Five Minute Rant

Specifics about craft, talent, technique, etc.
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Martin L. Shoemaker
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sat Apr 21, 2012 9:04 am

Kary James wrote:Mid-April, they said. Mid, meaning the middle of, not "late," meaning the end of. I have been waiting. Dutifully. Loyally. Painfully. This is the last market I wanted to try for this story before pulling the Amazon trigger.

I don't know how much longer I can wait, so today, I am preparing my ms. for Kindle formatting.


My advice, for what it's worth: prepare it, but don't pull the trigger yet. Give them to next weekend (whoever they are). My definition of "mid" is just a bit tolerant.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Rebecca Birch » Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:56 am

My turn for a Duotrope rant! I've been trying to cut down a 3,350 word story for Penumbra's Native American Folklore issue,because Duotrope listed the word count as between 1,000 and 3,000 words. Just read the specific guidelines again on the Penumbra site. Top length is 3,500 words!

Ack!

The good news is that I think the 250 words I'd managed to cut probably strengthen the story, and that I don't have to fight the last hundred that really didn't want to come out, but I wish I'd looked more carefully at the site's guidelines earlier. There would be less panic involved.

So, the good news is, YAY, I'm submitting something today.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:11 pm

I'm taking a rant time-out, because I have a thought on these Duotrope length issues.

Ultimately, it's our responsibility to read the guidelines, because Duotrope might be wrong. We all know that.

So in essence, all that length filter does is prevent us from seeing markets that might accept our stories. If it wrongly rejects a market, we might never know; but if it wrongly lists a market, it's up to us to verify our story fits the guidelines.

Now you can always clear that Length field when searching. It works just fine. I will now try to remember to do that, and I recommend the same to you.

I have also made a suggestion to the Duotroopers that they add an Ignore Length Limit checkbox as one of the search parameters that you can save. That way you would no longer have to remember to clear the field.

OK, we now resume our usual ranting...
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Rebecca Birch » Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:18 pm

I'm in agreement with you, Martin.

Also, I'm glad you'd mentioned your discovery as well, because it jogged me to think, "Hey, maybe I should go check the market to be sure..."

This is definitely a learning thing for me.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Tue Apr 24, 2012 6:28 am

And this is why Duotrope is awesome, and why I send them money every year for their free service:

Hello Martin

Thank you for contacting us. The issue with word lengths is something of which we are aware and working to improve.

Best Wishes,

J.E. - one of the Duotroopers (admin team) http://www.duotrope.com


They listen!
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby morshana » Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:06 am

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:And this is why Duotrope is awesome, and why I send them money every year for their free service:

Hello Martin

Thank you for contacting us. The issue with word lengths is something of which we are aware and working to improve.

Best Wishes,

J.E. - one of the Duotroopers (admin team) http://www.duotrope.com


They listen!


Awesome. =)
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby WriteToLive » Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:32 pm

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:I'm taking a rant time-out, because I have a thought on these Duotrope length issues.

Ultimately, it's our responsibility to read the guidelines, because Duotrope might be wrong. We all know that.

So in essence, all that length filter does is prevent us from seeing markets that might accept our stories. If it wrongly rejects a market, we might never know; but if it wrongly lists a market, it's up to us to verify our story fits the guidelines.

Now you can always clear that Length field when searching. It works just fine. I will now try to remember to do that, and I recommend the same to you.

I have also made a suggestion to the Duotroopers that they add an Ignore Length Limit checkbox as one of the search parameters that you can save. That way you would no longer have to remember to clear the field.

OK, we now resume our usual ranting...


I typically don't search with this on only because of that reason. Since some places say "up to 6000 words," that means my flash peace of 600 words can go there. But, if I search for flash, it may not show up.

I would love to donate money to them, but right now I am tight with trying to get my bills paid off and the wedding next year. But, yes, I agree, they are a great service and they do listen.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby dantzel » Sun Apr 29, 2012 4:19 pm

Okay, I've tried to keep my mind occupied with the three stories I've completed, edited, and sent out to various markets as well as the two stories I'm currently working on (and the novel which is taking a 6 week hiatus for me figure out some inconsistencies as well as to do all this other stuff - along with the crap that happened in my life last month), but my IGMS story just keeps making me itchy!!

It's at 83 days - finally - so I can query in a week to confirm that my email worked and everything's good, but goodness! I'm as productive as I can be to ignore it, but the heart can't take much more!
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Fobok1 » Sun Apr 29, 2012 4:56 pm

Oh, yeah, I hate how IGMS doesn't even do a confirmation they received your story. Every other pro market I've submitted to has, (except AE, which I *hope* has one of my stories right now). At least when I submitted to IGMS, I heard back (a rejection, though) after 32 days. I can't imagine how nuts I'd be going after 83 days.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby dantzel » Thu May 03, 2012 9:32 pm

Two rants in a row for me, apparently...

So, you know how you have an awesome idea, and somewhat realized characters and setting, but realize that you don't have ANOTHER awesome idea that will pair really well with your first one? Yeah... that's been me for this whole week. I totally had it for a story this week - I put two of my 'someday' ideas together and the sparks flew! I pounded out a cool story for the PARSEC contest and submitted JUST in time, but didn't have time to edit. Not an ideal situation, but whatever. Maybe I'll have a Jay Lake moment, or maybe I get my story back in June and clean it up. Anyway. So then I moved to my idea for Mirror Shards - which SLIGHTLY crept up on me - and realized that there's something about the story I haven't realized, so I don't know what to write. wotf005

Which totally bums me out because I'm really excited about everything else I have going for the story, I just don't have... something. There's some Chinese characters in my plan, so I looked for inspiration from some Chinese history and philosopies - nothing. I kept trying to write through it but my brain was blank. So unless inspiration strikes in the next 23 hours, I don't have a Mirror Shards submission like I thought I would. wotf23

It almost seems worse having had another story come together so well just days ago. :P
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Jess » Thu May 03, 2012 10:40 pm

Hey, it could be worse. I felt like my next quarter's entry was 99% finished, then my computer went kaput, and in the week and a half while I was waiting to get the new one, I realized what was bugging me about it, and now I'm in the process of reworking/rewriting about three quarters of it. I hate doing major surgery on existing work. I always feel like it drags along soooo slowly.

The good news is, I love the beginning and end of the story, and the storyline itself doesn't need any major changes. It just has all the wrong guts.

Oh well. Back to the word mine. Or to bed, perhaps. It seems to be 2:40am.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby dantzel » Fri May 04, 2012 5:39 am

Ha, but I don't have a story to fix :) I think I'd prefer "Overhaul the story" to "Think! Think, darn you! Why won't you think!"
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Patrick S. McGinnity » Fri May 04, 2012 6:39 am

I just looked up "Augmented Reality" on Wikipedia to see if I have anything in my trunk or brain that might be worth submitting. Nope. I can recall some good stories I've read that might count, but it isn't in my imaginative toolbox. I guess I just don't get science fiction kind of ideas. Oh well.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby dantzel » Fri May 04, 2012 6:50 am

I feel like I get spurts of science fiction ideas, and spurts of fantasy ideas... I think part of it has to do with what I'm trying to think about at the moment.

Of the 7 stories I have deemed decent enough to try submitting places, I'd say 3 1/2 of them are fantasy, and 3 1/2 of them are science fiction. That 7th story, the one I wrote for the PARSEC contest.... it's somewhere in between. Slipstream, maybe?

Along these same lines, I wanted to write fantasy for most of my life, but when, around age 21, I REALLY started writing actual stories (besides the standard Terry Brooks knockoff idea in 8th grade), I found myself writing mostly science fiction stories. wotf021 But then my first novel (which I'm currently working on) is middle-grade fantasy. wotf017
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Patrick S. McGinnity » Fri May 04, 2012 7:04 am

Understood. I occasionally read science fiction, but rarely the spacecraft kind. I think my problem is that technology often bugs me, and anything I wrote about it would be really pessimistic. I don't keep up with the latest science or technological breakthroughs, and I loathe a lot of the gadgets many people seem to find indispensable. I guess I'm sort of a Luddite in that way.

Historical technology, however, intrigues me (the steam age for instance), and I find myself better able to write stories about people when the technology is less "modern."

I also dig truly fantasy technologies (like Meiville's chaos engine, which is powered by the potential for chaos in something about to be broken) and straight-up fantasy without technology.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Dustin Adams » Fri May 04, 2012 9:59 am

Patrick,

What about something dystopian?
Technology is wiped out by an EMP, or Cern blows up, or solar flares.
We've lost tech. Would we start over Atari 2600 style? Would we, with the knowledge, build back to where we are now? If so, how long would it take, and would other countries, seeing an opportunity to become equal, rise?
Focus on one or two characters in that mess and you might have a story without tech.

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby dantzel » Fri May 04, 2012 11:39 am

Hey! Some of mine are dystopic too! I've written several about either a future technology with possible negative consequences (such as a 'dream machine' that gets stuck pulling only your violent/wild fantasies), as well as things that bug me now, like Walmart. I hate Walmart. SO MUCH. Of course, my 'Finding Love In the World of Walmart' story is very, very broken, and is not allowed into daylight until I've fixed some major issues with it. Number One, less crappy prose. Number Two, more action, more character motivation, more realistic reactions... Speaking of which, maybe I should work on this one and let my augmented reality story simmer for awhile until I find the magic ingredient...

Dustin, would you mind looking at a BAD story from two or three years ago and helping it see the light? (in place of the aug piece that can't stand up yet, which was planned to be for Mirror Shards first, and Q3 in the likelihood it would be rejected)
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Dustin Adams » Fri May 04, 2012 12:03 pm

Dustin, would you mind looking at a BAD story


If it has to do with Michael Jackson... No.

I'll PM you.

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Fri May 11, 2012 7:57 am

Rant! Rant! Rant!

Buzzy Mag just form-rejected my Mars story. Pfooey on them!

OK, off to Duotrope!
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby E.CaimanSands » Fri May 11, 2012 9:25 am

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:Rant! Rant! Rant!

Buzzy Mag just form-rejected my Mars story. Pfooey on them!

OK, off to Duotrope!


Hmm, my Mars story is there too. Maybe they are just inundated with Mars stories. wotf017
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Fri May 11, 2012 10:26 am

E.CaimanSands wrote:
Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:Rant! Rant! Rant!

Buzzy Mag just form-rejected my Mars story. Pfooey on them!

OK, off to Duotrope!


Hmm, my Mars story is there too. Maybe they are just inundated with Mars stories. wotf017


Could be. But I'm over it already. I always intended this one as an Analog story; but when I had it finished, I had two in the queue already at Analog. Now that I'm back down to one (210 days and counting... Patience... Patience... Patience...), I'll send this one off to its proper home.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Mon May 14, 2012 1:49 am

And another rant, but I can't get too ranty about it: BayCon held my story right to the last possible minute, but then sent a very nice personal rejection.

Rant! Rant!

Off to Duotrope!
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby dantzel » Tue May 15, 2012 11:45 am

You can do multiple submissions at Analog???
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Tue May 15, 2012 11:57 am

dantzel wrote:You can do multiple submissions at Analog???


Their guidelines don't say not to. And I have it on very good authority that a certain BFT has been known to submit a second story when a first one has been in the queue for a while, and it doesn't seem to be hurting him there any. Their guidelines prohibit simsubs, but not multisubs. (I think that's true of Asimov's as well.)
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby dantzel » Tue May 15, 2012 12:19 pm

... Interesting, very interesting...
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sat May 19, 2012 11:30 am

Rant! Rant! Rant! IGMS just rejected my time travel story.

And an extra Rant! They rejected it on a Saturday. Why does that make it worse? Because Saturday is my deadline day: all stories must be out to markets on Saturday. So now I have to run a search I didn't expect.

Rant! Rant! Rant!

Oh, well, off to Duotrope!
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby LDWriter2 » Sat May 19, 2012 1:59 pm

Interesting idea, that's one reason I put up a blog to vent and/or rant at times. I know sometimes I feel that way. Sometimes I just shrug and begin thinking about where to send the story next and what other stories need to go out but sometimes...

That's an interesting UML model but part of it is covered up by your list of what you wrote, I just checked on it.

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sat May 19, 2012 2:05 pm

LDWriter2 wrote:That's an interesting UML model but part of it is covered up by your list of what you wrote, I just checked on it.


Thanks, Louis! I'm still learning the tricks of WordPress CSS formatting, so I'll have to take another look at that.

There are more posts coming in that series, but I get an error when I try to post them. Haven't figured it out yet.

UPDATE: I should also note that many of the images on my blog -- including the one you're looking at, I think -- can be clicked to display them as a separate page.
Last edited by Martin L. Shoemaker on Sat May 19, 2012 4:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby dantzel » Sat May 19, 2012 4:10 pm

... aren't you going to rant about it?
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sat May 19, 2012 4:46 pm

dantzel wrote:... aren't you going to rant about it?


I've been a programmer for nearly 30 years (more if you count programming as a student). Generally when it comes to software issues, if I can't work it out, I assume it's because I'm not trying hard enough. So it's not something I'll rant about until I KNOW I'm doing everything right. The first step of maturity as a programmer is, "Assume it's your own fault. When you can PROVE it's not your code, THEN look for other causes." I don't rant when I assume it's my fault.

In this case, problem 1 is a CSS issue, and I only started learning CSS in January. So I expect a learning curve. I KNOW that one's strictly due to my inexperience.

Problem 2 is trickier; but if I update WordPress and LiveWriter, I'm hoping I can resolve it. Or I can copy and paste from LiveWriter into WordPress. That works as a workaround, but it still doesn't explain why certain LiveWriter posts are working and others are failing.
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WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!
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