Goals… Accomplished and Not So Much…

Well, I’m getting better at the whole goal-setting and achieving thing, but I’m still far from l33t at it πŸ™‚

Last year when I looked back at the goals I’d had for 2010 I’d only managed to accomplish a quarter of them, but this year, looking back over the goals for last, I’ve managed to double that. Oh yeah, I hit the 50% mark LOL

Okay, I grant you, that’s not great, but it’s progress.

My goals for 2011 were:

  • Revise the current draft of TWIXT
  • Finish writing the current β€˜new first draft’ of SHADOWS
  • Get a polished manuscript for my zombie poetry chapbook ready and begin looking for a home for it
  • Write the poetry project with Danica she and I planned

The first draft of Twixt is still sitting on my shelf, waiting it’s turn for my attention. I still think it’s a strong draft and a great story, but it has a couple big issues that I haven’t quite figured out how to address yet. I actually think I nailed the solution to the biggest one, but I haven’t started revising yet because I’m currently more interested in working on Consequences so… Twixt has to wait. A little while, at least.

I did finish writing the latest draft of Shadows. I’m done with big revisions on that one for now. I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with it, it’s in the hands of two trusted critique partners, and once I have their feedback I’ll be able to make a decision about its future. So, yay! One goal accomplished πŸ™‚

I also accomplished my second goal, that of finishing up my zombie poetry chapbook and have started looking for a home for it. In what has become a bit of a familiar problem, the size of this chapbook is a bit of an issue. I picked only my strongest and most favourite zombie/apocalyptic poems to include, and that makes the book a bit shorter than most publishers want. I’m considering doing a small, personalised limited edition of it and giving them away as gifts to friends, or special bonuses for people who buy my other work (like Shades of Green). We’ll see. For now, however, the chapbook is done and I am looking for a home for it, so goal = accomplished.

Sadly, the fourth goal I set, the poetry project Dani and I were going to do hasn’t come together. We are, however, working on a different creative project together. An illustrated story. I’m writing, she’s illustrating. We’re progressing slowly on that one, but slow progress beats no progress.

I didn’t have a whole lot of publications this year, and the ones I did were mostly poetry. This is partly due to the fact I’m becoming pickier about where I submit my work (starting at pro markets and working my way down… except when I need a writerly ego-boost LOL) and partly because I just wasn’t submitting things. Or writing them. Other than novel-length stuff, I mean.

It was a difficult year for me productivity-wise. I was busy with loads of things, from school to Niteblade, NaNoLJers and family things. I spent a great deal of it in the grips of a bad depression that sometimes made it difficult to even get out of bed. I found that setting these goals was very helpful for me. I looked back at them several times over the year to remind myself what I wanted to finish this year, and to keep myself motivated and engaged in something. I will definitely be setting new goals for 2012, but I need to take the next couple days to think about what they ought to be.

What kind of goals are you setting for your writing for the coming year?

Honesty

Truth is the slipperiest creature I know. I just wrote a long(ish) blog entry, complete with pictures and nostalgia, about my favourite ever Christmas present. Then I deleted it.

It’s so tricky when you write about real things, about real people. Even if you’re saying nice things about them, it’s never quite clear what you should share and what is best kept to yourself. Or at least, it’s never clear for me.

We were pretty poor when I was a kid. That’s a fact. We never went hungry, but money was tight and there are a lot of stories in there, but are they mine to tell? Is it really fair for me to talk about what it was like growing up? That doesn’t just affect me, but my whole family. Just because I feel comfortable talking about that, does it mean I can? That I should? What about my siblings? My parents? My extended family? When I tell my story I’m also touching on theirs.

In the case of the blog entry about my favourite Christmas gift, I loved the present because I could see how much love and thought had gone into buying it for me. I could see how proud the person giving it to me was because they thought they’d gotten me the thing I wanted most in the world. They were wrong, they’d misunderstood what I asked for, but it didn’t matter to me. In that case it really was the thought that counted and that ‘wrong’ present meant more to me than the ‘right’ one ever could have because I saw the love behind it. Still, I’d never told that person they’d bought me something other than what I asked for. If they read this blog and found out, would it hurt their feelings or would they be happy to know I saw their motivations, their love, on thier face and it made that gift mean the world to me? I didn’t have the answers, and I don’t want to hurt anyone, so I’m keeping that story to myself.

But then, what if I want to tell a story, a different story, about when I was a kid? What if I want to talk about elementary school, or junior high? What if our family situation touches on those things (because dude, how could it not?) how do I know what’s okay? How do I decide when it’s okay to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and when to pretty it up a bit? What if I want to talk about the less than shiny parts of our family? No one’s perfect, and certainly no family is. That’s part of my story, is it okay to share it?

I don’t know the answers, but I’m starting to ask the questions. I think, for now, I’m just going to have to keep feeling my way through, one story at a time and really take a hard look at my motivations for sharing each. I don’t want to hurt anyone, so that’s the only way I know to go. But in the end, it’s my story too, so I think I have a right to share if I want to.

Mostly I write fiction, so this doesn’t become a giant problem, but who I am, what I’ve known and expierenced, they all inform my writing, so even in fiction, it’s important, I think, that I consider these things.

Cheerful thoughts leading into Giftmas, eh?

I suspect the holidays are greatly to blame for my thoughts heading down this road, as is work on CONSEQUENCE which takes place in a small town much like the ones where I grew up in.* Sure, we didn’t have genies, but in a way, small towns are like families. They have secrets, they have truths and they have ways of functioning that are unique to them. I’m not trying to re-create anywhere I’ve lived for CONSEQUENCE (okay, that the last time I’m writing it in all caps :-P) but I’m definitely finding myself thinking about them a lot these days. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Families, small towns and truth. I could get lost thinking about them, but then I’d never get any writing done. So maybe I am, as usual, just overthinking things what I really need to do is stop the thought merry-go-round and just freaking write.

/ramble

*and, it should be noted, never fit into

Cruelty

So far this month has been cruel to me.

It really has.

I have a fantastic story idea I really, really want to develop (It’s working title is CONSEQUENCE, though I fully expect to change that someday) but have I been able to find time for that? Hells no.

Between Giftmas stuff, having a life (*gasp* I know, right? But it’s true! I’ve actually even been out to three shows so far this month. Three. That’s like a record, I think), working on Niteblade and school–

Oh my goodness, school. Schoolwork has been kicking my butt far more than it should be. I don’t really get it, but there you have it. This month I have to do two assignments. The first is to write a research paper proposal, and the second is to write the paper I’ve proposed. I had *such* a difficult time picking a topic, first of all. All the ones suggested by the course made me roll my eyes, and none of the things I could think of that I wanted to write about could be imagined to fall within the guidelines. It was tricksy, but eventually I chose a topic, “Are North Americans eating healthier now than they were ten years ago?” (the answer, in case you were wondering, is a resounding no). Then I had to write a research paper proposal that included an outline of how I expected the paper to go. The notes in the coursework emphasize that we are not allowed to strongly deviate from that outline once our proposal is approved.

Let me let you in on a secret. I don’t outline. Okay, so that’s not a secret, but it’s true. This assignment forced me, someone who totally doesn’t outline. I discover the shapes of my stories (and essays) by writing them. By sticking my pen on the page and chaining one idea to another until it’s done. Trying to figure out how this essay was going to read was torture for me. It was cruel. Seriously.

I sincerely considered writing the paper and -then- doing the proposal once I knew how it was going to work. The only thing that stopped me was the fact that, if my professor insisted on any major changes from my proposal to the finished work I would potentially have to re-write the entire essay and I’m lazy. I didn’t want to do the assignment twice.

So I brooded about the outline for two days, then finally locked myself in my room and got it done. It hurt. It hurt more than going to the dentist, and I don’t mind telling you that the thought “I only need 50% to pass” occured to me more than once but I finished it and handed it in.

So yeah, forcing someone who doesn’t outline (I hate the word ‘pantser’, sorry.) to outline? That’s cruel. But I did it. Cause I’m awesome.

Or something.

So that’s done, and handed in. Now I wait for feedback before writing my research paper. That can’t possibly hurt as much as the proposal. They can’t possibly make me outline it twice, right? Right?

My deadline for this course is the end of the month, which I’m eyeing with anticipation because that is when I’ll have some more time open up in my day and maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to steal a week or two and lock myself away to work on Consequence. I’ve started it three times so far and haven’t liked any of them. I have a good idea for a fourth way to begin that I think might really work, but I won’t know for sure until I try. And that requires time. I feel like if I can hide from the world until I’ve written enough that I can see the shape the story is going to take I’ll be better equipped to make steady progress on it. We’ll see… we’ll see…

/ramble

 

Consequence, Alberta

Consequence, Alberta.

Don’t look for it on a map, it doesn’t exist except in my imagination. Yet. By the time you read this* I should actually have started writing about it. Consequence is the name of the town I’m setting my new writing project in. That’s subject to change, of course, as I get going, but for right now, I like it.

Beth has inspired me to want to write a bit of a blurb before I start work, and while I have some stuff whirling about in my brain, I haven’t actually written anything down yet. Suffice to say, however, the people in Consequence have trouble. Djinn trouble.

At the time of writing this have, as usual, a concept and, for lack of a better word, my Big Bad, but not quite figured out my smaller plots. I’ve mostly been developing characters using my fishbowl (which is really a rosebowl) and I’m hoping they will help show the plot the way. I am optimistic about this. The fishbowl has produced some freaking amazing characters, and at least one plot twist, so far. If you contributed traits to it thank you so much. So far the following internet-contributed traits have been pulled out and assigned to characters:

  • paralyzing fear of eggplant
  • phlegmatic
  • says #s in the wrong order (“It’s 6 or 5 miles away.” or “I’ll be there in 8 or 7 minutes”)
  • pigeon-toed
  • insists on upholding a code of chivalry or other code even though it’s not required.
  • hates being too hot

I hope when this project is done you’ll enjoy reading it and trying to spot the traits you contributed.

The best part about character traits other people have added to my fishbowl is that they aren’t from my brain. No doubt that seems obvious, but because they aren’t from my brain they aren’t comfortable for me. They shake things up and challenge me to think differently, which keeps me out of ruts. Thank you.

From now on my fishbowl is officially always open, so if you ever want to contribute, you are more than welcome to. I really ought to create a page on my blog for the fishbowl, but that sounds like work and right now I’m all about drafting.

In the meantime, I’m very excited about this project, so wish me luck as I break ground. Hopefully my enthusiasm will carry me far enough into this draft that momentum can charge the rest of the way through. Once I get started and actually have a feel for how well it’s going I’ll give myself a deadline for the draft and that will help too.

*I’m writing this on Friday evening and just scheduling it to post Monday morning.

Focus. I needs it. Also, Shadows.

Mmk, I screwed up. I put off doing this blog entry for too long and now my kiddo is home and I’m trying to focus enough to write it. That is not an easy task. She loves singing random songs and making odd noises. These things are very distracting to me and make focusing on anything difficult. So, note to self, in the future write your blog entries before Danica gets home from school.

If I seem more disjointed than usual, that’s why.

That’s right. I’m totally blaming my teenager.

That’s okay, right?

<.<

>.>

Oh hey! She just went downstairs and took my excuse with her. Which means I probably ought to delete everything I’ve written above this, but I’m not going to. Because I don’t wanna. πŸ™‚

Shadows is done.

That’s exciting, but less than I’d like. You see, Shadows finished at about 41k words. That lands it pretty squarely in the ‘Incredibly awkward length that is a nightmare to sell’ category. Also, I’m rather pissed, to be honest. This draft was supposed to be longer than my last one, so how did it end up shorter? Gah. The story is stronger, the characters have more depth and overall I feel good about it, but that word count… ugh.

I’m trying to figure out what to do with it now. My original plan had been to start looking for an agent to represent it, but the length makes that a problem. The way I see it my options sort of look like this: Continue reading Focus. I needs it. Also, Shadows.

I haz a fishbowl

I had great plans for Pure Spec this weekend, but life got in the way (sick kid, headache, all that good stuff) and in the end I could only manage to get there for long enough to take Jo Walton‘s character creation workshop. Still, for me, that workshop was worth the price of admission. Unfortunately when I walked into the room it was taking place in, the first thing I saw was a video camera, and it was pointed directly at where we were all sitting and working. I hate being videotaped. I especially hate being videotaped when I don’t know what it’s for and when I haven’t signed a release. That camera pretty much guaranteed that I would be doing a minimal amount of talking, however, luckily for me I listening and thinking are two skills I have which are unaffected by video cameras πŸ˜‰

For the workshop we sat in a circle (there were about 20 of us) and each of us wrote down three character traits or descriptors and then put them in a hat. I wrote:

  1. Addicted to chewing chalk
  2. Vegetarian
  3. Um…I don’t remember what my third one was lol

Jo (feels weird to write that name and not be talking about my husband LOL) mixed the sheets of paper up and then pulled three out. She made up a character using those three character traits (I think she got ‘Has a pointy tail’, ‘Sad eyed’ and ‘Expects to be cheated’), then she passed the hat to the person sitting next to her who pulled out three pieces of paper and made a character with them, which was going to be included in the same story as the first character.

Still with me?

So, we went on like that, passing the hat around the table until everyone had created a character with the three random traits they’d pulled out of a hat. At the end of the hour we had 20 unique characters who were all interrelated and who it wouldn’t be difficult to write about. I could tell you the whole plot of a novel based on them, in fact.

The character traits I pulled out were:

  1. Has a mane on their back
  2. Cheerful
  3. Career Student

When I first looked them over I thought the mane was the most interesting feature. My first impulse was to go with a cursed person, then perhaps a hybrid cat-person, and then a were-something… but those all seemed too easy. At Jo’s direction I looked a little more at the ‘Career Student’ trait and, within the context of the world created by the characters who came before mine, that actually became the most interesting feature of this character. I’m hoping toΒ  write a short story with this character… but not anytime super soon πŸ˜‰

Anyway, I enjoyed the workshop. It was especially cool because I’ve a novel idea I’m brewing that will require a huge cast, and I am going to try this method to create them.

When I got home I went on a search for a ‘hat’. Originally I’d planned to get a mason jar and decorate it, but then I found it. A rose bowl my grandmother gave me. I gave it a place of honor on my desk then cut up a bunch of pieces of paper and tucked them, along with a pen, right beside it.

Now as interesting character traits occur to me, I jot them down and toss them in. When it comes time for me to populate the town for my next novel I’ll pull them out, three at a time, and let the magic happen. I’ve also invited other people to contribute to my fishbowl, just to keep things interesting. Jo and Danica have both contributed several character traits to the bowl. I hope they’ll enjoy seeing what I do with the traits they’ve given me.

I’d love it if you’d like to add something to my fishbowl. Just leave a comment or drop me a line and I’ll be happy to write down what you tell me and put it in the bowl. Also, if you create a fishbowl of your own I’d love to help you fill it up πŸ™‚

In other story news, Shadows is still going well. It’s up to 29,497 words and I haven’t worked on it yet today.

Lastly, Niteblade. The December issue of Niteblade is a special issue, not only is it all poetry but it’s also not only online. That’s right, if you want a copy of Niteblade you can hold in your hands, this is your chance. Best of all, we’re having a pre-sale right now so you can pick up a copy for 25% less than it will cost when it’s officially available in December. I’m really hoping these sell well, so we can look at potentially doing print versions of every issue to come. I like physical copies πŸ™‚

Anywho, if you’re interested just click on the awesome cover and it will take you to our pre-sale page.

<3

 

Dear Santa,

A friend of mine on LiveJournal posted the list of what she wanted Santa to bring for her as a blog entry last week. I thought it was a fabulous idea because it really gave me some insight into who she was. My list, below is being shared for the same reason. Please don’t think I’m actually asking anyone who is reading this (except you Jo :-p) to get me these things — I’m writing to Santa.

Dear Santa,

I’ve been, well, if not terribly good at least not terribly bad this year. So for Giftmas, I would really love:

  • A hot oil popcorn popper like the one we used to have when I was a kid. I can’t actually find that exact model anymore, I guess they don’t make them these days, but this one here is similar enough to satisfy my nostalgia and provide me with super duper yummy popcorn.
  • I would also really love to “become a chimpanzee’s best friend“. Please. Pretty please?
  • I’m all about the Sims 3 these days but I’m feeling a little limited with my options for ‘stuff’ at this point. I’d positively adore any of the expansions I don’t have yet, or even Sims Points so I can buy some of the ‘stuff’ collections they put on sale on the website.
  • Lastly, if you were feeling super generous, Santa. I could also really use some baseboards and riser thingers for my bathroom and kitchen. If we don’t finish them up soon they are just going to blend into the background and we’ll never get them done. I’ve got the paint for both and I’d really like a chance to use it.

Thank you Santa.

Love,

Rhonda

In more directly writing-related news, Shadows is still coming along well. I’ve had a few bumpy patches in regard to ordering some of my scenes, but I still feel very good about this draft. I’m at 22,692 words and still going strong. Since I started working on it this time I haven’t missed a workday and the consistency feels good. Very good.

I wish I could say I’ve been as consistent with my #novpad this year, but I’d be lying. I have 9 poems, I should have 18. But it’s okay. I plan to keep going through the prompts, one at a time, until I finish them all, even if it takes me until January. For me the point of #novpad is mostly to be writing, and I’m doing that, even if it’s not one poem a day. I’m still pleased with my productivity, so it’s all good.

A couple years ago my friend BD did a personal challenge where she wrote for at least 15 minutes everyday for a year. I’m thinking about doing something similar. I don’t usually write on weekends, so I’d let myself off the hook then, but maybe expecting myself to write every weekday would be good for habit-forming and productivity. You know, assuming it’s not just setting myself up for failure considering the cyclical way my productivity works. This will require further thought, but I’m considering it, and if I do attempt it I’ll need moral support so if anyone else wants in let me know.

And let me know if you have a public holiday gift list. I’d love to take a look.

Shadows Progress

This post is mostly going to be about Shadows, but I don’t have a Shadows-y picture to put up there, so I went with one of the images the amazing Darek Zabrocki sent me when he was working on the cover for Lost and Found. This image came pretty near the end of the process so, as you can see, it’s quite a bit like the end result — just with a fewer details. Still, one thing this version has that the end one doesn’t is that little bird in the tree. I love that bird. The cover works better without it, but I don’t mind telling you I was sad to see it go.

So, I’m working on Shadows. What will be the final draft until I have either an agent or an editor to help me apply the final layer of polish. It’s going very well. I started writing this draft longhand in February and finished it in June (I think). I did a workshop in early spring that meant I had to send stuff in for critique, so I broke my rule about letting my work rest a few months before revising for the first few chapters, but once the workshop was over, I shoved those critiques back into a drawer to mellow along with the rest of the draft. That was a good choice. Feedback I’d thought was frivolous or just plain wrong looks very sound and insightful once you give it a few months distance. Also, the story which I’d had personal issues with, is stronger than I’d remembered.

So, yay!

I’m revising as I transcribe from my notebooks onto my computers. It’s been interesting. I think years of NaNoWriMo combined with my natural inclination toward wordiness have taught me some bad habits — or maybe it’s just that the draft I’m transcribing was a fresh draft. A second first draft, as I like to call it, so I can expect some… badness. Still I laughed as I revised “…drew a smile on her lips.” to “She smiled”. Then I opened up a new Word document to track some of the best/worst examples of my wordy-ass (and just plain awkward) writing. Allow me to share πŸ™‚

drew a smile on her lips –> she smiled
for having not been paying attention –> for not paying attention
The liquor seemed to have done more than loosen his tongue, it had given it wings -> The liquor hadn’t just loosened his tongue, it had given it wings. -> The liquor had given his tongue wings.
The smile that filled her face –> Colby’s smile
He paused, looking around him –> he paused, looking around
as he began to clear a spot –> he cleared a spot
I’m hoping the THING would be able to help make… –> I hope the THING will make…

There are several other examples already but I can’t share them without context or risk of spoilers. As much as some of these make me roll my eyes at myself a little bit, I’m actually really excited by my ability to notice them in my own work and revise them out. That feels like growth to me. Progress. And in this case, progress is good.

Right now I’m estimating that this book is going to finish up about 65k words. That’s a little shorter than I wanted, but it’s still a decent word count for a YA fantasy novel, and best of all, the plot is much stronger in this version than any of its predecessors.

I’m currently at 10,737 words transcribed and revised. Whoot!

As for NovPad… I’m um. Behind. A lot behind. My poem for day four turned into a short story. I’m hoping to make some progress toward catching up today, but I’d planned that yesterday too and it didn’t happen. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Paint and Music and Love. Oh my!

Today is my anniversary. Another year spent married to this guy. This is Jo. Jo rocks. We’ve been together for just over ten years now, married for seven of them. I love him more today than I did a decade ago and if I were to imagine my life without him it would be a dismal thing indeed.

He’s got his game face on in this picture — we were in the lab and he was pouring things into test tubes for me to photograph. He’s cool like that.

*Insert some sort of clever segue here between anniversaries and music*

Today I’ve got a guest blog over at Beth Cato’s blog. It’s all about music and stories. Check it out πŸ™‚ Once you’ve read my blog post poke around Beth’s site a bit more. I’m the third guest blogger she’s had there recently talking about music. Also, she’s just kinda awesome.

*Insert one more clever segue*

I’m working on a collaborative project with Jennythe_reader. We hooked up via 2xCreative (which I’ve mentioned before here). We’re actually doing a couple projects together. For the first, I sent her a poem I’d written and she is writing it out all pretty-like and then embellishing the paper. I don’t think my description does it justice, but you can hear her talk about it a little bit here. Anyway, I kind of wanted to do something more. Partly because my time investment was pretty small this month (I already had the poem written and only had to send it to her) and also partly because I wanted to do something different. Whenever I work on a collaborative project I provide words in some form or another. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, but Jenny, well, Jenny is a fabric artist. It just so happens that I paint fabric. How could we not do something that combined those talents?

I dug out my fabric painting stuff from where it was tucked into a corner of the basement and painted three pieces. I will be popping these into the mail to Jenny this week and I’ll keep you updated about what she creates with them. I can’t wait to see!

Β 

In other, writing-related news, though I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year, I am doing the November Poem-a-Day challenge. My theme is going to be ‘Classic Horror’ with a focus (I hope) on ghosts.

I’ve also begun transcribing and revising Shadows. Right now I’m only working on the revision part (the first couple chapters were already transcribed), and I’m 4,785 words in. I’d love to use a word count meter of some sort here, but that’s tricky when you don’t know how many words you’re going to end up with LOL I think my last estimate was about 70k but at this point, it’s all a big question mark.

Finally, did I mention that it’s my anniversary? Happy Halloween everyone and Jo, I love you.

Building a Reputation

Pictures! Just cause. I took these at Jo’s work a couple weekends ago:

So, I need to write a blog entry this week, but I haven’t got the time. My solution? This is an essay I wrote for school. I’m going to share it in lieu of actually writing something fresh. I apologise, but it seems kind of appropriate because last week I edited a blog entry and handed it in as an essay for the same course LOL

Building a Reputation

So, you want to be a writer. I’ve got some bad news for youβ€”getting published is easy, the tricky part to building a writing career is developing your reputation. Remember, you’re not just selling a story, you’re selling an idea about who you are. Each publication is a brick in the wall that will grow to become your brand and represent you as an author and the mortar between those bricks is your reputation.

Not only do you need to build a reputation with readers, but you will find that establishing one with editors will also affect your career. Every communication you have with an editor will flavor their impression of you. It’s important to set the tone of your future relationship in your very first email to a new editor. Make sure they know you aren’t doing anything as demeaning as submitting your work for consideration, rather you are offering them the use of it. Emphasize that you are doing this as a personal favor to them because your work is vastly superior to everything else they have published to date (even your mother thinks so, and she doesn’t usually read the genre you write in).

For example, it’s good to note that what is expected in professional correspondence is always changing. β€œDear Mr. (or Ms.) Editor” may have been the traditional way to begin correspondence once upon a time but nowadays with the widespread use of email and texting, it is perfectly acceptable to start your email without a salutation. You may also skip the complimentary closing. Why bother with obsolete niceties? They take precious seconds out of your day.

If you do decide to include a salutation and address the editor by name, it doesn’t actually matter if you spell their name correctly, so long as they can figure out who you meant. Gender, also, doesn’t matter. If you address a letter to Mr. Doe and then discover they are actually Ms. Doe, at least you got the last name correct. In baseball batting .500 is fantastic. The same applies in publishing. Likewise, while it’s good to mention the name of the publication when you submit or query, if it has any unusual spellings, feel free to ignore them or, better yet point out the editor’s mistake in choosing to spell their magazine or publishing house the way they have.

You don’t need to bother making sure your work fits the genre of the publication you’re offering it to because it is so well-written any editor worth their salt will be happy to publish it regardless. If you happen to find an editor who isn’t willing to accept it because it “doesn’t fit their market” they obviously don’t know what they are talking about. Make sure you reply to their rejection letter and tell them so as emphatically as possible.

What’s more, don’t worry about following the editor’s guidelines for formatting submissions. You’ve formatted your story the way you have for a reason and they are called submission guidelines, which means they are more like suggestions than rules. On a related note, don’t worry about fixing typos or revising before you send your work in. That is the editor’s job. If you made it perfect before you sent it to them, what would they do to earn their pay cheques?

Finally, unless you want to be known as a pushover, once editing on your piece has begun it is vital you make sure the editor knows this is not an equal partnership. You are the boss. Make them fight for every comma they want to alter and absolutely refuse to budge on changing anything bigger than a single word or punctuation mark. It’s at this stage that phrases like “That’s my personal writing style” will serve you very well.

You can’t let editors mess around with your work or your style will be changed until it’s unrecognizable. Editors may say things like “This will make for a stronger story” or “But it’s nonsensical when it’s written this way” but don’t believe them. They aren’t trying to help you improve your work, they are dumbing it down and making it like everyone else’s.

You are not like everyone else. You are unique, special; like a snowflake. When you stick up for yourself, people, both readers and editors, will respect you. Don’t let yourself get pushed around and remember that no matter how many years of experience an editor has, when it comes to your work, you are the authority.

By following these tips you’re guaranteed to make an impression on the editors who work for you. That’s what you want, for people, editors and readers alike, to have an instant visceral reaction when they hear your name. That is what will help bind your work together and build a career, brick by brick, that will be beyond compare.

My grade, in case you are curious (and who wouldn’t be?) was 70% because my teacher couldn’t tell if I was being sincere in my advice or not. My original draft made mention about how editors talk to one another and compare notes, maybe I ought to have left that in to help clarify my position. Oh well. Next time I’ll make my tone a little more obviously sarcastic πŸ˜‰

Also, in case you’re curious. Yes. Every example up there has happened to me when I’m wearing my Editor hat.

Lastly, in writing-related news, I have a couple zombie apocalypse poems up at Dark Chaos this week.