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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

So You Want to Write a Novel

This is who gets published instead of you. Courtesy of a nice mouse who sent me the link.  My favorite line is:
Q: "I assumed you've used a steak knife, right?"
A: "Of course."
Q: "Do you think you're qualified to perform neurosurgery?"
A: "Ha, ha. That's funny. I might base a character on you."
Q: "So do you think that being able to read and write in your native language qualifies you to write a novel?"
A: "How many editors will Random House assign to my novel?"
Q: "Minus 13."

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Redneck Thanksgiving

Sorry for the lapse in posts over the Thanksgiving holiday. I went back to my hometown to spend the first holiday with my mother and a couple of my brothers. I haven't been to a holiday in at least a decade for, it turns out, good reason. I have made it a policy to avoid those drunken affairs especially when my father was alive. I made my visits on non-holiday occasions. But this year, we moved my mother out of the family home (which we sold) and into a nice little condo that she loves; somehow I thought this would make us free from all the past bullshit and bad feelings. A fresh place, a fresh start. I thought maybe her first Thanksgiving in the new place would be kind of nice. Oh, futile optimism! Let's just say that one of my drunky brothers made a huge unpleasant scary scene that pretty much ruined the whole dinner. Luckily, it was after the turkey. (Though before the pie.) I'm talking some kind of hostile crazy screaming in the street, peeps. An insane scene. Well, the stuff of memoirs, really, though I can imagine if he were a character in a book you may have a hard time believing anyone would act that way.  Reality more bizarre than the written word.  Alas.  Hope your Thanksgiving was better than mine.  In other news, I am happily working on the new draft with the restructure of the novel.  Writing saves me.  It always has.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Publishing Shrinkage

Ah, breaking news from the New York Times on what's to come.  Three words, peeps: consolidation, consolidation, consolidation.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

You've Got Such an Unusual Mind

An anonymous LROD reader sent this rejection in for your consideration.  It's from Rattle, a journal of "Poetry for the 21st Century":
Hi Writer: Unfortunately this didn't make the final cut, but it came close -- I really enjoyed it, especailly the ending. You've got an unusual mind that's interesting to read. I think you'll have something make it all the way eventually. Sorry for the bad news with this one, though. Best, Tim
Sometimes it's worse when you know how close you actually came.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Uncluttered Prose

OTP is On The Premises, a web-based magazine. Here's the mission:
On The Premises aims to promote newer and/or relatively unknown writers who can write what we feel are creative, compelling stories told in effective, uncluttered, and evocative prose. Entrants pay no fees, and winners receive cash prizes in addition to exposure through publication.

Friday, November 19, 2010

In Other News...

So it turns out that several quotes from my work have been selected in a very fancy reference book of quotes, a cool surprise.  Also, there appears to be an entry about me in an encyclopedia of contemporary American writers. Weird. I didn't know the people involved in either project, and clearly they do not know I am, after all, generally Writer, Rejected, not Writer, Celebrated.  Anyway, sorry for the missing post yesterday; I'm writing like a fiend on the restructuring of the novel, plus having to keep up with my paid-work deadlines as well. I'll keep you posted.

Stealing Money From the Desperate

An uncscupulous group of swindlers give literary types a bad name across the globe. (In this scenario, hopeful writers are as vulnerable as old ladies.) As I always say about the darker side of humanity, people are goats; they'd eat your shoes if you let them.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Voted Most Likely To...

Are we depressing? I thought we were comforting and consoling, a little bit pissed sometimes, but continuing to strive and thrive.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Incongruously Repetitious, Repeating and Repetitive

Here's a good one, sent in by an LROD reader: Hi--Unfortunately we have decided not to include your poem in this issue of the Incongruous Quarterly.We appreciated the energy in the poem, but felt that we would have liked there to be more. Right now the poem feels a little repetitious, and some of the ideas being repeated (i.e. those about rejection) don't feel to us like they gain more significance as they reappear. Thank you for thinking of us, and good luck.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday Inspiration for Daunting Tasks

"Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes." --Oscar Wilde

p.s. Agent 99 got back to me with advice to dive back in one more time with some structural changes. She felt that the work we did this summer didn't exactly address the thing that we identified was wrong with the novel from the get-go. She was very kind and made some very lofty comparisons of how popular and literary she thinks the novel can be if I can fix the problem.  I was hoping not to have to restructure, for fear of ruining everything, but I think she's right; it's what I need to do. Turns out the six month hiatus was good.  After being away form it, I think I'm up to the task.  Sometimes time is just the thing to offer a fresh perspective. Anyway, I'm going back in; wish me luck.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Anything But Pleasing

Guess they wouldn't have guessed in 1907 how popular stories that are "actually repellent" and "deal with the horrible" would become.  Alas, the rejecting editor is always so short-sighted, no matter the era.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

You Are Not One of The Beautiful People

This was sent in by an (apparently unattractive) LROD mouse. Click on it to read. Not literary, but funny.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

VQR Closed for Business?

I missed this article last month. Sad, all around. "They have closed the offices of the Review, founded in 1925 and housed in a campus building designed by Thomas Jefferson, pending the outcome of the investigation."  Discuss, please.

What $43 Buys You

Convenient tiered rejection right before your very eyes.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Truth Lies Elsewhere

This is a new one: your work "lies outside our publishing program."  Funny how many different ways people think up to say -- what? Not for us? Not good enough? Not a prayer? Who knows?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

When You're Just Not As Cooked As You Think

Sometimes you get rejected because your stuff isn't working yet. Believe me, I've had a lot of that. It's difficult to cultivate patience in the process, to wait until something is really ready to send out.  I've spent most of my career being eluded by that very important talent. Anyway, see exhibit A and B in the fishing-related cartoon above for a sample of sending out something that's not fully cooked.  I think it's supposed to be a) A food chain joke and b) a skeleton joke about how long it takes to catch a fish. Do they go together to say something bigger? Not sure.  I do like the actual drawings, and these are close to working.  Just not quite...yet.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Inappropriate for Children?

The Editors at Delacorte Press' Books for Young Readers might wish to ixnay the whole "appropriate"/"implied inappropriate" language in their itty/bitty form rejection. The word takes on a slightly sinister meaning in the context of children's literature. Just a thought.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Asimov Understands

"Rejections slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil--but there is no way around them." --Isaac Asimov