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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Edits By Committee...Not

So, the new agent (99) hadn't been back to me since the last small revision, but recently wrote saying she had some peeps in her office read the manuscript.  They all had some pretty out-there suggestions, which she passed along.  Stuff like "make the kids twins" or "make one of the characters more villainous." I told her that I had to think it over, that I wasn't into edits-by-committee, that I didn't agree with their notes, and that maybe she and I should talk about what to do next. Her edits had been really great and right-on-the-mark, but these were pretty weird. Agent 99 wrote back immediately and said I should call her tomorrow any time and that she agreed with me. She wanted them to read my novel "because once I submit here in the states, then these will be the people working on your behalf in other territories." I liked that last sentence! I'll keep you posted on how the conversation goes.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Foundling Review Rejection

From a reader who got rejected from the Foundling: Some nice lines in there. "....Christ coming back on pancake, fake like the man on the moon." Overall, this one didn't seem right for Foundling Review. We have finally decided to pass. Please take some time and report our submission response times to DuotropeWe would really like that.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Do Not Be Discouraged...In Iowa

Iowa is the state of many rejections as far as I'm concerned. Just the fact that the Iowa Workshop exists without me is like a perennial rejection.  Best wishes to you, Doyen.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New Anderbo Algebra Rejection

From the editors of Anderbo: "Sorry to say, we will not be using this submitted work, and do wish you the best of luck with it elsewhere. is an all-volunteer organization. We are able to use less than 1/4 of 1% of what comes in; most submissions receive a response within 30 minutes to 48 hours."  Doesn't it remind you of those Algebra word problems?  If it takes the editors 30 minutes to read and rejection one-quarter of 1% of 5,000 manuscripts received in a month, what are your chances of being published?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I Recommend Myself

An anonymous LROD reader writes: Hi there. This is one of the nicest rejections I've received. Its still a rejection, no matter how nice, but it sure helps when the agent is polite about it. Here's the letter: "Dear Writer: Thank you for sharing your work with me. You write well, with many lovely details--but I'm afraid that this is not quite the right "feel" for me. That said, I hope you will continue writing and sending out your work. If you haven't done so already, you may wish to check out The Jeff Herman Guide--there, you should be able to find someone who is a better fit for your work. Very best of luck to you, with this and future projects. All best wishes, Agent"
It begs the question: Was the rejecting agent Jeff Herman himself?  Just wondering.

Monday, August 23, 2010

First 300 Pages Strong (The Rest Not So Much)

I love it when my friend Mr. Viscosi reaches into his deep rejection pockets and produces something like the rejection above!  Very nice!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Update: Third (and Final) Revision

Agent 99 read my novel's second revision under her care and had this to say:"I think this is much, much cleaner in the second half. My one (tiny) remaining comment is that [very small logistical fix about the placement of a character during a specific scene]. Also, maybe the importance of [one character's search] can be more apparent in the first third of the book? I also think [a scene idea I had about revealing a specific character's inner drive] early on would be nice- [then some specific advice about where to place the new scene]. Lovely work, sorry to send you back to the grindstone! You're so close now."  I've already made these changes and had been working on the additional scene already, so I'm going to send it back for a final read today! It's amazing when revisions click and everything falls into place. If you don't think about the 13 previous years of toil and torture, it's like magic.  Have a good weekend everybody.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Soho Stuff of Stories

This rejection is posted at Derek Gentry's blog with a story and the reverse side of this card. As he notes: Who ever thought you could use the words oblique, quotidian and banal in a single sentence? Indeed!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mail Piles From God-Knows-When

Our friend James Viscosi always has an entertaining tidbit or two on rejection.  The overly-revealing-of-messy-office-habits one above has an entire accompanying saga you can read about here.

Monday, August 16, 2010

For the Young (Yet Mature) At Heart

A reader sent this one in from his/her younger days of submitting. I like the smiley face and the conflicting note that the story was too "adult for our readership."  Says the Anonymouse who sent it in: "It's pathetic, but I saved this rejection for well over a decade in a binder where I kept all of my writing awards, the rare acceptance letters, etc. Back then, just submitting and getting a response made me feel like a part of the big exciting writing world. Nowadays, I throw out all of my rejections immediately without a second thought."

Friday, August 13, 2010

Oh, Geeze...

This is just very sad and not good for anybody at the VQR. Condolences to all involved.

Updates by a colleague here and here.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Failed Attempts and Rejection for Little Success

Ah, reality, such a bummer.  And yet good of an established writer to deliver the blow so nicely through the post.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Fringe is Hell

I know because someone close to me had a play in the Fringe.  Maybe this rejection is a blessing in disguise.  Maybe they all are.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Overrated and Contemporary

Slamming MFA programs and some of today's most lauded writers?  Read it here in this ballsy Huffington Post Article by Anis Shivani. BTW, Mary Oliver, Jhumpa Lahiri, Sharon Olds overrated? Really? Here's a high/low-light from the article: "The MFA writing system, with its mechanisms of circulating popularity and fashionableness, leans heavily on the easily imitable. Cloying writers like Denis Johnson, Amy Hempel, Lydia Davis, Aimee Bender, and Charles D'Ambrosio are held up as models of good writing, because they're easy enough to copy. And copied they are, in tens of thousands of stories manufactured in workshops. Others hide behind a smokescreen of unreadable inimitability--Marilynne Robinson, for example--to maintain a necessary barrier between the masses and the overlords. Since grants, awards, and residencies are controlled by the same inbreeding group, it's difficult to see how the designated heavies can be displaced."  (I couldn't imitate any of those writers if I tried.)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Please Publish My Brick

We strive so hard to get our books in print, but look what they've become now.  Bricks!  Or, as the description of this art project reads: "The memory and knowledge accumulated in the books gathered, closed and inaccessible, diverse and precious will be potentially recovered in the end, when all of the books can return to their function of being read, but meanwhile they will have been worked on as sculpting matter and as the spirit of the place where the artist intends to hold us: an hexagonal enclosure with a passage defined by mirrors that assure the vertigo of a fall, the ad infinitum fragmentation, the panic of spatial disorientation characteristic of a virtual infinity. The metaphor indicating that all those books are part of and enrich the universal editorial production, gains visibility in the blend orchestrated in the construction of Book Cell, between the Foundation's publications and several other books from around the world."  Huh? (Ah, are perverse.)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Dear Editor [And All Other Editors]

And now a sobering word from that gentle Itinerant Bastard. Favorite line: "Dear Editor...Please edit the manuscript you bought, not the manuscript you wish you had."

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fake or Real? Not Sure

Well...some say it's real, but it seems a little faux to me.  You?
p.s. Seriously, though, what's with the werewolves and zombies thing?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Agent Appears to be MY Agent

Agent 99 read the latest revision of my novel, which focused on the first half of the manuscript; she left a voice mail saying she "loved" it.  Nice!  The problem is that now the second half of the manuscript lags....isn't that just the way?  So, she had a couple of ideas, but mainly I have to fine-tooth-comb the second half as I did the first, which I should have done before, but there wasn't a lot of time since the deadline was supposed to be for August 1st.  Anyway, the edits are minor now.  She had a knock-out idea for adding a scene between two characters that I think will be really great. Now I just have to figure out what that scene might be. The emotional content is there, but the logistics, you know?  That's the thing about all has to seem so effortless.  Anyway, though I'm on vacation (bobbing in the ocean as we speak...well, not really, but you get the idea), I'm back at it.  Not sure when I'll finish.  She'd like to send it out next Monday but wants me to take the time I need.  If I need more time, she'll send it out in September.  So, little tiny mice-icles: your good vibes and prayers this weekend worked!  Thank you very, very much!

Monday, August 2, 2010

What Me Worry?

A reader pointed this classic out!  I used to love Mad Magazine when I was a kid; it honed my sense of irony.