Five Minute Rant

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RSchibler
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby RSchibler » Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:57 am

During the move over the last three weeks I got 4 rejections from various places and then the HM. The honorable mention is the only thing keeping me going at this point, honestly. Some days I feel like I can do this if I just keep working, and some days... well, you know. My computer (and all the other furniture etc) arrives tomorrow. I’m going to get organized and then buckle down and resubmit those pieces. Thanks to Dave Farland (and my buddies here) for encouraging me to keep going!
Trying to refute entropy with words.

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby YM Pang » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:18 pm

RSchibler wrote:During the move over the last three weeks I got 4 rejections from various places and then the HM. The honorable mention is the only thing keeping me going at this point, honestly. Some days I feel like I can do this if I just keep working, and some days... well, you know. My computer (and all the other furniture etc) arrives tomorrow. I’m going to get organized and then buckle down and resubmit those pieces. Thanks to Dave Farland (and my buddies here) for encouraging me to keep going!

I know the feeling. Back in 2009, when KD gave me an HM for my first ever submission... It felt like validation, like I was actually a writer and not some silly teenager scribbling weird things.

Of course, I'm a little more demanding of myself (and my contest results) these days, but even so getting an HM for Q1 felt much better than just getting an R. (Among the other seven rejections, one was a really nice "Not for me but good luck with this story" personal rejection. The rest, unfortunately, were forms).

michaeljwyantjr wrote:Yep. I'm one of the Rs there... that one came in today.

R from Fireside too, right here.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby disgruntledpeony » Mon Apr 30, 2018 6:22 pm

michaeljwyantjr wrote:
MattDovey wrote:*case in point: Fireside opened for five days last week. Checking the Subs Grinder, which anecdotally captures about 10-20% of all subs made, they got at least 900 stories in those five days. WHAT.


Yep. I'm one of the Rs there... that one came in today.

Why do they always come in bunches? wotf027


In my case, at least, It's probably because I send them in bunches. wotf019 I used to jump on the computer as soon as I got a rejection and send it somewhere else, but I don't always have time for that these days, so I'll usually end up collecting and then sending out again about three at a time. (Honestly, some of my stories are probably ready for retirement, but I am stubborn and keep trying to find markets for them.)
If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. ~ Mark Twain
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby LDWriter2 » Tue May 01, 2018 6:46 pm

[quote="YM Pang"]

It worked at one time. And it is only the web site the company that owns those four magazines uses, that is the problem.
Working on turning Lead into Gold.

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby vjalrik » Tue May 01, 2018 7:19 pm

disgruntledpeony wrote:In my case, at least, It's probably because I send them in bunches. wotf019 I used to jump on the computer as soon as I got a rejection and send it somewhere else, but I don't always have time for that these days, so I'll usually end up collecting and then sending out again about three at a time. (Honestly, some of my stories are probably ready for retirement, but I am stubborn and keep trying to find markets for them.)

This is me exactly! All at once or not at all. I've definitely got some stories that are probably better off in the "not at all" pile, but then I get them back out after a while and think, these aren't so bad....
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby YM Pang » Wed May 02, 2018 4:24 pm

Should not have grumbled about 8 rejections in 5 days. Writing gods aren't happy. It's now become 12 rejections in 7 days.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby amoskalik » Thu May 03, 2018 5:11 am

YM Pang wrote:Should not have grumbled about 8 rejections in 5 days. Writing gods aren't happy. It's now become 12 rejections in 7 days.


Yikes! I have 6 Rs in 6 days going right now...
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby LDWriter2 » Fri May 04, 2018 7:00 pm

amoskalik wrote:
YM Pang wrote:Should not have grumbled about 8 rejections in 5 days. Writing gods aren't happy. It's now become 12 rejections in 7 days.


Yikes! I have 6 Rs in 6 days going right now...



Used to be my numbers but I have gotten so much out of the habit of sending in stories. I am doing good to get one rejection every three months, of course the other day it was two. Now soon it will be two again-maybe three. I still want to send a normal length one to Analog though. Speaking of that anyone know a good mystery mag that isn't Hitchcock or Ellery Queen's.
Working on turning Lead into Gold.

Four HMs From WotF
The latest was Q1'12
HM-quarter 4 Volume 32
One HM for another contest
published in Strange New Worlds Ten.
Another HM http://onthepremises.com/minis/mini_18.html

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby kentagions » Sun May 06, 2018 5:39 pm

Hot and Cold

Has anyone played that kid's game? Kid One hides an object somewhere in a room and Kid Two tries to find it. Kid One calls out, "You're getting hotter" as Kid Two approaches the object and, "You're getting colder" as Kid Two moves farther from it. The point is for Kid One to honestly instruct Kid Two to quickly find the object.

Dear editors,
Please play the Hot and Cold game with my work. You don't have time to give me a personal rejection, but you don't want to look at random crap from me while I guess what you might want; no matter how well educated my guesses might be. And it takes less time than placating vagueries. 'Cold' at the top of a rejection email is information while 'Not quite what we're looking for' makes my hemorrhoids itch. 'Warmer,' for God's sake, I'd kill for 'warmer.' 'Hot' would make my heart all a-twitter, and it would benefit you because you'd receive subsequent stories of higher quality.

I want everyone on board with this, all genres, all markets. Hot and Cold. Minimum effort for maximum return. Do it now. Please begin tomorrow, Monday morning, May 7, 2018.

Best of luck discovering that next winner,
Kent

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby RSchibler » Sun May 06, 2018 5:45 pm

Warmer!
Colder!
I’m on board with this.
Trying to refute entropy with words.

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby amyhg » Sun May 06, 2018 6:13 pm

kentagions wrote:Hot and Cold


I second that suggestion. I got two rejections while I was at the WOTF workshop. Nothing like an ego-check amidst all the high-fives and glam. But the workshop definitely made it clear to me how personal the selection process is for editors. It's not about the sub-genre or mature content or writing style--that's all just to get into the editor's hands. The actual acceptance comes down to the editor's life. What topics is he or she interested in? Does your story resonate with his or her life experiences? Did you catch them in the right mood?

Realizing that was both frustrating and comforting. I hate that the process is SO subjective. However, it does give me hope for other markets.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby amoskalik » Mon May 07, 2018 8:31 am

kentagions wrote:Hot and Cold

Has anyone played that kid's game? Kid One hides an object somewhere in a room and Kid Two tries to find it. Kid One calls out, "You're getting hotter" as Kid Two approaches the object and, "You're getting colder" as Kid Two moves farther from it. The point is for Kid One to honestly instruct Kid Two to quickly find the object.

Dear editors,
Please play the Hot and Cold game with my work. You don't have time to give me a personal rejection, but you don't want to look at random crap from me while I guess what you might want; no matter how well educated my guesses might be. And it takes less time than placating vagueries. 'Cold' at the top of a rejection email is information while 'Not quite what we're looking for' makes my hemorrhoids itch. 'Warmer,' for God's sake, I'd kill for 'warmer.' 'Hot' would make my heart all a-twitter, and it would benefit you because you'd receive subsequent stories of higher quality.

I want everyone on board with this, all genres, all markets. Hot and Cold. Minimum effort for maximum return. Do it now. Please begin tomorrow, Monday morning, May 7, 2018.

Best of luck discovering that next winner,
Kent


An intriguing idea. If they could actually pull it off, it would be very helpful, however, the Hot and Cold game works by relativism. "You're getting hotter."="Move more in that direction." "You're getting colder."="Reverse course." Which means they would have to remember your last story and then make a judgement as to whether this story is better or worse. Given the size of slush piles, that would be a logistical nightmare.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby kentagions » Mon May 07, 2018 1:10 pm

amoskalik wrote:
An intriguing idea. If they could actually pull it off, it would be very helpful...


Thank you, glad you agree. <Pats self on back> Got something in my eye when I saw "however."

This wouldn't be the traditional game, but more like a blind guy at the target end of a shooting range telling a blind shooter how to... Okay, maybe not the best metaphor.

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby YM Pang » Tue May 08, 2018 1:02 pm

Now, taking the crazy idea seriously for a second...

I personally would like it 'cause some feedback feels more rewarding than none. But I don't know if it'll work on a grand scale. Even putting aside the logistical nightmares, it could lead to widespread self-rejection ("This editor said 'colder' to my alien bottle cap story; this must mean I should never send them another alien bottle cap story/never even write another alien bottle cap story." When, really, the editor just didn't like your second person narration, and the alien bottle cap was the one part they connected with. Plus, you could've sold the original story with a few more subs to weird fiction markets.)

It'll be nice to know if you're getting hotter/colder. But I think a (good) writing group could do the same job. Also, tiered form rejections are fairly close to this, with the benefit of being slightly less self-rejection inducing (imo).

What I'd appreciate: a quick notification when a story gets passed along to the chief editor/held for further consideration. That way I'd know the longer wait could be good news, rather than an indication of a story lost in cyberspace!
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby michaeljwyantjr » Tue May 08, 2018 1:11 pm

To jump on this bandwagon...

There's been some discussion about using "colder" or "warmer". I think the real nugget in this discussion is the idea of getting a single status at the bottom of a form rejection like:

Proximity: Warm/Hot/Cold

This puts the comparison strictly toward what the editor is looking for rather than turning it toward your work. That has potential, I imagine.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby amoskalik » Wed May 09, 2018 8:39 am

I understand the emotional need for validation. When you get 50 nos for every yes, you begin to wonder, "are any of these at least a maybe?" But the bottom line is a "warm" is still a no, and if you were to get 50 warms in row, you'd start thinking, they just don't want me to feel bad, they don't really mean it, otherwise they'd actually buy one of these stories, right?

When you get to the submission phase of a story's life cycle, it is helpful to just think of it as a numbers game. You wrote it the best you could, so don't waste time on second guessing it. Just keep sending out until someone wants it or you feel you can do better by self publishing or you feel the story doesn't represent you well. Once you have a few dozen stories you've submitted a minimum of twenty times (or sold in less than that), then you can start analyzing which sold and to what sort of markets.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby michaeljwyantjr » Wed May 09, 2018 8:50 am

There's definitely an emotional component to it, I'd be lying if I said there isn't, but I have to imagine a lot of submissions could be improved by providing guidance to writers of any sort.

Hell, half the submission guidelines I read are five or six years old and don't match the type of work they're currently publishing when you read said works.

Anyway... I'll stop adding to this since it's becoming a topic that probably deserves its own thread.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby morganb » Wed May 09, 2018 10:19 am

I guess you know you're getting warmer when you start seeing more personal rejections...?

One of my flash stories this year made it to the final round of reviews at FFO. Suzanne Vincent sent me a personal email to tell me how close I was, which really sucked on one hand (to be THAT CLOSE and not quite make it), but was also really cool because she took the time to write me back. Then she offered to send me feedback from everyone involved in the vetting process so I could see what the staffers had to say about my story. At that level of review, they are looking for every reason to reject one story in favor of another, so most of the comments were of the "this is why I decided to pass on this story" variety.

It was a rejection, yes, but it was by far the best personal rejection I've ever received -- a full page of review notes and comments! I still haven't been able to land a story anywhere, but that was definitely a "warm...very warm..." day for me.

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby YM Pang » Thu May 10, 2018 11:35 am

Cold/Warm/Hot would be nice. But that's basically tiered form rejections, which a lot of places already have. I personally find it helpful to know if Story X was held for six months because it made it all the way to the chief editor, or if someone just opened the file, forgot to reject it, and realized it months later.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby LDWriter2 » Wed May 23, 2018 7:16 pm

I would not mind something like that. Evidently there is a lukewarm wording and a Hot setting, but nothing in-between from most editors. BCS is different with that and I have sent in stories to a couple of e-zines that also sent out a person comment with every rejection.

Lukewarm would be someway of saying "send in another story" evidently editors who say that mean it and aren't just being nice or polite. Hot would be a personal comment, especially if it says you were close.
Working on turning Lead into Gold.

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The latest was Q1'12
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby MattDovey » Thu May 24, 2018 1:28 am

LDWriter2 wrote:Lukewarm would be someway of saying "send in another story" evidently editors who say that mean it and aren't just being nice or polite. Hot would be a personal comment, especially if it says you were close.


FWIW this is what we do at PodCastle. There are 4 tiers of rejections, available to us slushers as templates:
* Tier 0, rarely deployed, is for those cases where the story was morally upsetting e.g. rape story, racist trash. It tells people to go read our guidelines again. I think I've sent one of these, ever.
* Tier 1 is a simple "no thank you". It's the bread and butter rejection.
* Tier 2 is "a lot we liked, but didn't come together, send us more". I usually use it for stories I did read to the end (less than half, tbh!) but just didn't click for whatever nebulous reason.
* Tier 3 is from the bosses only, when you got bumped and made it to the final round

Any of those might get personalised at the slusher's discretion; for my part, and this is entirely personal, I tend to write something when: it's very obvious to me (e.g. voice, too slow to open) because in all honesty I haven't got time when slushing to really dig into my feelings for why something isn't working; when I know (of) the writer, from forums/Twitter/reading previous stuff; or when the author has self-identified as marginalised in some way, because we explicitly want to encourage more diverse submissions. The latter two aren't a guarantee, though, and I've said before that sometimes the lack of a personal is a sign that there wasn't anything obviously wrong with it, and you're actually getting closer.

Other markets have similar. Analog has a "rather like your style, send more" that sometimes goes out (apparently; I've never seen it!). Charlie @ F&SF has a variety of tiers to his wording e.g. didn't grab me, didn't win me over (details on this blog post, section 6). You can sometimes find info on the Rejection Wiki.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby amoskalik » Thu May 24, 2018 6:12 am

MattDovey wrote:
LDWriter2 wrote:Lukewarm would be someway of saying "send in another story" evidently editors who say that mean it and aren't just being nice or polite. Hot would be a personal comment, especially if it says you were close.


FWIW this is what we do at PodCastle. There are 4 tiers of rejections, available to us slushers as templates:
* Tier 0, rarely deployed, is for those cases where the story was morally upsetting e.g. rape story, racist trash. It tells people to go read our guidelines again. I think I've sent one of these, ever.
* Tier 1 is a simple "no thank you". It's the bread and butter rejection.
* Tier 2 is "a lot we liked, but didn't come together, send us more". I usually use it for stories I did read to the end (less than half, tbh!) but just didn't click for whatever nebulous reason.
* Tier 3 is from the bosses only, when you got bumped and made it to the final round

Any of those might get personalised at the slusher's discretion; for my part, and this is entirely personal, I tend to write something when: it's very obvious to me (e.g. voice, too slow to open) because in all honesty I haven't got time when slushing to really dig into my feelings for why something isn't working; when I know (of) the writer, from forums/Twitter/reading previous stuff; or when the author has self-identified as marginalised in some way, because we explicitly want to encourage more diverse submissions. The latter two aren't a guarantee, though, and I've said before that sometimes the lack of a personal is a sign that there wasn't anything obviously wrong with it, and you're actually getting closer.

Other markets have similar. Analog has a "rather like your style, send more" that sometimes goes out (apparently; I've never seen it!). Charlie @ F&SF has a variety of tiers to his wording e.g. didn't grab me, didn't win me over (details on this blog post, section 6). You can sometimes find info on the Rejection Wiki.


I went back through my F&SF rejections, mostly "didn't grab me"s but I do have a number of "didn't win me over"s along with personal notes which according to that blog is his highest form letter. I also have a few "not what I'm looking for right now" which isn't listed on the blog. Anyone know where that fits into hierarchy?
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby morganb » Thu May 24, 2018 8:33 am

Oh my gosh, Matt, I can't tell you how good that blog post from Charlie made me feel this morning! I've been pretty bummed lately about my lack of success (i.e. "Still not a single pro sale...") I had never seen this post from Charlie before. I've submitted four stories to F&SF in the last several months. One of them came back "didn't grab me". But three of them . . . 75% OF THEM . . . came back with "didn't win me over". And then to see him define what that means to him: "Look, you’re probably a pro. This is a good story. You know it’s good. You’re probably going to sell it elsewhere..."

I cannot tell you how reaffirming and motivating that makes me feel. Of course, none of those stories has sold elsewhere yet, but they're making their rounds and I'm controlling what I can control.

Thank you for posting that. You totally made my day!

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby cmmg » Thu May 24, 2018 4:29 pm

The only problem is when you get something that's somehow neither of the tiered response :/. Also, doesn't he always include "I hope you'll consider submitting to us again" even for Tier 1 when he doesn't really mean it?

Alas, probably best not to think about it too much.

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Sataris » Thu May 24, 2018 4:39 pm

ohh, thanks for the details on PodCastle, Matt, that's good stuff. I love all the Escape Artist markets.

I don't have anything half as informative to say, but as for Apex: we don't generally personalize responses (at least at the first level), so don't ever let a form get you down or make you feel like you weren't close. Like Matt said, it's just a matter of time management: we're almost always open for submissions, and we try to keep our response times as quick as we can. It's honestly astonishing how fast stories can pour in.

A good general rule, too, is that when an editor says they'd like to see more, they really do mean it. I'd throw those top-tier rejections in this category, Morgan. that's an awesome sign for sure. I know I'm happy (relatively speaking, haha) whenever I see one of those pop up in my inbox.

amos, I haven't personally seen that one from F&SF. I wonder if it means yours was similar to something they've recently picked up/are considering, etc? So hard to say. I know I've nitpicked my (many) rejections there more than anywhere else. All the way from "I'm going to pass on this" to "I'm afraid I'm going to pass on this" to "I'm afraid I'm going to have to pass on this."

I read something somewhere along those lines today that really jumped out at me by Tobias S. Buckell:

"So you have a pigeon in a box and you set up a machine to feed it a pellet when it smacks a lever. Said pigeon quickly learns that a single action equals reaction.

But then, you change it up and make the machine spit out the pellets randomly. What happens?

The pigeon becomes irrational. It starts trying to figure out what it did when the last pellet came out. Some of them do half-fluttering dances, others flip about. They basically become neurotic.

Publishing, in some ways, is a random pellet generator. The rewards for what you do come at random intervals that are hard to predict. There are a lot of things you can’t control, and you become a pellet pigeon if you try."

Hits a little too close to home, ha.

*flaps*
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby disgruntledpeony » Thu May 24, 2018 6:49 pm

Sataris wrote:I read something somewhere along those lines today that really jumped out at me by Tobias S. Buckell:

"So you have a pigeon in a box and you set up a machine to feed it a pellet when it smacks a lever. Said pigeon quickly learns that a single action equals reaction.

But then, you change it up and make the machine spit out the pellets randomly. What happens?

The pigeon becomes irrational. It starts trying to figure out what it did when the last pellet came out. Some of them do half-fluttering dances, others flip about. They basically become neurotic.

Publishing, in some ways, is a random pellet generator. The rewards for what you do come at random intervals that are hard to predict. There are a lot of things you can’t control, and you become a pellet pigeon if you try."

Hits a little too close to home, ha.

*flaps*


Wow, that's me all over lately. wotf019
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby MattDovey » Thu May 24, 2018 11:17 pm

The Tobias Buckell essay Sataris references above went up on Apex yesterday, and everyone should read it. It's really good & important stuff: https://www.apex-magazine.com/how-i-lea ... let-it-go/

Incidentally, on related note to all this: PodCastle opens in a week ;)
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LDWriter2
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby LDWriter2 » Tue May 29, 2018 7:35 pm

Interesting responses.

Latest response from BCS Assistant editor liked a certain description. Disliked what she saw as my hiding something. I didn't hide it, it just wasn't time for that and the story is rather short. wotf017 I will move it up, it's not that big of deal-doesn't effect the plot at all.


Maybe I will send it to F&SF next. Maybe I can finally get a comment from Finlay, supposedly he sends out more comments than other editors. Of course that could just mean the writers here get more. Most of you guys and gals are at least good writers after all.

Be nice to know something worked.
Working on turning Lead into Gold.

Four HMs From WotF
The latest was Q1'12
HM-quarter 4 Volume 32
One HM for another contest
published in Strange New Worlds Ten.
Another HM http://onthepremises.com/minis/mini_18.html

YM Pang
Posts: 60
Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2018 7:12 pm
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby YM Pang » Thu May 31, 2018 8:04 am

For F&SF, there's no correlation between getting a personal comment and getting closer to an acceptance. I once received a personal comment that indicated Charlie had dropped my story on the second line! (He was simply kind enough to explain in great detail exactly why those two lines didn't work for him). On the other hand, there are responses on the Submission Grinder that indicated a story got considered for ~30 days but received a form rejection.

Going back to cold/warm/hot: the best indication at F&SF is how long he holds your story, not what comment you get at the end. The personal comments probably depend on whether he feels like he has anything concrete/helpful to say.

All that being said, even if you've only ever received one-day rejections of "didn't grab me," that doesn't mean he won't buy your next story. :)
Michelle Pang
http://www.ympang.com
1xFinalist, 9xHM

"Final Flight of the PhoenixWing" in The Razor's Edge
"The Cosmos Chronicler" in Polar Borealis #6

BLAlley
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2018 3:20 pm

Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby BLAlley » Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:27 pm

I never bothered. As they say, agents and publishers only become interested the moment you no longer need them.


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