Tuesday, August 30, 2011

And there goes my swagger

So the other day I'm talking to somebody at work. Not somebody I work with but somebody who's tires I'm checking. She's taking creative writing as her major and I say "oh cool, what do you write?"

She replies "nonfiction and poetry. Do you write?"

I say yes! In fact I do!

"Oh what do you write?"

"Genre. Mostly sci-fi."

"oh. Cool."

And bam. I just went from cool guy to dork, just like that. Maybe it's just in my head - it probably is - but I could just feel the swagger of my "why yes I am an author" run away from the situation like it's ass was on fire. The follow up question: "did you write a book?" persuaded it to run faster when I answered "yeah but... It's not published. I'm getting my name out in the short story market right now."

Not really a George McFly "I just couldn't take that kind of rejection!" but I heard it that way.

I think one day I'll be looking back at this as I stroll into a convention, full of piss and vinegar, the "cool" sci-fi writer, girls screaming like I was the damn Beatles... I'll have a good laugh. But man, try saying you write science fiction and try to look like the groovy sonofabitch you know you are. It aint easy.

Wordslinger-117 out.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I have five stories floating through cyberspace

Five. I had to look at my spreadsheet to be sure. Five possible credits (and payments!) and five possible rejections. You know what's kind of scary about the whole thing, though?

I tell myself that after five short stories published, five pieces of work that I get paid for, I start querying for my book. And holy shit does that make things seem pretty real. The book is done and ready to go, but it's always seemed far off. In the future. That whole "one day" thing. But there is a reason I'm reading up on queries and pitches and all of these other things I'll have to do to get the book sold.

While reading up, I've also discovered that everyone and their grandmother wants to be a writer. It's almost disheartening when you read through comments on blogs and websites, and its all to the effect of 'Very nice. MY novel is...' and then a link to their blog.

I think the job market I'm trying to break into is a little crowded. But I'll get this job the same way I got all the other jobs I've ever held: go in there with the ability to bullshit my way into being liked and making them think I have the capability to excel at the work.

In other news, I submitted a piece to the Writers of the Future contest. Third prize is $500, so say a prayer for me.

-Wordslinger-117 out.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Blogosphere

I have just swam the literary blogosphere (Jesus I hate that word) and am now surfacing, gasping for air. Holy. God.

Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, has a blog. Most are interesting. Some are helpful. And others are just full of pretentious dicks. Which is to be expected, considering the kind of blog it is. I'm not going to name names, because that's a form of dickery. But let's just say I would not want to get a beer with these people.

There are some that are helpful but also very... rude. Well, rude may be too strong of a word. Janet Reid's blog, the Query Shark, for example, is a wonderful resource for crafting a great query. She will often go to lengths to say 'this is what you're doing wrong with your query'. But her responses to other bloggers and questions and the like? If you get more than 'no' from her, you have just performed a miracle. But she's a busy woman, and its all from the goodness of her heart. Her icy, blackened heart. So I can understand it.

I think I'll send in a query to the shark and see what she says. If it even gets posted, that is. She says 99% of them don't get on the board.

I think I can make that other 1%.

Wordslinger-117 out.

Monday, August 8, 2011

In the running!

So a magazine sent me an email today. It looked something like this:

Dear Michael,

This letter is to inform you that your submission has passed first reading and will be read by the full editorial board in October. It is not an acceptance letter. You will be notified of our final decision in early November.

Important: Please respond to this notification confirming that this submission is not under consideration elsewhere.

All the best with your writing,


And my thoughts? Hell YES I will wait for another couple months if that mean's there's a chance it will be accepted!

And the terrible thing? I started reading through it again and, in about the sixth paragraph, slapped my forehead. There was one jumble of words that missed my editing. BUT that's okay, right? Because that's what editors are for, right?

Right. But that's good news, though. Once again, it's that feeling: somebody who I don't know read my work, and they liked it enough to push it forward.

Next step? SELL something. Sweet Jesus, getting paid for my writing? I'll feel like I've up and robbed somebody, as sure as I put a gun to their head, got twenty bucks, and shoved a manuscript into their hands.

-Wordslinger-117 out.

Monday, August 1, 2011

BOOM! Sphinx!

Rejection letter number... okay, so I don't keep track. But I open it up and BOOM! Yummy! Personalized. And not just personalized, my friends, but edited.

Edited. They went through my manuscript, wrote down notes, and sent it back. This is the first time my work has ever been edited by somebody in the profession, and it feels nice. Better than nice, I feel like a pro.

Most of it was getting away from the passive 'was' in my gerunds. There was a bit about cleaning up the F-bombs, but that's probably more the editor's taste, which I can appreciate. It makes publishing it in a magazine a lot easier. A couple things of motivation and continuity, but overall I get the feeling the story made it to the 'maybe' pile, and possibly even into the 'short list' pile for consideration.

What's more, this is the short story that is part of the larger universe. A short set before the novel. The one I always thought of as incomplete, probably never would do well. Seems I was mistaken! Oh ho HO!

So, possibly the best rejection letter I've had since I started. What I need to do now is edit according to the recommended changes, sit on it, re-edit, and send it off again. I've got a feeling that this one is a winner.

Wordslinger-117 out.