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Submissions, Rejections, Revisions, and Technique

Thursday, September 20th, 2007 | Posted by Managing Editor Howard Andrew Jones

John and I are making big strides into the submission pile. John still has some older physical subs to get to before he can get to the (relatively) newer e-subs I set aside for him. I think, however, that things will soon be under control. When I came on board we split the subs down the middle, with me taking the e-subs and John taking the physical subs. The one was a lot easier to send me than the other.

I’m almost to the end of the e-subs, and have begun to send forth responses. I have about a dozen left to read, and one or two I’m considering as I sort through these rest. A few of those left to read are longish and well-written, so they alone will take several hours.

Lest you think that you’re alone out there with your rejection pile, I’ve been accumulating some rejects lately myself. A while back I fashioned a new protagonist and a new setting, but despite my own sense that I’m making new strides and charting new ground — and despite an excellent reception from one of my most trusted first readers — the market has not been interested. Frustrated genius? Bitter hack? I’m more puzzled than bitter. I hope I’m not a hack; I’m danged sure I’m not a genius. Anyway. As I did with Dabir and Asim, I will continue to write these stories from time to time, just because they please me. Maybe a market will open up. My focus right now, though, is on novel writing.

I think I mentioned that I was working on a polishing pass of my mist world novel, which is sitting now at about 93 thousand words. I was shooting for between 90 and 95k, so I’m pretty happy with that. I’m trying something new with this pass, which is to focus on getting ten pages revised a day. Some days I’m doing more, but most days I’m just combing back and forth over the ten pages, slowly. I think the prose is getting stronger for it. I’m currently about a third of the way in, and should be done around the first of next month. And here my goal was to get it done by mid summer! Ah well. Better a late strong draft than a cruddy one on time.

Two other folks I regularly direct vistors to have posted some interesting writing tips lately. Eric Knight has one on a Jackie Collins novel he stumbled across — rather than rolling his eyes he points out some strengths to learn from, and James Van Pelt is teaching some creative writing to high schoolers. I think it’s important to go back and revisit basics — they’re far too easy to forget.

Howard

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