Five Minute Rant

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

Postby Kary English » Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:28 pm

ROFL! Touche, madame. Then again, mutually assured destruction much?

And with that we return you to your regularly scheduled ranting. Here's mine.

Dagnabit! I'm here to rant that I can't even RANT about rejections if these people won't return my subs! So that means this rant is about waiting.

I hate waiting.
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Solanavi77
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Solanavi77 » Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:36 pm

Kary James wrote:ROFL! Touche, madame. Then again, mutually assured destruction much?

And with that we return you to your regularly scheduled ranting. Here's mine.

Dagnabit! I'm here to rant that I can't even RANT about rejections if these people won't return my subs! So that means this rant is about waiting.

I hate waiting.


Cheer up. Here's some Tom Petty:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMyCa35_mOg
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Sam Hidaka
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Sam Hidaka » Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:38 pm

Solanavi77 wrote:Ugh. Forget I said anything. I thought this was a RANT thread. Guess not.


There's nothing wrong with your rant. In fact, it's a pretty common sentiment.

It's just that people who've been at this longer than you have are trying to share the benefits of their experiences.


Thomas K Carpenter, a new anthology editor, makes an important point:
It might take 10 seconds to write, but it takes much longer to come up with feedback that can actually help the writer.

I've looked at north of 10,000 submissions (maybe north of 15,000 -- I stopped counting at 5,000, and that was many years ago). I don't know if I ever passed over a story solely because:
"Your story didn't make it because it was poorly plotted."

Plotting is so fundamental to commercial fiction that if the plotting doesn't work, then there are very likely a whole lot else that's also lacking.

The kind of stories that typically get form-letter rejections usually have enough problems that I genuinely believe a one or two-sentence explanation really and truly will be extremely unhelpful.

Sam

Kary English
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Kary English » Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:46 pm

If the rant-threaders will indulge me for a moment longer, this whole feedback thing is why I like tiered rejections so much. Fantasy & Science Fiction has a system I adore (Lightspeed, too, though I cannot vouch for this personally).

Their rejects go like this:

1) ... "didn't grab my interest". This means the reader couldn't get into it. Whatever the problem is, it's apparent right off. Also means the reader probably didn't read past the beginning. A few paragraphs at most.

2) ...didn't hold my interest... This means that somewhere in the middle, broadly speaking, the reader got bored/confused / offended or in some other way turned off.

3) ... didn't quite work for me... This one is both frustrating and joy-inducing. "Didn't work" could mean lots of things. The fit was off, they already have stories like that. It's a fine story but it was too long/ too short, etc. BUT - the reader read it all the way through, which means it's probably a decent story, relatively speaking.
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dantzel
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby dantzel » Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:58 pm

Seriously, Kary? That's very cool. Both of my subs to Lightspeed said 'didn't quite work for me.'

Still a form rejection, but... but... still!
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Solanavi77
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Solanavi77 » Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:00 pm

dantzel wrote:Seriously, Kary? That's very cool. Both of my subs to Lightspeed said 'didn't quite work for me.'

Still a form rejection, but... but... still!


All of mine have been like this, too! It's good to hear! wotf010
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Strycher » Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:01 pm

Yeah, tiered forms are neat.

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Martin L. Shoemaker
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:02 pm

Meta Mode = On

Solanavi77 wrote:Look, I don't want to make enemies on here. And I sure don't want to torpedo my writing career before it even started. I like you all. And many, if not most of you have experiences I can learn from. I was just looking to rant.

Peace? wotf008


No problems, really. I thought your original rant was well within the spirit with which I opened the thread: "Rational or not, this bugs me!" I thought Patrick was right on track when he wrote that rants aren't supposed to be rational, and needn't be argued with. It's venting. We all need to vent sometimes. So as much as I value Sam's feedback and his insight into his side of the business, I think your rant was still justified in this thread. In another thread, I might've seen reason to disagree.

I incorrectly took your response to Sam as an attack on him, and that set off my "Ouch! Don't do that!" reaction. It was a sympathy wince, really! Sorry I misinterpreted.

Meta Mode = Off

I wish I had a rant to contribute today, but a horrendous digestive malady has struck half the family, and I've been too drained to work up a good rant about anything.
Last edited by Martin L. Shoemaker on Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:07 pm

Kary James wrote:Dagnabit! I'm here to rant that I can't even RANT about rejections if these people won't return my subs! So that means this rant is about waiting.

I hate waiting.


With my story now at Analog for 171 days, I sympathize.

New game: who has the longest outstanding piece right now? Who has the longest cumulative wait for all stories right now?

According to Duotrope, my longest has currently been out 200 days, and my total cumulative wait is 563 days. I know some of you can top that easily.
http://Shoemaker.Space
Other worlds from award-winning author Martin L. Shoemaker

WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!
SUBMIT! SUBMIT! SUBMIT! SUBMIT! SUBMIT!
REPEAT! REPEAT! REPEAT! REPEAT! REPEAT!
Patience. Patience. Patience. Patience. Patience.
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Patrick S. McGinnity
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Patrick S. McGinnity » Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:22 pm

I'm only in the 400s currently, though I have one 77 days past average, and I suspect it is not for a good reason (at least not good for me). See when I subbed, I realized just as I clicked Send that I had the wrong editor's name in the cover letter. I sent a follow up immediately apologizing. Then I queried a month after the average response time, but still nothing. It is a reprint I was hoping for, but still, even a "We automatically delete anything addressed to the wrong person, so please resubmit and go to the end of the line" would have been nice.
Patrick S. McGinnity
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gower21
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby gower21 » Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:44 pm

My rant: Submissions that you never ever hear back from because you decided to take a chance on a "new" market that became dead in a few months. What a waste of a few months while they tease you along saying they are "still working on it" Silliness.

Next rant: That sales to certain markets are frowned upon by Science Fiction editors (Chicken Soup for the Soul) so I have to figure out if I should include it in a bio or not. Thanks Steven King. Thanks. You never even read my kick a$$ humor story in the anthology but you've left me to be judged forevermore if I decide to mention it as a past sale. All my other nonfiction sales are not worth mentioning.

Self-rant: What are you doing on the WOTF board??? Get the hell back on your laptop and keep writing. You have a novel, a short story, and a flash to write. Get to work. Now. What? Why are you still here. GO.

Geeze fine. I'm off...

Later guys!

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Martin L. Shoemaker
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:55 pm

Patrick S. McGinnity wrote:I'm only in the 400s currently, though I have one 77 days past average, and I suspect it is not for a good reason (at least not good for me). See when I subbed, I realized just as I clicked Send that I had the wrong editor's name in the cover letter. I sent a follow up immediately apologizing. Then I queried a month after the average response time, but still nothing. It is a reprint I was hoping for, but still, even a "We automatically delete anything addressed to the wrong person, so please resubmit and go to the end of the line" would have been nice.


Heh. I won't embarrass anyone by naming names; but I once received the wrong rejection from a pretty major market. The editor sent me the rejection for a different author and a different story, then turned around and sent me the proper rejection and an apology. I suspect that, just as editors are human and make human mistakes, they know the same is true of us.

On the plus side, my proper rejection was MUCH more encouraging than the other author's!
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WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!
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WriteToLive
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby WriteToLive » Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:00 pm

dantzel wrote:Seriously, Kary? That's very cool. Both of my subs to Lightspeed said 'didn't quite work for me.'

Still a form rejection, but... but... still!


Actually, those are stage 2 for Lightspeed. Top tier forms say "didn't quite win me over."

However, to cheer you up from that, check my story at AE. THAT was a "didn't quite work for me."
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Patrick S. McGinnity » Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:15 pm

Kary James wrote:If the rant-threaders will indulge me for a moment longer, this whole feedback thing is why I like tiered rejections so much. Fantasy & Science Fiction has a system I adore (Lightspeed, too, though I cannot vouch for this personally).

Their rejects go like this:

1) ... "didn't grab my interest". This means the reader couldn't get into it. Whatever the problem is, it's apparent right off. Also means the reader probably didn't read past the beginning. A few paragraphs at most.

2) ...didn't hold my interest... This means that somewhere in the middle, broadly speaking, the reader got bored/confused / offended or in some other way turned off.

3) ... didn't quite work for me... This one is both frustrating and joy-inducing. "Didn't work" could mean lots of things. The fit was off, they already have stories like that. It's a fine story but it was too long/ too short, etc. BUT - the reader read it all the way through, which means it's probably a decent story, relatively speaking.



Hmm...really wishing my son hadn't destroyed my latest F & SF rejection letter before I even got to read it. My wife said it was a no, but had no more details for me than that. Also, it is a paper rejection, which are few and far between these days. I think I still have an old one signed by Marion Zimmer Bradley telling me my crappy story struck her more as horror than fantasy. Ah, the good old days...
Patrick S. McGinnity
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Look for "The Dubious Apotheosis of Baskin Gough" in the ARCANE II Anthology.

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Patrick S. McGinnity » Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:36 pm

Clarkesworld has a similar if less-nuanced tiered system.

From what I can tell, the standard is:
"Unfortunately, your story isn't quite what we're looking for right now."

vs. the near-miss:

"Unfortunately, your story was close, but not quite what we're looking for right now."
Patrick S. McGinnity
Mt. Pleasant/Beaver Island, Michigan

R x 3
Q2 2012 - HM
Look for "The Dubious Apotheosis of Baskin Gough" in the ARCANE II Anthology.

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Martin L. Shoemaker
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:46 pm

Ah, the sweet sounds of Rejectomancy!

WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! etc.
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WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!
SUBMIT! SUBMIT! SUBMIT! SUBMIT! SUBMIT!
REPEAT! REPEAT! REPEAT! REPEAT! REPEAT!
Patience. Patience. Patience. Patience. Patience.
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greenroom
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby greenroom » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:01 pm

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:
With my story now at Analog for 171 days, I sympathize.

New game: who has the longest outstanding piece right now? Who has the longest cumulative wait for all stories right now?

According to Duotrope, my longest has currently been out 200 days, and my total cumulative wait is 563 days. I know some of you can top that easily.


My cumulative wait total isn't that high, but I'm in a tie with you for longest outstanding piece. I have one at 200 days - 168 days past the average response time for that market. I queried a few months ago -- they do have it, or at least had it then. But, being the paranoid sort, I've already began to wonder if I somehow missed a rejection (not really possible since I get about 1 spam message every month in my writing account, unless I've recently taken up sleep deleting) or if the editor just *gasp* forgot he hadn't already sent out my rejection, marked it as handled in his records, and moved on...
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby george nik. » Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:19 am

Solanavi77 wrote:Look, I don't want to make enemies on here. And I sure don't want to torpedo my writing career before it even started. I like you all. And many, if not most of you have experiences I can learn from. I was just looking to rant.

Peace? wotf008

Don't worry about it! It's just that editors wanted to rant, also.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby george nik. » Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:38 am

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:I once received the wrong rejection from a pretty major market. The editor sent me the rejection for a different author and a different story, then turned around and sent me the proper rejection and an apology.


greenroom wrote:But, being the paranoid sort, I've already began to wonder if I somehow missed a rejection (not really possible since I get about 1 spam message every month in my writing account, unless I've recently taken up sleep deleting) or if the editor just *gasp* forgot he hadn't already sent out my rejection, marked it as handled in his records, and moved on...


Well, you never know. Maybe your rejection was sent to Martin instead... wotf008
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby george nik. » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:25 am

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:New game: who has the longest outstanding piece right now? Who has the longest cumulative wait for all stories right now?

According to Duotrope, my longest has currently been out 200 days, and my total cumulative wait is 563 days. I know some of you can top that easily.

I am at 316 as of today. Longest is my Q1 and shortest is my Q2.
Not very long, but keep in mind that my first submission ever was on Dec 31st.

(Well, I'm not counting Greek markets. Or Greek-speaking international markets. Or English-speaking poetry markets)
George Nikolopoulos
WOTF: 1 SF, 1 SHM, 4 HM
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby ThomasKCarpenter » Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:24 am

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:New game: who has the longest outstanding piece right now? Who has the longest cumulative wait for all stories right now?

According to Duotrope, my longest has currently been out 200 days, and my total cumulative wait is 563 days. I know some of you can top that easily.


922 cumulative and 183 for the longest. I need to get my butt in gear and send out four stories that have recently been rejected, but too many things to do right now!
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:42 am

george nik. wrote:Well, you never know. Maybe your rejection was sent to Martin instead... wotf008


Ha! Yep, and I've got all of your Q1 results in my spam folder, too!
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby E.CaimanSands » Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:26 am

Sam Hidaka wrote:
I've looked at north of 10,000 submissions (maybe north of 15,000 -- I stopped counting at 5,000, and that was many years ago). I don't know if I ever passed over a story solely because:
"Your story didn't make it because it was poorly plotted."

Plotting is so fundamental to commercial fiction that if the plotting doesn't work, then there are very likely a whole lot else that's also lacking.


Well, yes, but I think I can write stories where everything is good except for the plot. Maybe I'm just odd wotf017 . Seriously. In my semi finalist story KD Wentworth bemoans the fact that my story "really has no plot".

Before getting SF that story got top tier rejections from Asimov's and Lightspeed too. More about that below...
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby E.CaimanSands » Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:37 am

WriteToLive wrote:
dantzel wrote:Seriously, Kary? That's very cool. Both of my subs to Lightspeed said 'didn't quite work for me.'

Still a form rejection, but... but... still!


Actually, those are stage 2 for Lightspeed. Top tier forms say "didn't quite win me over."



Yes, my semi finalist got the "didn't quite win me over" from Lightspeed. And it got "The story is nicely done... I look forward to your next one, though," from Asimov's.

All my other efforts have been form rejected everywhere! wotf019
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby hlf » Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:48 am

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:New game: who has the longest outstanding piece right now? Who has the longest cumulative wait for all stories right now?


Longest out: 301 days
Cumulative: 1723 days (which is 33 subs, including 3 WOTF)

Thanks, Martin, for helping me find new ways to torture myself. I'm going to stop staring at numbers and go stare at some words now.
HL Fullerton

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Solanavi77 » Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:15 am

A story I sent to "Dark Wisdom" has been out for over 2 months now. I am beginning to wonder if the magazine is defunct. I say this since I submitted a story to them the first day of their reading period. And their title page has old information. But SFWA still has them listed as a qualifying market. So who knows.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby WriteToLive » Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:11 am

Longest out for me is 252 at Tor.com.

Combined...well...1,177 days. 2 were recent subs, so they don't count towards the total, but that's a lot for 34 subs (really, 33, but I simsubed one).
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:46 am

Rant! Rant! Rant!

My Semi-Finalist just came back from Analog after 14 days. Grrr...

(On the other hand, my other story there is at 172 days and counting...)

Off to Duotrope!
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WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby katsincommand » Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:43 pm

::delurks::

Dark Discvoeries - 480
Analog - 244

Kind of takes the sting off a 90-100 day WOTF wait. <g>
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby MJNL » Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:59 pm

Hmm... I'd like to do a rant about writers who seek instant gratification and can't figure out why they're not published after two months of trying... but that might be inappropriate (dealing with someone like this on another forum--ugh).
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