Monday, November 25, 2013

Something to aspire to

So Janet Reid, from whom much literary wisdom flows, posted about Michael Seese. He's a writer who just spent all of October submitting a story or poem or something each day. Which is awesome.

See, if you want to get published, it isn't enough just to write. This is a grave disappointment that each of us reaches at some point in our, er, "development". As I commented on Ms. Reid's post, nobody's going to do this for me. It isn't like Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery where her Uncle Jimsy finds her trunked manuscript, thinks it's good, and sends it off to a publisher who accepts it right off and BAM Emily is successfully published. She's one of my favorite L.M. Montgomery characters and, unlike the Anne books, the Emily books are only a trilogy.

So. We write but it isn't enough. We much write and spit shine and sand edges and shellack and polish. Then, we must write the Dreaded Query Letter™, which must be hooky and snappy and explanatory and not clichè unless it's just the right kind, and which must be a distilled 250 word form of mind control to make somebody want to read your pages. And request your full. Then talk contract. Then sign. Then send it around to publishers. The Dreaded Synopsis™ is in there somewhere too (and I need to write one for Learn to Howl come December, if I'm going to make the Angry Robot Books open submissions deadline).

So it's important to get your work out there. Get eyes on it (or ears on it, as I did last week with the help of my friend Jacob Burgess). Write, write, edit, write, and submit. Since I just received a rejection from Glimmer Train, I looked the story over again, edited it a bit more, and sent it off to Agni. I sent another one to Lakeside Circus, which is published by Dagan Books (I actually almost sent this one to Strange Horizons, then realized I'd already received that particular rejection from them. It pays to keep a spreadsheet for your submissions and rejections, kiddies!).

I don't have 31 spit-shined works of fiction to sub so I can do 1 a day for a month, but I've been poking around in my "Writing" folders, looking at what I thought was finished, what I know isn't finished, and all of those irritating files I have which are only a couple of sentences and were clearly meant to go in a direction at one time. I have stuff I can work with, and stuff I need to "bring up to code", as it were (removing 'that' whenever possible, that kind of thing). It's funny how organic a process writing is, how things change shape even as you're doing them.

1 comment:

  1. You know, I think the same is true for most creative professions. It isn't enough to just do **blank** every day. Luck helps, but hard work and perseverance are really what pays off.