Disperser, Week Fourteen – Incredible

by disperser

Incredible!!  . . . it my time to post again . . .

Where did the week go?  Oh yeah; holiday, processing photos, doing a couple of posts, reading, spending time with my wife . . . everything but writing.

Or rather, everything but fiction writing.  Whenever I sat down to write, something distracted me.  I’m not much for omens, portents, or for finding deep-seated meanings in my actions.  Basically, the lure of writing was not strong enough to overcome getting up , going to make a tea (or coffee), getting a snack, or have something else (anything else) capturing my interest.

What to do?!?  Well . . . did you guys know I submitted a story once?  Yes, once.  One story, one submission, to a single place.  I got me a single rejection.

This was a few years ago.  Maybe, multiple few years ago.  I sent it to Analog, and got back a rejection letter.  I should say . . . I got back a rejection form.  No explanation as to the why.  “Sorry, not interested” is all it said.  OK, I slightly paraphrased.

It was more along the lines of “Thank you for submitting this piece of cr . . . your story, but the workings of the universe conspired to keep your submission . . . unfortunately at this time we are not accepting puny offerings . . . have no use for old, trite, ideas poorly written respectfully decline.”

I don’t mind rejection.  But I would have liked to know the “why“.  I never sent the story out again.  Worse yet, I had a sequel written while I waited to hear about the submission, and thinking I might expand it to a novel.  Had even started in on the third segment . . . then stopped when I heard back from Analog.

Do I sound whiny?  I don’t mean to.  I had little hope for the piece to begin with; it wears hand-me-down clothes, of no set fashion.  But I would have appreciated knowing the “why”.   One of the most difficult things for a writer to get? . . .  an honest indication of their skill or potential. 

Let me rephrase it, because I don’t mean to imply people lie.   What I mean is that it’s difficult to get a professional opinion of one’s skill or potential.

On the one hand, editors, agents, and even other writers are people . . . and people have differing tastes.  Besides, if multitudes of people like what you write, then the opinion of even the most exalted professional don’t mean beans.

On the other hand, if you are not widely read, opinions of people in the business are valued. 

I took the form letter as meaning “Why did you even bother!

I concluded that it was so bad, or aspects of it were so bad, that it was not even worth commenting on.  I could picture the slush pile reader pulling the printed manuscript halfway out of the envelope, reading the first few paragraphs, taking a slug of whiskey, rolling his (her?) eyes, and showing the manuscript back down into the envelope along with the equivalent of a Dear John letter.

I think I went a year or more without writing.  No, I was not dejected.  I just did not know what part of writing I should work on.  And, of course. I had a shi . . . cra . . . lot of other interests satisfying my creative urges.

To be fair, everyone gets rejected at some point or other, even if famous.  That thing about editors being people?  One should submit once, twice, then resubmit again, then again yet, until one of them says “Yo, I’ll publish this.”  It might take hundreds of submission until you hit the one person in which your story strikes a chord.  In the interim, you keep writing. 

Or so the experts say.

Here’s the thing; while I was not writing . . . I think I got better.  NO, NO . . . not good enough to submit anything, but good enough to offer up my writing for people to chance upon them.  Were I to take a shot at self-analysis, I gave up on any notion of grandeur (writing grandeur, that is), and just wrote for fun.  But whatever the reason, it seemed to me I got better.

Or did I?  Perhaps I’m still as crappy as I was when I wrote “The Guardians“.  Gosh, I sure hope not!


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