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Posts Tagged ‘writer’

On writing: Cemetery Dance 2 : Dave 0

July 17, 2014 18 comments

Just found out today that the story I submitted for an upcoming anthology (October Dreams 2) from Cemetery Dance was, to put it euphemistically, not accepted. On to the particulars. Turns out that around 200 people submitted stories. From those they decided to use 3. What is that? 1.5%? Guess I shouldn’t feel too bad for not making it into the top 98+% 🙂 On the plus side, the editor (Richard Chizmar) looking over the stories did say that around 10% of the stories were excellent and that they’d already decided to use several of the others for various publications. Who knows, maybe I’ll make it into one of those? Oh, and I should also note that he personally read through all the submissions (yeah, that’s right, 200 short stories!). How many times is that going to happen? I thought that was pretty cool, and I thought it was pretty awesome that he chose to request submissions like he did. I can only hope he chooses to do the same thing in the future.

The original request for submissions and subsequent notification of those selected has all been done via Facebook. A perk, I suppose, for being a friend (Facebook only) of the founder of Cemetery Dance publications 🙂 Now here’s the question: do you think it would be unreasonable, or bad form, to send a message to him to ask if my particular story made it into the top 10%, or even 3% (they considered 6 stories in the end)? I’m not really worried about whether it didn’t, but just curious about whether my story was decent, as in good enough that a writer/editor for one of the premiere horror/dark fiction publications thought my story was worthwhile. Yeah, I know, I suppose in the end it’s really just about me getting some validation and all that. But for some reason I’m really feeling the need to know something, anything, even if mine was in the “gee that wasn’t so great pile”. But, I also don’t want to come across as too amateurish (even though I am). Thoughts?

Well, now it’s on to the next big adventure(s). In the short-term, I think that might be, along with working on the stories already in progress, looking for other good horror/dark fiction publications that are accepting short stories. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know.

A final note: as fate would have it, just yesterday, I saw this blog post : How to take rejection.

Read through this short but helpful article. The last paragraph sums up the writing life.

Here’s the lesson to remember: far better writers than you have been rejected far more often. In success, you will be able to look back fondly at the people who’ve said no. But to get to that success, you’ve got to power through the failures.

Update: Thanks everyone for your responses and encouragement. After hearing what everyone had to say, and allowing some time to pass, I think I’ll most likely just let it go and concentrate on writing and finding other good publications that would consider my genre. When I jump into the submission arena again, I’ll be sure and give an update.

–dp

On writing: Pantser’s dilemma

August 27, 2013 15 comments

When it comes to writing, I’m a pantser (as in fly by the seat of my pants). I’ve always been one. An idea will come to me … a scene, a line of dialogue, a title. Just about anything can start me off on something that I know is a bigger story. Once that happens, I’ll sit down and start typing away. Almost always, the words will then flow onto the virtual page. Soon, I feel like I’m watching a story unfold and I become an observer, there to simply record what’s happening, like a courtroom stenographer. When I’m in this mode of writing, there is no better feeling. It’s quite a magical journey. But there is a downside to this style of writing, and it finds me frequently (thankfully not always).

For example, my current work in progress is complete in the sense that it has an opening and an ending (both pretty close to what I originally thought of back when the story first came to me) and, for the most part, all that goes in between. But now I feel stuck. I have characters that I don’t think are fully realized, and a significant plot detail that I haven’t dealt with very well, at least in my mind. So I’ve been spinning my wheels over and over, trying to figure out how to flesh out my main characters. And the plot detail in question, which is central to the story, has been just about impossible for me to work with, leaving me less than satisfied with how it plays out through the book. So what does this have to do with anything?

Well, I’ve begun wondering if I would be in this same position had I switched over to the other end of the writing spectrum, to that of a plotter. The plotter, unlike me, thinks about the structure of their story and outlines the plot and characters and chapters and scenes before typing away at the story itself. If I’d spent time thinking about everything beforehand, would I have envisioned the problematic plot element earlier and perhaps avoided missing the mark? Would my characters be more three-dimensional and believable? And would my overall novel have turned out better? Or would it have fallen flat and felt stale from overthinking every detail? Would all the spontaneity and fun of writing evaporate, leaving the experience dull and boring?

I don’t have the answers to these questions for myself, yet, though I’ve read many writers on both sides of the fence swear by what they are doing, whether it’s taking a structured approach, or pantsing their way through from beginning to end, or even mixing the two together. Time will tell, but I am tempted to try writing my next book from somewhere over on the side of the plotter, just to see how it goes.

Anyone have opinions? Are you a plotter? A pantser? A combination of both, a hybrid method of sorts (making you an inbetweener as I’ve heard someone else call this)?

–dp