Five Minute Rant

Specifics about craft, talent, technique, etc.
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Ishmael
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Ishmael » Wed Jan 13, 2016 8:54 am

Okay, so you remember I accidentally sent Analog two in three days? Well the second is back in a mere 163 days with:

I rather like your style of writing and suggest that you try us again.

What? Whatwhatwhatwhat? wotf015 So maybe I'll unrant after all! wotf013
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby bobsandiego » Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:32 am

rant about the industry:

man o man I am learning patience.
I had hoped - naively it turns out - that representation would make things much quicker.
Nope.
MY novel sits at a publisher and in the time while I have waited for an answer from the editor I have written an entire new novel.

to quoteThe Princess Bride: 'I hate waiting.'
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby amoskalik » Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:02 am

bobsandiego wrote:rant about the industry:

man o man I am learning patience.
I had hoped - naively it turns out - that representation would make things much quicker.
Nope.
MY novel sits at a publisher and in the time while I have waited for an answer from the editor I have written an entire new novel.

to quoteThe Princess Bride: 'I hate waiting.'


I have a friend who eventually did sell his novel. It took two years after he found an agent to sell it. It took another year and a half after the novel was picked up by a publisher before it came out in print. Then of course he had to do all his own publicity which he burned out on pretty quick.

Writing the damn things is the easy part is my take away.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby emilymccosh » Fri Jan 15, 2016 10:26 am

I just got two rejections this morning, both for stories I really had some hope for. *Loooooooooooooong sigh*
Oh well, at least one of them was a personal rejection, telling me that the editor really liked the story, but there were just too many others that she wanted to publish. So, that's kind of nice.

Well, out to send them out to other markets...
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby LDWriter2 » Mon Jan 18, 2016 8:04 pm

emilymccosh wrote:I just got two rejections this morning, both for stories I really had some hope for. *Loooooooooooooong sigh*
Oh well, at least one of them was a personal rejection, telling me that the editor really liked the story, but there were just too many others that she wanted to publish. So, that's kind of nice.

Well, out to send them out to other markets...



I was going to say I know the feeling I just received two rejections too, but no personal rejection so I only know half of that.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby LDWriter2 » Mon Jan 18, 2016 8:07 pm

So as I said in a response two rejections. In one day actually. One said, basically, send another story but the other didn't even say that. Suppose that means the editor read the whole thing but I can't be sure of even that.

Still more work and still no matter what I can't get beyond that and not even all the times.
Working on turning Lead into Gold.

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby MattDovey » Tue Jan 19, 2016 12:59 am

No matter how thick a skin you develop, two in one day still gets to you. My sympathies to you both wotf014

Just gotta turn 'em round and send 'em straight back out. Only way of dealing with it.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby emilymccosh » Tue Jan 19, 2016 12:01 pm

MattDovey wrote:No matter how thick a skin you develop, two in one day still gets to you. My sympathies to you both wotf014

Just gotta turn 'em round and send 'em straight back out. Only way of dealing with it.



I sympathize LD!

And Matt, you're right about that. I sent my two out again...I think writers have to be some of the most stubborn people on the planet.

"No to my story? Well, I'm going to send it out again... No again? Well, fine, I'm going to send it out again...and again and again and AGAIN until you people see my genius!!!"

If that isn't stubborn, I don't know what is. wotf019
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby LDWriter2 » Thu Feb 04, 2016 8:03 pm

And another one.

A straight no for IGMS. I still don't know if they have any other levels of rejections. If they do a lot of writers here would be receiving them. I am surrounded by those who are good enough to get something extra from them-if they do that.


And a usual rejection from BCS. Probably doesn't mean anything with my writing but again I got one criticism instead of three. And again it was that the pace was too slow. Second one, maybe third, of those.

And again my best work....
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Beth Powers » Thu Feb 04, 2016 8:45 pm

LDWriter2 wrote:A straight no for IGMS. I still don't know if they have any other levels of rejections.


For what it's worth, I've gotten a few variations. In 2010, I received a form letter that included an additional personal comment from the Assistant Editor (who seems to be the first reader). Twice in 2011, I received a deviation on the form letter that added "After careful consideration" to the second sentence, and was just signed "The Editors," no name. Finally, at the beginning of 2012, I got a personal rejection ("a near miss"!) from the Editor, Edmund R. Schubert. This is out of a total of 30 rejections (from 2009 to a few weeks ago), the rest of which were the same form letter. I can't really tell from this if they have actual tiers or if mine were just flukes wotf017

According to the Submission Grinder's undoubtedly larger pool of data, 3.93% of their rejections are personal.

Good luck with wherever you send them next!

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby LDWriter2 » Fri Feb 05, 2016 9:57 pm

Beth thanks for the info.

Not surprising that I have never seen the next level up with IGMS.

Or with most markets.
Working on turning Lead into Gold.

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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 LDWriter2 » Thu Mar 10, 2016 6:09 pm

Hmm, no one has been here since I last was.

Does that mean those around here are doing better, except for one, so less venting or that they just don't think about it anymore?



Anyway, decided to say what I feel about Q1 here instead of taking up the time and space on the Q1 thread. This might be more than five minutes.

Even though I do at times I don't like to use clichés even in comments like this. But this one fits so well this time.

I put my heart and soul in that story, used every thing I have learned recently in general and what Dave likes. Nothing.
As I said in the other thread. This one should have been better than last quarter's story. But it wasn't. I almost would like him to use it as an example of what not to do so I might have a hint of what was wrong with it. My stories however seem to be in an in-between stage. Not bad enough to use as an example of what not to do but not good enough for him to even sort of like. Could be I tried too hard and lost my voice but there is no way for me to know that if it is true.


I decided a while back that I would be sending it for Edith Moore to tear apart when I got it back. She doesn't think much of my writing, yes a couple of her statements imply that plus she has never given me a positive comment like she has with some other writers there. Well once twenty stories ago or so. I had hoped it would make a better showing and I could show her I can do better. I doubt this will be that story after all. But maybe she will find less things to find fault with. At least she will read the whole thing

Could be some other editor will like it better but that has never happened, my experience if Dave doesn't like it no one will. Of course I still need to send out the last couple of stories more, still too small a sampling of editors for those stories but I don't expect any will.
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.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby MattDovey » Fri Mar 11, 2016 1:54 am

Commiserations LDWriter2. It's always tough when you write to a market and get knocked back with a straight R. I sent a story into Shimmer that I'd thought of as Shimmery ever since the first draft, and got it back with a form "read the magazine to see what we publish". wotf014

But it's impossible to completely second guess what an editor wants. You can spot a general tendency towards plot, maybe, or story, but ultimately even the editor themselves doesn't always know what they're looking for. Neil Clarke said "I recently took some criticism from another editor for refusing to define what makes a Clarkesworld story. I’ve called it a moving target, something that makes me think, and even a pleasant surprise, but I’ve never seen the point in trying to nail it down."

All you can do is turn it round and send it back out again, and make sure you're always working on something new so you can brush off rejections with "but what I'm working on right now is so much better". And never give in.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby amoskalik » Fri Mar 11, 2016 5:52 am

We've all been there LD. I think I made it through the first round this Quarter, but two straight early round R's before that with stories I felt really good about. This quarter I was expecting an early round R because there was some questionable content that I was sure would get me a quick boot.

This means, of course, that I'm terrible at predicting what Dave will like. So with that disclaimer, if you want, I'd be willing to take a look at your story, focusing on the beginning as that is likely all Dave read. Just IM me if you are interested. Another option would be to join critters. I haven't had a story reviewed there yet, but I've been doing reviews. It does help me be more objective with my own work, and I'm sure the critiques from others would be very valuable as well.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby LDWriter2 » Fri Mar 11, 2016 8:45 pm

First thanks to Matt and amoskalik


First I want to say that I didn't write this story specifically for Dave. I came up with the basic idea a few months ago because of a typo. I had to think it out some before I wrote the story. With that said I did think that the setting would earn me a point or two for originality that Dave likes. Of course even though I think it's really unique six to twelve others could have come up with the same basic idea.

I did work on the opening with what Dave has stated he likes in openings in mind, but I would have done that anyway or mostly anyway.

And I did think that with what I have learned the past few months about writing that I would be able to do something that Dave wouldn't totally reject. I worked diligently with crafting the story as I have been taught-which is where the comment about putting heart and soul into it comes in. I may have concentrated on certain areas too much and forgot other areas or as I said lost my voice by working and thinking too hard. wotf017
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby LDWriter2 » Sat Mar 12, 2016 4:08 pm

I just realized that I spaced out on making a comment in response to the suggested for critters.

I have been there for at least five years. I no longer send in stories but I still like to crit one once a month or so. I would do more but I keep forgetting.

But way back when I sent in a bunch of stories, some three times, before I sent the story out. Never helped me. None of those stories got any further along than the ones I didn't send in. Obviously many critters are helped by the crits they get, even a couple I did sold. That was when I started to say that no matter how much help I got it was still my writing. Even here. The Q1 story was critted by someone here, and I know the story and writing was made better but it had a long way to go because I wrote it.
Working on turning Lead into Gold.

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Ishmael » Sun Mar 13, 2016 7:55 am

LDWriter2 wrote:But way back when I sent in a bunch of stories, some three times, before I sent the story out. Never helped me. None of those stories got any further along than the ones I didn't send in.


Sometimes on Baen's Bar I get defensive when it's pointed out to me that my approach to a story is a load of manure produced by a male of the bovine species. Then sometimes afterwards I change my mind. I have even been known to decide that stuff for which I have argued strongly (and some people here know what I mean when I say that) was actually wrong.

For instance, the story that got the remarkable personal rejection I recently documented on the Almost Success thread had just been completely re-written after getting a serious mauling in The Bar. Of course I haven't sold it yet. On the other hand I now recognise it is immensely improved; previously it was just a good idea, now it's a good idea inside a reasonably competent piece of short story writing.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby LDWriter2 » Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:43 am

Ishmael wrote:
LDWriter2 wrote:But way back when I sent in a bunch of stories, some three times, before I sent the story out. Never helped me. None of those stories got any further along than the ones I didn't send in.


Sometimes on Baen's Bar I get defensive when it's pointed out to me that my approach to a story is a load of manure produced by a male of the bovine species. Then sometimes afterwards I change my mind. I have even been known to decide that stuff for which I have argued strongly (and some people here know what I mean when I say that) was actually wrong.

For instance, the story that got the remarkable personal rejection I recently documented on the Almost Success thread had just been completely re-written after getting a serious mauling in The Bar. Of course I haven't sold it yet. On the other hand I now recognise it is immensely improved; previously it was just a good idea, now it's a good idea inside a reasonably competent piece of short story writing.



Way back when, not quite as far back as when I sent stories to Critters on a regular bases, I posted a bunch on the Bar. All of my stories received a "serious mauling" except for one. I would redo it and post it again and again, again up to ten once or twice. I was diligent to correct what was pointed out to me-mostly. Edith pointed out the times I forgot something.

I will be posting the Q1 story after amoskalik looks over the opening and sees what he might find and maybe the HM story. I don't think I have posted that one there.I don't like to post longer stories on the Bar because I have been having to separate the paragraphs by hand. I never could figure out how to get the WP I had at the time to do that. It should have worked but didn't for me.
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 MattDovey » Sun Mar 13, 2016 12:11 pm

Just as there is an art to giving critiques, there is an art to receiving them, I think.

In any given critter week there will, without fail, be someone completely missing the point and advocating completely changing the nature of the story, from "this would be much better told in a normal structure" when the weird structure is the entire point and the plot underneath it is otherwise dull and familiar, to "that's not how magic works, it should work like this", except, well, no, in this story it works this way, to out and out "this is a story all about..."* when it really isn't.

Try to please everyone and you very quickly end up pleasing no-one, IME.

I have learnt to trust my instincts when it comes to critiques; if my immediate reaction is "pfft, are you kidding me?" then I know to ignore it--maybe they missed the point, maybe they missed something important earlier, maybe they're just trying to get me to tell the story the way they would. Sure, if I get a lot of them then I'm doing something wrong, but most of the time they're outliers.

If my immediate reaction is "hmmm", though... oftentimes those are the ones telling me something I already know subconsciously. I could get by without critiques, but I'd have to sit on everything for 6 months+ to allow the faults to bubble up to full consciousness. Crits are a shortcut to finding them out sooner. So when I correct something that's been critiqued, I'm only doing what I should have done in the first place, if I'd been cleverer.

More recently, I am coming to realise how far confidence will carry you. Write in the style you want to write. Commit to it fully. Do everything the way you want to do it. And sure, it'll turn some readers off--but it'll hook just as many along for the ride.

Do what you gotta do, and don't worry about anything you don't wanna.

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby LDWriter2 » Mon Mar 14, 2016 9:04 pm

Matt does have a point.

In fact months ago I decided on the same thing, pretty much but on the Bar when Edith Moar says to change something it's usually a good idea if you want them to buy your story.
Working on turning Lead into Gold.

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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 LDWriter2 » Fri Apr 08, 2016 7:37 pm

Me again

Always not a good idea to assume what others are thinking with little evidence, but I wouldn't be surprised if Edith Maor either hopes I would stop sending stories or learn how not to have clumsy writing.

All of my use of sensory description in creating the setting, trying to follow what Dave has said about it and learning about pulling people deep into the story-and digging into my character's psychic was not even worth a partially better job. Not even something like -I can see areas where you did better but still too much clumsy writing- She has said things along those lines for other people.

She said I should start when my MC realizes there is a problem--or maybe Debbie said that--but my MC realizes there is a problem in the first sentence. She's in the story at least by the second sentence. But all that was for nothing.

Next time I won't explain where her physical and emotional strength came from I'll just let the reader guess even though that isn't suppose to be a good idea either.

In case anyone has read this I came back to add.

And I will cut everything that shows how this Earth is different form ours except for the last dragon. That dragon might be enough to get the point across. Plus one maybe two try-fail cycles. Actually there are two sets of them and I don't know if that is kosher anyway. So that may not matter. Debating rather I should bypass the two nights out in the wilds. She left her village and the morning of the third day had her at a strange sight, a dam.
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 disgruntledpeony » Fri Apr 08, 2016 9:15 pm

LDWriter2 wrote:Me again

Always not a good idea to assume what others are thinking with little evidence, but I wouldn't be surprised if Edith Maor either hopes I would stop sending stories or learn how not to have clumsy writing.

All of my use of sensory description in creating the setting, trying to follow what Dave has said about it and learning about pulling people deep into the story-and digging into my character's psychic was not even worth a partially better job. Not even something like -I can see areas where you did better but still too much clumsy writing- She has said things along those lines for other people.

She said I should start when my MC realizes there is a problem--or maybe Debbie said that--but my MC realizes there is a problem in the first sentence. She's in the story at least by the second sentence. But all that was for nothing.

Next time I won't explain where her physical and emotional strength came from I'll just let the reader guess even though that isn't suppose to be a good idea either.


*big hugs* Don't give up. I know this stage of writing is difficult, having been there myself before. The key is to keep writing, keep reading, and keep trying to improve.

English classes or textbooks can help with the mechanical side of things; creative writing classes or writer's groups also can help with that, but they emphasize flavor as well as mechanics. There are books on writing that approach the subject from just about any angle you could think of (and some you haven't yet). Getting better is a long and arduous process, but it's worth the effort.
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 storysinger » Sat Apr 09, 2016 4:47 am

disgruntledpeony wrote: Getting better is a long and arduous process, but it's worth the effort.


As long as you enjoy what you are doing you will get to where you want to be. wotf008
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby kentagions » Sat Apr 09, 2016 6:59 am

Move along.
Never mind.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby LDWriter2 » Sat Apr 09, 2016 8:30 am

Came by this morning, I'll be back but I realized last night after I signed off that I got a name wrong, Debbie isn't who I wanted to say to. Somehow her name got into the forefront of my mind at the wrong time. I think Debbie is another critter for a different story and my memory played tricks on me again.
Working on turning Lead into Gold.

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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 LDWriter2 » Sat Apr 09, 2016 10:22 am

disgruntledpeony wrote:
LDWriter2 wrote:Me again

Always not a good idea to assume what others are thinking with little evidence, but I wouldn't be surprised if Edith Maor either hopes I would stop sending stories or learn how not to have clumsy writing.

All of my use of sensory description in creating the setting, trying to follow what Dave has said about it and learning about pulling people deep into the story-and digging into my character's psychic was not even worth a partially better job. Not even something like -I can see areas where you did better but still too much clumsy writing- She has said things along those lines for other people.

She said I should start when my MC realizes there is a problem--or maybe Debbie said that--but my MC realizes there is a problem in the first sentence. She's in the story at least by the second sentence. But all that was for nothing.

Next time I won't explain where her physical and emotional strength came from I'll just let the reader guess even though that isn't suppose to be a good idea either.


*big hugs* Don't give up. I know this stage of writing is difficult, having been there myself before. The key is to keep writing, keep reading, and keep trying to improve.

English classes or textbooks can help with the mechanical side of things; creative writing classes or writer's groups also can help with that, but they emphasize flavor as well as mechanics. There are books on writing that approach the subject from just about any angle you could think of (and some you haven't yet). Getting better is a long and arduous process, but it's worth the effort.



I have been there for five years. This should have been my best story-in terms of writing. I have been taking workshops etc. That is why this story should have been close at least.

Wouldn't have been so bad if she had said something along the lines of The opening was good, I saw the village on the mountain side but after that it turned into clumsy writing. Evidently she found nothing good about my writing even though she has with other writers.
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 amoskalik » Sat Apr 09, 2016 11:59 am

LDWriter2 wrote:All of my use of sensory description in creating the setting, trying to follow what Dave has said about it and learning about pulling people deep into the story-and digging into my character's psychic was not even worth a partially better job.


I understand your frustration. We pour everything we have into our stories, and then dig deeper and pour some more for good measure.

Part of the problem is writing is not entirely an additive process. More setting, more character, more senses, more planning, more voice. We're constantly being advised to add things to our stories. It is possible to add too much.

But writing isn't entirely subtractive either. Less adverbs, less passive voice, etc. etc.

All this advice about more this and less that is great, but it assumes one thing: that you have a great story to tell and that you are in tune with that story, that you can feel that story and know what it is about, what it is trying to say. The rules are just tools to help you capture that story in a clearer way.

I do not doubt that you have great stories in you. I also do not doubt that you have sharpened you ax by learning all the various rules and practicing them. So my advice is to spend more time listening to what your stories are telling you.

When you are writing a passage, is your story saying "Yes, this is what I'm about!" or is it sitting impatiently quiet while you try to describe a smell or a character's outfit or the way a device works. If so, get back to the story.

When you are reading your story does the passage sing with your story's promise and propel you along or does it drown your story in background noise and kill your momentum? If so, consider trimming the passage down or even removing it.

When you are done reading, is your story saying, "You forgot to tell them..." or "You rushed through that part way too fast." or "You still don't understand something important about..." If so, that is when to consider adding the smells, the descriptive settings that are tied to how your POV character is feeling, or to do off-screen world building and character development so that you are better equipped to explain what is really going on.

Of course, if your story isn't talking to you at all, maybe you have a dead story. At that point, put it in the drawer and start working on a different story, one that does talk to you.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby LDWriter2 » Sat Apr 09, 2016 12:23 pm

amoskalik wrote:
LDWriter2 wrote:All of my use of sensory description in creating the setting, trying to follow what Dave has said about it and learning about pulling people deep into the story-and digging into my character's psychic was not even worth a partially better job.


I understand your frustration. We pour everything we have into our stories, and then dig deeper and pour some more for good measure. ......




Thanks you for the time spent with this and advice.

For me everything in the story should be there, even a couple of things I cut already. Readers evidently disagree.

Two other readers did like at least the basic story one even wanted more set in that world. Others have liked what I have written in the past. That includes the two part story on my blog right now, which isn't as well written as this story was.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby storysinger » Sun Apr 10, 2016 5:51 am

" the reality is that someone will always dislike your work. He stressed that you should never write to please everyone because you never will."

One of the emails from this years event is a statement by Robert J. Sawyer.
I celebrated my 3rd year as a "writer" in February.
Those words are indicative of my attitude now. When I read my story aloud to myself if I like it that's all I worry about. Just saying.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Ishmael » Mon Apr 11, 2016 3:11 am

Study of another’s technique and the dissection thereof into mechanical divisions and the attempt to adopt said divisions causes a writer to lose all feeling of his own art as such. He ceases recording things as he sees them because he has attempted to adopt the mechanical tools of another, tools which this other developed solely to portray the world and its people as he sees them. Few are the points of technique which can be universally applied by all writers to all types and styles of work.

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