Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dealing with Rejection

Yup, that's right. My story was rejected.

To be honest, I have been talking to people about this submission in this way. "So I submitted a story to be published. When it gets rejected from them, I will submit another story, and submit Periculum to another publisher."

My daughter asked me why I was being pessimistic. I explained to her that it would be truly amazing if; the very first story that I ever submit, to the very first publisher that I submit it to, would then publish it. It would have been great. But it would have just been incredible and unbelievable.

So I have started a spreadsheet of on-line publishers that take short stories from unpublished authors. And if I work at this. I can have a dozen different stories submitted to various publishers at the same time before the year ends.

And then that gives me the potential to get a dozen rejections at the same time as well. But that is okay too.

First off, I haven't been trying to get published for very long, so there is no way that I don't have quite a few rejections coming. And Second, this whole thing is an experiment to see if I can apply statistical probability to short story publishing.

I won't insult anyone by claiming not to have emotional reactions. I had a pang of sadness reading the automated rejection email. And I had some trouble concentrating on writing for a day or so. I wanted to re-read "Periculum" and see if I could figure out what might have been wrong.

But I have a great new idea that I am working on now. "Legend of Trees" is turning into something fun to write. I am just about finished with my time travel story, "Given Enough Time." And in between, I wrote a really short short story about "Schrodinger's Cat."

One of these lucky stories will be my next submission to Strange Horizons this month, and I plan to submit "Periculum" to a new publisher at the same time.

So that's it. Dealing with rejection by letting your self talk a breath, and then getting back out and writing some more.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Where did you come up with the idea for that story?

I read the other day, that this is a common question that authors get when doing interviews or question and answer posts and etc. And let me say, that I look forward to the day that someone asks me this question.

I remember Gary Larson answering the question about his comic strips. He wondered if people imagined that he climbed up into his attic and secretly opened a trunk stuffed full of cartoon ideas. That's not how it works. There is no secret, trunk or otherwise.

I have a hundreds of ideas for stories every day. I don't have time to even write them all down. If I did nothing but write down ideas, I would never have time to write anything else, and maybe not even time to write them all.

In fact as I write down one idea, it spawns two or three other ideas. (I would love to find a business where I could sell these ideas. Even at a few pennies apiece, I would quickly become a rich man.)

I will be the first to admin that many of these ideas are bad ideas. And others are ideas that have been written over and over by other authors.

From the ideas that are not already covered by others, and that are not bad ideas, kick around my head for a few days, weeks, months or years. And they collect other ideas. At whatever rate of progress eventually these good ideas organize a gang of other ideas and demand to be written.

At that point I write them down. I work on them. I stay up for hours at night to get the first draft out of my head, and onto pages. Sometimes they continue to build momentum. Most time they rest for a while before getting polished and finished.

There, that is where I get my ideas.

Now, I just had an idea for a new story about a guy with a magic box that I have to go write down, so I have to go now.