find it sometimes. In a way I think that's good, because it needs to fit the voice of the magazine or book. But it can be incredibly frustrating :/

    I need to write more short fiction; most of my long waits come from novel queries and the steps after.

  4. I have a eight-month-old story that's received three rejections so far. Here's hoping four is the charm.

  5. Hmm, I think mine would be "Medicine Soup." It's been rejected nine times!

  6. Currently the longest is since October and before that its been rejected three times. Maybe I will give it one more go if I have no luck and then either rework or retire it.

  7. I've got a piece that was rejected three times back in the 90's. Then it sat for 12 years before I changed things some and sent it back out. It is now at its fourth market (been there 76 days), having garnered another 3 rejections. I refuse to give up on it. While it may not be all that horrific or thrilling, I think it is my most Human story.

  8. I'm impatient. If it doesn't hit (or a least strike a minor chord) with the first 6-7 markets, it's in TLODS. Or the trash.

  9. Seems we're all fairly similar, but I'll admit to being like Aaron - impatient.

    But I want to find a home for Too Late the Rain somewhere out there.

    Fingers crossed.

  10. I have a story that seems to have a similar history to yours. It's two or three years old but decided I've progressed so much that, although it's good, it needs a complete rewrite to be as good as it can be.

  11. Hi Ben - sorry I haven't gotten over to your new look blog yet - things have been a little crazy around here the last two weeks, but I haven't forgotten.

  12. I've had shorts I've submitted to fifteen markets before finding the right one. And then there are the stories that hit immediately. It balances out, really.

    I log each sub in Sonar and at Duotrope, then forget them. Well, for the most part I forget them. ;) I'd probably consider sending a story to TLODS once it'd been out maybe 20 times. Unless there had been constructive encouragement in there somewhere... ;) Then who knows.

  13. Jodi - you surprised me popping up on a post from a few days ago. If a story had been knocked back 20 times, would that equate to three or four years of subbing it around?

    Don't know if I could be that patient or rework a story that much.

    Still, I'm probably going to find out with Too Late - I have no intention of letting it sit for some time to come ;c)