Rejection–Oh, the humanity.

While editing the first draft of my novel, I thought I’d try to sell a stand-alone portion of an early chapter. I edited the story, about 3,800 words in length, and submitted it to a sci-fi-fantasy magazine I read and thought would be appropriate. It was my first attempt at submitting my work and was done electronically.

After a couple of weeks, I received a reply–my first rejection. Well, the first rejection of something I’d written and tried to sell. How dare the editor reject my perfect prose–of course, I’d already re-written some of it during those two weeks, just in case I’d have to try to sell it to someone else and to make it fit better in the novel.

In full the note from the editor read: Thank you for letting me read “Impossible Answer.” There’s some good writing here but overall the story just didn’t grab me so I’m going to pass on it. I wish you best of luck finding the right market for it, and I hope to see more stories from you in the future.

Writing; no we don't think so--not on our lap. (Siamese cats)
Writing; no we don’t think so–not on our lap.

As disappointed and heartbroken as I was, I sent the story, the revised version, off to another sci-fi-fantasy magazine via electronic submission that afternoon. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, but I’m not holding my breath.

At this particular instant in time, I’m quite happy that I’m retired with a good pension and rejection doesn’t mean I don’t eat this week.

I am currently “working” on editing the novel, plotting a sequel and writing a novella/novel based on an idea of my wife’s.

The cats, Mist and Smoke, are not, however, always supportive of my work habits.

Reading is OK, but we still get the lap. (Siamese cats)
Reading is OK, but we still get the lap.

The last two weeks

The last two weeks were very eventful for Charlie and I (me, us).

After thirty-some years in junior high, she decided to retire. It was a matter of circumstance rather than preferred choice–she’d rather have retired at the end of the school year in June, but that was not to be.

Mist & Smoke Window (Siamese cats)
Mist & Smoke Window

We’re going to have a retirement party for her at the end of the month.

The best thing about this is no more commuting back and forth to her school everyday. (Yeah, but I still wake up early every morning as though she still goes to work.) We still have to go back to her classroom and bring home the things she wants to keep. (What? You really think the school provides all of the supplies teachers need to teach? When did you fall of the turnip truck?)

I finally finished my first novel (first draft). My goal was to tell my story in about 100,000 words. Yeah!

Mist & Smoke Blanket (Siamese cats)
Mist & Smoke Blanket

When I taught history (and other subjects), I often told stories. I would allot myself five or ten minutes for the story in my lesson plans. Hah! I never did figure out that each story told itself–in however many minutes it decided it needed. Give it five, and it took ten. Give it ten, and it took twenty-five.

Stories have a life of their own. They don’t limit themselves the way we try to limit them. The story tells itself in its own good time.

So it was with this story. I aimed for twenty chapters and 100,000 words. The story decided it needed twenty-six chapters and 120,000 words.

Who am I to argue with the story?

There were a couple of stories within the larger story that I thought could stand on their own. I took one of them and re-wrote small sections of it. I submitted it for publication in a sci/fi/fant periodical. Will I get it published? Don’t know, but I’m trying. If I do sell it, it’ll be my first sale–I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Finished my first edit of the novel yesterday and found a number of stupid errors. Corrected most of my errors dealing with punctuation of dialog–NO, I don’t remember learning it in school, but, assuming I did, I forgot an awful lot of it.

I did find some good sites about how to do it, however.


Now to print out the five hundred pages and do some real editing.

Hmmm . . . wonder why it’s easier to find errors in printouts than on the screen?