Five Minute Rant

Specifics about craft, talent, technique, etc.
Solanavi77
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Solanavi77 » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:12 pm

MJNL wrote: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).


Nice. People just have to know it'll take time to get published. At least a year, probably.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby MJNL » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:29 pm

Solanavi77 wrote:
MJNL wrote: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).


Nice. People just have to know it'll take time to get published. At least a year, probably.


For a lot of people it's even much, much longer than that.
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Rebecca Birch
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Rebecca Birch » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:43 pm

I had my first sale after maybe two years of working seriously on my writing. That was in 2004. Not a thing since. Of course, there were several years in there of not writing or submitting anything, but still, it's a lot of time. That's okay, though. I'm still working. I'm still improving. It'll happen when it happens.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby katsincommand » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:05 pm

Rebecca Birch wrote:I had my first sale after maybe two years of working seriously on my writing. That was in 2004. Not a thing since. Of course, there were several years in there of not writing or submitting anything, but still, it's a lot of time. That's okay, though. I'm still working. I'm still improving. It'll happen when it happens.


Hear hear. 2009 for me, nice little antho pub. Then my 2010 semi-finalist and then nothing.

It's like Dory says: just keep swimming swimming swimming what do you do you swim swim swim.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby WriteToLive » Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:41 pm

That's why I point to Martin's signature.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby MJNL » Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:23 pm

MJNL wrote: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).


Grrr, where is that 'somebody's wrong on the Internet' doodle?

Now people are saying some editors don't read slush--they just use it to find new subscribers. Blame Blame Blame! It's not my story's fault, obviously they just didn't read it.

/Rant end.
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Alex Kane
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Alex Kane » Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:30 pm

lol. The comforts of self-delusion. Nobody ever got better at anything by thinking they were already the best.
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MJNL
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby MJNL » Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:39 pm

Yeah, right? I feel kinda bad, because he's mostly been pretty fair in his wording (no direct 'poor me' statements)--but it's one of those times where you just want to shake someone and say, "Look, don't throw away your potential because you can't face facts. Why on earth do you think you have to start out being the best you can ever be???"

Why is that attitude so prevalent amongst writers? Olympic runners didn't start out at the top of their feild, neither did top-notch heart surgeons or firemen or yoga instructors or--you know, anyone proffesional. Why do so many writers think they have to be prodigies?
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby MJNL » Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:40 pm

MJNL wrote:Yeah, right? I feel kinda bad, because he's mostly been pretty fair in his wording (no direct 'poor me' statements)--but it's one of those times where you just want to shake someone and say, "Look, don't throw away your potential because you can't face facts. Why on earth do you think you have to start out being the best you can ever be???"

Why is that attitude so prevalent amongst writers? Olympic runners didn't start out at the top of their feild, neither did top-notch heart surgeons or firemen or yoga instructors or--you know, anyone proffesional. Why do so many writers think they have to be prodigies?


Ooh, this rant thread feels soooo nice. Though I'm sure it wasn't intended to be wielded at our peers.
~Marina

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Strycher » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:00 pm

MJNL wrote:Why do so many writers think they have to be prodigies?


I think it's because the road to successful authorness is varied and kind of ambiguous to people who are not professional writers. If you want to be a doctor you go to medical school--everyone knows that. But non-writing people only know the names of the prodigies (or rather the "overnight" successes who have actually been at it for ten years). And if you're a beginning writer, it means that not too long ago you were a non-writing person. Eventually they will figure it out and become a pro. Or they won't and they won't.

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby MJNL » Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:17 am

Ah. Very true.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Strycher » Wed Apr 04, 2012 2:35 pm

MJNL wrote:Ah. Very true.


Not to interrupt your rant or anything . . . >_>

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Dustin Adams » Thu Apr 05, 2012 1:41 am

So I sell my first story evah and the person I live with, to whom I am related by marriage, laughs at my payment, which is $10.
My income also elicits a laugh out of my mother.

So, the two people I'm supposed to be closest to think the amount of money I will receive from my first sale is something to laugh at.

Rant Rant Rant

My two-year-old was excited... he clapped. wotf010

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby E.CaimanSands » Thu Apr 05, 2012 2:52 am

Unfortunately most non-writers seem to think all writers earn as much as JK Rowling. I mentioned to my dad the other day that in the unlikely event I win everything here I'd get a whopping $6000. "That's not much," says dad.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Patrick S. McGinnity » Thu Apr 05, 2012 4:14 am

People don't understand that--unless you get the Rowling-esque big break--a writing career, like that of most indie musicians, is a matter of steady accretion of work and the recognition that hopefully comes along with it.

Coming up through the academic/literary journal side of things, 90% of my pubs were not "sales" per se.*

*Unless, that is, the following scenario is also a sale:

A neighbor is making pies. He asks me for some flour to complete the recipe. When the pies are done, I get a slice of one. Did I just sell him a cup of flour?

I got offered 15$ on Paypal once and told them to reinvest it in the mag as I didn't then have a Paypal account. I did get paid $280 to write a pamphlet for a methadone clinic, though that doesn't really count.

My parents have very low expectations at this point, so if I got paid anything for writing they would be pleased for me. My wife understands too, though we have a running joke of beginning wistful sentences with, "When we are as rich as J.K. Rowling..."
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby george nik. » Thu Apr 05, 2012 4:58 am

Well, in Greece there wasn't really a professional market even before the current financial crisis, and I've never been paid for any of my publications. wotf014
In the past two or three years, however, I've earned the equivalent of about 2000 $ in writing contests - so does this make me really successful? wotf015
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Thu Apr 05, 2012 5:16 am

george nik. wrote:In the past two or three years, however, I've earned the equivalent of about 2000 $ in writing contests - so does this make me really successful? wotf015


Beats me, George.

No, literally, I mean it: it beats me by a factor of 3 or more. So you're more successful than me!

On the other hand, my first UML book (published all the way back in 2004) is STILL selling and still generating better royalties than all my fiction combined. Don't ask me how. Tech books aren't supposed to last that long.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Patrick S. McGinnity » Thu Apr 05, 2012 5:28 am

Patrick S. McGinnity wrote:Coming up through the academic/literary journal side of things, 90% of my pubs were not "sales" per se.*

*Unless, that is, the following scenario is also a sale:

A neighbor is making pies. He asks me for some flour to complete the recipe. When the pies are done, I get a slice of one. Did I just sell him a cup of flour?

I got offered 15$ on Paypal once and told them to reinvest it in the mag as I didn't then have a Paypal account. I did get paid $280 to write a pamphlet for a methadone clinic, though that doesn't really count.


I want to revise my scenario:

Again, a neighbor is making pies, only this time we've never met, though we both dig pastries. He issues a call for flour, and I send him my cup, wait several months, and then learn that my cup of flour was almost, but not quite, right for his pies. I submit it to another pie maker I've never met and get lucky: she can use it! Several months more pass, and then, when the pies are done, I get sent a slice of one. I offer to share the pie with everyone I know, but no one is quite as excited as I am. Undeterred, I go back to grinding meal.

And George, yes, you do have significantly more to show for your writing than I do. Bravo! There was one contest when I was an undergrad, but I haven't entered any contests that charge a fee (which most seem to do these days) in a long time. All the more reason to be grateful to WOTF, even if we never win.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby E.CaimanSands » Thu Apr 05, 2012 6:53 am

george nik. wrote:In the past two or three years, however, I've earned the equivalent of about 2000 $ in writing contests - so does this make me really successful? wotf015


That's $2000 more than me for fiction writing. I used to earn plenty for non-fiction though. Over a decade ago I used to write something like 500 word articles and get I think £250 each for them (about $400?). These were popular astronomy/space pieces for the mass market and I used to do two a week. It was a decent living. Even better than the money though was the amount I learnt while I was doing that! wotf024 Crash course in astronomy 101 doesn't even begin to cover it.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby george nik. » Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:23 am

Patrick S. McGinnity wrote:There was one contest when I was an undergrad, but I haven't entered any contests that charge a fee (which most seem to do these days) in a long time.

Well, I don't enter contests that charge fees either. Fortunately in Greece most contests don't charge a fee-but they don't offer a prize either. I've got about 45 awards in contests and only 3 had money prizes (one in Greece, one in Cyprus and one in Australia).
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby izanobu » Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:31 am

I made 18 dollars with my first sale (which was also my first year of writing income). Let them laugh. wotf004

(for what it's worth, I made 430 the next year and 2,962 last year. I'm already at 1,430 for this year. It does grow, if you keep writing. Keep your chin up.)

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Dustin Adams » Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:22 am

They weren't evil laughs, but they were knee jerk laughs, that's what bugged me.

Afterward it's all like, no, no, it's cool you got paid... But too late. wotf23

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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Patrick S. McGinnity » Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:24 am

Dustin Adams wrote:They weren't evil laughs, but they were knee jerk laughs, that's what bugged me.

Afterward it's all like, no, no, it's cool you got paid... But too late. wotf23

D


I hear that.

If I recall correctly we were firing congratulations your way on the "Success!" thread not long ago. I guess the way you know we're all in this together is that in all those replies no one said: "Congratulations! How much did you get paid?"
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Kary English » Sun Apr 08, 2012 8:53 am

Who sends frikken rejections on Easter Sunday?? (not WOTF) Sheesh!

Ok, it'll go back out as soon as WT or S&S open again.

ETA: Yes, I know. I ranted about waiting, then turned right back around and ranted about hearing. wotf013
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby WriteToLive » Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:15 am

MJNL wrote:
MJNL wrote: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).


Grrr, where is that 'somebody's wrong on the Internet' doodle?

Now people are saying some editors don't read slush--they just use it to find new subscribers. Blame Blame Blame! It's not my story's fault, obviously they just didn't read it.

/Rant end.


Hey, don't knock that. That helped me write one of my stories. Still looking for a home, though...
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:08 am

Kary James wrote:Who sends frikken rejections on Easter Sunday?? (not WOTF) Sheesh!

Ok, it'll go back out as soon as WT or S&S open again.

ETA: Yes, I know. I ranted about waiting, then turned right back around and ranted about hearing. wotf013


To each her/his own. I will gladly take results any day they choose to send them.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sun Apr 08, 2012 8:39 pm

Another rant. At myself, this time.

I've been struggling with this story since January. I knew the very broad outlines the whole time, and I always knew the nature of the climax. But I didn't know the details, so I did research. And I kept getting interrupted by other work. (Darned goats!)

A month ago, I realized a more detailed outline, and I knew what some of the major events would be along the way. But I still wasn't sure exactly what the ending was.

Then last week, I realized what the ending was. The perfect final scene. And I knew what the scenes would be leading up to it. I could finally see the whole shape of the story. AND I was pleasantly surprised: I was only 3,000 words in, so I said, "Hey, this is going to be really short compared to my usual stories." I figured if I could see the end at 3,000 words, it might end up at 4,000 or so. That fits a lot of markets.

Now, a week later, the whole story is in place. I'm within a page or two of the end. And the total so far is...

8,000 words.

Rant! Rant! Rant!

(On a positive note: 5,000 solid words in under a week is a better pace than I've managed lately...)

UPDATE: "within a page or two of the end"... Yeah, or more like 1,600 words, and not nearly enough sleep... Grrr...
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WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!
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Alex Kane
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Alex Kane » Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:25 am

Form rejection from ASIM less than 24 hours after submitting. Sigh.

The story's up at Baen's Universe Slush, if anyone's interested in having a look. Was my Q3 '11 HM, and remains one of my favorite stories . . . but yeah, she's been rejected a lot. In other news, I am guilty of Duotropery and need to cut that shit out.
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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:41 am

Alex Kane wrote:Form rejection from ASIM less than 24 hours after submitting. Sigh.

The story's up at Baen's Universe Slush, if anyone's interested in having a look. Was my Q3 '11 HM, and remains one of my favorite stories . . . but yeah, she's been rejected a lot. In other news, I am guilty of Duotropery and need to cut that shit out.


24 hours? OW! I've never seen anything come back that fast.
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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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Re: Five Minute Rant

Postby Kary English » Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:20 am

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:Another rant. At myself, this time.

I've been struggling with this story since January. I knew the very broad outlines the whole time, and I always knew the nature of the climax. But I didn't know the details, so I did research. And I kept getting interrupted by other work. (Darned goats!)

A month ago, I realized a more detailed outline, and I knew what some of the major events would be along the way. But I still wasn't sure exactly what the ending was.

Then last week, I realized what the ending was. The perfect final scene. And I knew what the scenes would be leading up to it. I could finally see the whole shape of the story. AND I was pleasantly surprised: I was only 3,000 words in, so I said, "Hey, this is going to be really short compared to my usual stories." I figured if I could see the end at 3,000 words, it might end up at 4,000 or so. That fits a lot of markets.

Now, a week later, the whole story is in place. I'm within a page or two of the end. And the total so far is...

8,000 words.

Rant! Rant! Rant!

(On a positive note: 5,000 solid words in under a week is a better pace than I've managed lately...)

UPDATE: "within a page or two of the end"... Yeah, or more like 1,600 words, and not nearly enough sleep... Grrr...


I'm *so* with you on this. My Q2 did that to me. It's 7,800 words according to my word processor and 9,000 by page count. Finally, right up against the deadline, I was down to one missing scene, and I knew what needed to happen. The missing scene was about 1500 words. wotf002
WOTF: 1 HM, 1 Semi, 2 Finalists, 1 Winner
Q2,V31 - Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!
Flight of the Kikayon at the Grantville Gazette
Totaled (revised HM) in issue #9 of Mike Resnick's Galaxy's Edge
Departure Gate 34B at DSF


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