Tuesday, March 2, 2010


After a reasonable start to the writing year the sometimes less than reasonable realities of the writing business have begun to manifest themselves once again.

More accurately, I’ve had a bunch of stories rejected in the past few days.

Getting knocked back from a market is never easy and it tends to be one of those things that makes you want to kick stuff around the room, especially if you have a fondness for the story or stories in question. (I have a fondness for all my stories, it must be said, but some more than others.)

On the plus side, it does mean that I now have come stories to submit elsewhere. On the negative side it does mean going through the whole process of waiting, hoping and generally checking my inbox every five minutes.

While the business of rejection is part and parcel of every writer’s life and while I know on an intellectual level that rejection isn’t necessarily to do with the quality of the work (at least that’s what I tell myself) it’s never easy.

I think it was Brian Stableford who pointed out that a story rejection is somewhere on a par with being told that your child is ugly, after all you have done your best to make sure that the story leaves the house in its best clothes with its hands and face freshly scrubbed and has a positive mental attitude towards the world outside (and clean underwear in case of an accident).

In practical writing terms this means that you’ve written the best story you possibly can with the original idea and material, your grammar is up to scratch, your characters vivid and rounded and your imaginative world as compelling as it’s possible to be.

You’ve also researched possible markets and submitted the tale in question to the one you reckon will be most sympathetic to it.

Yet still it fails to make the grade, for whatever reason.

Hard to take sometimes.

I remain sanguine, however, and more determined than ever to crack the markets in question.

After all, sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you.

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