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Archive for July, 2013

Win A Free E-Book Copy Of ‘The Seneca Scourge,’ Whiskey Creek Press’s Best-Selling Book Of June and July

July 22, 2013 6 comments

Looks like a great book. Check it out …

Categories: Uncategorized

On writing: The inevitable rejection

July 16, 2013 28 comments

So, back in January, I accomplished one of my goals for 2013: I submitted a short story to Cemetery Dance magazine. With high hopes I’d pressed that submit button, sending off my short story of which I was so proud. And then I’d waited … and waited … and waited. After a while, I’d waited so long I didn’t really even feel like I was waiting for anything anymore. But to be fair, they did warn that due to the deluge of stories it would likely take several months before I’d hear back from them. Well, they were wrong. It took over five months! But, on the positive side, I did hear back.

While I’d like to tell you I received a personal note from the managing editor of the magazine/publisher, Brian Freeman — you know, something telling me all about how it was a wonderful story but they just couldn’t quite fit it into this quarter’s magazine but they’d sure like me to submit again — the truth of the matter is that I received a “form” rejection from some unknown underling in charge of reading through the slush pile (at least I assume it was the slush pile … who knows, maybe I made it further along). I suppose I can understand why it happened, though. With the sheer volume of material that’s submitted to some of these magazines, especially one of the caliber of Cemetery Dance, it’s nearly impossible to personalize rejections. Otherwise, nothing would ever get published. But still, it would have been nice …

To put a positive spin on things, though, you could say that I accomplished something else in 2013: I got my first rejection 🙂 At least that means I wrote something, and that I overcame inertia and fear and actually submitted it, knowing full well that in all probability it would get rejected. But I consider it a part of my growth as a writer. After all, if you can’t handle rejection, there’s no reason to be a writer, unless, of course, all you want to do is keep your stories to yourself, hidden somewhere on your computer. But that’s not me. I’d like at least one other person besides my lovely wife to read something I’ve written.

I’d like to thank all those who left encouraging comments on my original post. I appreciated each of them. One in particular, though, had some advice that I plan to follow. I’d like to thank Michael over at Parlor of Horror for taking the time to give me some good suggestions on what to do with my stories. So thanks, Michael 🙂

I’ll post the rejected story soon, then some of my other work. Eventually, I’ll even post some of my W(s)IP. I’d also like to find a writing buddy at some point, or an alpha reader, preferably someone serious about their writing and their interest in reading over works in progress. I’ve also heard about some folks having great success with online writer’s groups, so I’d like to pursue that as well. I’ve already got an account on scribophile.com; now all I need to do is become active within the community.

Should make the remainder of the year interesting, and hopefully productive.

–dp

Fear of our own writing (a reblog of sorts)

July 10, 2013 6 comments

I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo over the last several years. As part of that, I signed up to receive notifications from a number of NaNoWriMo forums on various subjects. While most aren’t of much interest at this time of year (for me, since I immerse myself in the insanity in November), occasionally a post comes along that merits attention. Today I read one such post. It was so good, in my opinion, I felt compelled to respond to the original submitter in the NaNoWriMo forum, despite my lack of eloquence at the time. I also thought it worthy of a wider distribution, because I think what’s discussed is nearly universal for writers who’ve yet to gain confidence in their craft, like me.

The forum post is entitled, On Writing and Fear: A Realization

It was written by Heather. She gave me permission to pass this along. Go read it. I think you’ll be impressed by this twenty-five year old’s maturity.

http://nanowrimo.org/en/forums/reaching-50-000/threads/114149

For those who don’t want to click on the link above, here’s what she wrote:

If you are at the point that I have been, then I hope this means something to you.

In all of my education and socializing and acquainting myself with the world, I have learned many things. Most of them were very good. Some of them were not.

One of them has… if I can say the words, through trembling lips… destroyed me as a writer.

I learned to be afraid.

I learned that it was not the worst thing to be thought unskilled. There is patience to be found for new writers, who lack experience but not ambition or passion. It is not the worst thing to be thought peculiar. There are a multitude of universes, and corners of universes, where there are readers who beg for material that others would find unsavory or strange.

What I learned to fear was being thought ridiculous.

I learned that the emotions that I held sacred could be pulled from their houses, stripped of their layers of meaning, and dragged through the streets. I learned they could be laughed at, scorned, lampooned. I learned that one man’s honesty is another man’s farce.

So I learned to write, when I could, through a mirror, darkly. I learned to scrutinize every word that flowed from my pen, to see whether it could be twisted and scorned. I learned to be careful not to let myself be open, to fear the daggers of those who came with mocking laughter.

I learned to write dishonestly. And this destroyed me.

I could not be creative. Who would want to be, if they could not tell the truth? Who was willing to shout the truth, if they were afraid to be dismissed with derision?

I learned to apologize for everything I did, to push it away from myself as quickly as possible. If it was mocked, I could mock it as well. I could laugh, be self-effacing. They could not bludgeon me with a weapon I used to bludgeon myself. They could not impale me with their laughter if I was already laughing.

I no longer wrote anything worth reading, because I no longer wrote with integrity.

It has taken me years to remember the courage that I had before I knew I needed to be courageous.

Now I sit, shaking, at the threshold of a familiar country. I am like Eve in the garden, ashamed of my nakedness, clutching desperately at the omissions and apologies that cover me like leaves. When I reach for truth, I know it will burn me, turning to ash the thickened skin of guilt and fear that I have grown.

I learned to be afraid. I am still afraid. I am terrified.

But I cannot run from the words that thrum in my soul, beating against my ribs like a cage, demanding that I let them loose before they destroy me from inside. I cannot shut my mouth from shouting the music that has swelled in my lungs.

If I am mocked, so be it. If I am ridiculous, so be it. If you would parade me through the streets like Lady Godiva, then I will climb onto the horse and ride with the wind in my hair, naked and unashamed.