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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Taking a Pass

You probably only get accepted if you're already famous. I wonder if famous writers submit their work to Narrative using this plebian online method. Probably the really famous have their agents send the story by gilded messenger pigeon. (Do agents of the very famous still represent short stories?  In the old days, they did.) Forgive these musings because, really, what's the diff to me and you?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Unreachable Decline of Your Main Character

It's more painful when they think you are a good writer. This is a rejection from an editor to an agent, ultimately passed back to the author and posted online.  Some people don't want to see the rejections as they roll in.  I can never decide. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's Good Being #3

Hey, everybody, we were listed at NewsoDrome's "50 Best Blogs for Creative Writing Students" at number 3.  I don't think LROD has made any of those best-blog lists.  So this is a first!

Monday, September 27, 2010

No Implication of Criticism of Merit?

I'm on the road for my day job time to comment except to say this: Why so formal, Antioch Review?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Didn't Even Remember The Guy

Tonight I got a rejection for my novel from an agent I didn't even remember.  I had submitted the novel to him last June (by which I mean 2009; that's a year and three months ago).  I won't share it here just yet because now I'm all paranoid and stuff. (I'll just say this: "Young Adult, my patooty, Bub; you simply don't have the availability to take on any new clients at this time, but you did have availability to share my materials with several of your colleagues? (Read: the guy you pay $15/hour to come in on Saturdays and read three pages, didn't like it.") Instead, micies, I submit for your philosophical consideration the above absurdity. What if your dentist rejected you? What then?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Another Way to Do It

Martini expert Amelia Sauter protected the name of the review by blacking it out but not her own name. Interesting strategy: a non-anonymous blog. Why didn't I think of that? Just kidding. Anyway, she's interesting for other reasons, like she owns a martini bar and is a musician.  ]Me, I've got a super-duper boring day job and only one vague talent with words. It's always been my only charm (except I can cook with a modicum of creativity), so my non-anonymous blog would have been really dumb. I have to say that this blog has been great fun and a huge comfort. I love all the mice, cynical and innocent, and have actually come over the past 4 years to feel much less personally trodden upon by big-footed publishing. That in itself is something of a miracle. And, anyway, who am I, or was I, to think my message is the one that should get mass-produced? Is there even room in this celebrity-worshipping mess for another message, especially a simple one? Jonathan Franzen would probably answer in the affirmative, but most of us aren't him. Thank goodness. I'm still holding a grudge for Oprah from 2001, though according to sources, all appears to be forgiven.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Just-Plain-Bad-Taste Rejections (Love)

All's fair in love. Apparently. Makes me glad my rejections are mainly of the impersonal literary type.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Update: Smoothing the Ruffle

Had a little ruffle with Agent 99 after delivering the new-to-her information that my novel had been seen by a few other editors a while back. She seemed unhappy with the news, but I described to her the previous plot line (so very different from current) and the fact that it had gone out under a different title, and I got this note back: "No worries -- it does sound very different, and I don’t think it will be a problem." Things in publishing have heated up, so she needs some more time to read the newest revision; she hasn't gotten to it yet.  You know, micicles, I'm going to have to stop reporting her every word on this blog. It's starting to feel a little uncool because she doesn't know about it, and I'm developing a relationship with her. I can tell you that I do not relish telling her about this blog, but will probably have to at some point feel like I must. Or maybe I will need to close it down before long, assuming it has had its day and run its course. Any opinions about how to handle this?

Interpret the Inky Blue Sign Off

Sometimes a totally cold standard rejection needs a little warming up.  Best regards, my ass.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Rejection Correction

Ha!  This dude is really getting his revenge in South Africa, right? Mmm, not really. But it is vaguely amusing.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Non-Literary Rejection Week

I've become intrigued with non-literary rejections, which can sometimes be more humiliating than the usual agent/editor "no thank you."  For example, imagine being rejected by Valerie Bertenelli. On her own letterhead no less.  While she was a teenager starring on a bad sit-com.  Seems wrong.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

This is What it Feels Like Sometimes

"Thank you for your manuscript "S.O.S Send Help."  At this time we do not feel the concept of a man lost on a desert island will fit into our collection. Sincerely, Acme Book Publishing.

Monday, September 13, 2010

When She's Ten Feet Tall

Do you think it was the song, T.V. movie, the book, or the general attitude Go Ask Alice? More recent/emerging phenomena...hmm: crack, meth, K perhaps?  Update: Answer found here.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Update: Disclosure

I delivered my last round of edits to Agent 99 on Friday. So now I have to broach the topic of my novel's history. Agent 99 didn't ask about it, which is unusual, but I think her enthusiasm for the project and our working together on edits have preempted the normal line of questioning. I wrote to told her about this sorry incident about 14 months ago, and mentioned that a few other editors have seen much older versions of the novel, and a few who had seen my short story collection were interested in seeing the novel. But I also told her that I thought she should go out fresh and ride her luck, since my own has been rather tepid. I said maybe just let me know who you're sending it out to and I'll let you know if I have a history there. Of course, that would be too sparing, right?  She wrote back and thanked me for the information and asked me to send her a list of editors who have seen the novel, or requested to see it. This is tricky business, which in part makes me wish the novel were a virgin, but it's not. I'm just going to be honest with her, send her the list of those who have previously seen and rejected an older version of the novel and short story collection.  That harkens back about a decade; maybe all those people have moved on to more lucrative careers, like driving taxis and washing windows. I'll let you know what happens next.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Judson Merrill Rejects Them All

The Interwebs are all abuzz with this tidbit from writer Judson Merrill who really lets 'em have it. My fave is this:

Dear Pebble Lake Review: Congratulations on not accepting my story. In a way, I’m jealous. I bet it’s satisfying to grind out a man’s carefully kindled dignity. Your communiqué, however, did leave me with a few concerns. You write, “We hope you will submit again in the future.” Many thanks! Since the story I submitted is my strongest, I will certainly send it again in the future. In fact, just this morning I found an embarrassing use of “than” when I meant “then.” In case that error is the reason you initially passed on the story, please find the corrected version attached. The future is now! Look forward to hearing from you, Judson

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Different Kind of Rejection

Just thought I'd throw out something different to let you know it could indeed be worse; you could be turned down by Playboy despite your comeliness. Summer is winding down, and I always feel a little blue this time of year, don't you?  Probably because my Birthday Season (as it is known at our house) is over.  Back to school with you all, even if you're not students; back to school anyway.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Autumn Approaches

I had a fruitful discussion with 99 yesterday.  While we were talking, I actually had a brainstorm (such a dumb word that people use in my employment activities every day) and figured out how to fix one of the major narrative problems caused by a recent revisions.  It's all such a delicate tapestry, isn't it?  Pull one thread to tight and suddenly there's a big run in the middle of your plot.  Anyway, we decided to ignore all the other (committee) comments and try to get at the underlying issue.  So, I have one more (quick, I think) revision involving the rebuilding of some lost tension in the first part of the novel.  So, I'm back at it.  I did ask Agent 99 if she's thought about where she's going to send the manuscript and she said she had; she'd even spoken to a few editors about it. Looks like it's actually going out this fall, laddies and germs.  Aren't we lucky ducks?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What Would the Hallmark Card Look Like?

Over at the Word Lover's Almanac, September 1st has been declared "Author Rejection Day."  Nice! I'm getting on the phone in a few with Agent 99 to hash out the plan; I will report back later.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tiers and Tears

James McGirk (cloud across the sun that he is) has posted this interesting discussion on tiered rejections, complete with samples from his own fund.