Thursday, November 20, 2008

Who Doesn't Love a Good Hand-Job Story?


A letter arrived via carrier pigeon from your friend and mine, "Sassy Pants". It goes like this:

"Dear LROD

The Warren Adler Writing Contest. Have you heard of it?

Well, last summer, I entered his funny story contest, and of course I didn't win. But you see in this contest five finalist are chosen (all of them being NOT YOU) and you vote for the "people's choice award" that winner is the runner-up, while Adler has already chosen the 1st place winner from the five finalists. So, I got to read the top 5 stories, none of them were funny, the winning story was entitled the 'Italian Motzah Ball' for god's sakes. Now, I'll admit that my story was a bit crass (there was a hand-job in it!) and Warren Adler is 81 years old, but I know it was significantly better than all of the finalists.

You can read the horrendous stories
here for yourself

Anyway, let's cut to the chase.


"We have strived to put originality as the gold standard of our choices. By its nature our judgment is purely subjective. Our advice to those who have submitted is to stay with it. Not being among our top five is by no means a rejection. Thank you so much for submitting your work. We look forward to hearing from you again when we launch our next contest. Our motivation in creating our contests is to enhance and promote the art of the short story form and to encourage other writers to embrace it."

--Thanks, A Venting, Sassy P.

Here's a question for all the grammar nerds out there: Have they strived or have they striven?  English is so alarmingly irregular, isn't it?  I love that.

13 comments:

John said...

Isn't this a special case of what everyone's mama should have told us: It is not a good idea to enter a contest that charges entry fees. The main outcome is that Mr. Adler has supplemented his retirement income, which, like everyone these days, he probably needs to do.

It seems to me that if folks followed our mamas' advice, there'd be an easy reduction in unhappy posts about rejection.

Writer, Rejected said...

It's a case of your damned if you do and if you don't.

Usually someone posts about how we'd all be better off if we'd just start sending out submissions. Then, someone else says if we'd stop sending out submissions. Then, someone else says if we'd stopped sending out submissions to contests.

Seems to me we'd stop bitching if we could start getting published, no? Or maybe we'll never stop complaining. Maybe trying to get us to stop is the mistake.

It is a blog about complaining, after all.

Writer, Rejected said...

Oops; I meant "you're"

Also, though, I like to think of John as Mama.

John said...

You're third gendered, I'm mama. Have it your way!

rmellis said...

Hey, WR,
Have you ever thought about holding a rejection contest? You know, seeing who can gather the most rejections in a certain amount of time. There would be categories for paper rejections vs. email rejections, and the most with handwritten notes, maybe a special award for the rudest rejection.

I was thinking of holding this contest myself, but it's your theme. You own this theme!

I would donate an award, maybe a subscription to VQR.

Writer, Rejected said...

Brilliant idea! Let's co-host it. That way people will send out some stuff, but also will send me their rejections for posting. How long do you think? A three month period? Let's email offline and see if we can get it going.

sassy pants said...

Well, I didn't know, John! Not until recently anyway, truth be told I am a naive college student. But writing has been my passion since I could string together a sentence.

Feels good to see my rejection here though, makes you feel... not alone.

I'm so glad I found this site!

John said...

I hate to get picky on this, but I think even this contest wouldn't be fair. I make over 100 submissions a month, and I get about a 2 percent acceptance rate. However, I wouldn't win, I would bet, with 98 rejections, because I don't get 98 rejections. I get maybe 30, if that. Many markets are so out to lunch they simply never reply, and it's frankly not worth my while to query them. ("Hey, did you actually mean to reject that piece I sent you last April?") Biggest pain in the butt is that when someone else accepts the thing I also sent them, I have to withdraw it, even though they probably don't know where it is.

So we're even talking about the luck of the draw with total number of rejections. Some people could game the system, too, by submitting to those places that reliably reject you the same day, or the next day. So if I sent one of those places a new piece every day for 3 months, would I win by gaming the system?

It's so unfair!

anonymissy said...

In its unfairness it would then resemble the institution from which you're being rejected.

At least there's no entry fee to this contest. (not yet!)

Writer, Rejected said...

What if we paid you to enter the contest? That would be anti-establishment.

JohnFox said...

I think it's always a good idea to read the person who the contest is named after. I read Warren Adler's New York Echoes" and it was far and away the worst story collection I read in 2008 -- and I've read over thirty. I have no idea why you would even want your story crowned as the "best" if they were using him as the premier example of what a short story should be.

vivi said...

I find the whole idea of paying contest fees an exercise in masochism at best. All you're doing is paying to get rejected 99.99% of the time. At worst, you're paying somebody for their sh**ty story and paying someone else to read.

Spend the $15 to buy icecream cones (or hot chocolates in winter) for some homeless dudes. It feels better than reading a form rejection.

estelle said...

From: Fowler's Modern English Usage
Subject: Re: "strived vs striven"

strove, striven: past tense and past participle of 'strive', respectively
strived: common American English usage for both

All brought together by the classic problem of looking funny when you stare at them for a long time.