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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Follower Obsession

When did this whole blog following thing become an obsession? As of late, I've seen dozens of people holding contests to celebrate their following numbers. The obsession is like contagious. I don't recall bloggers getting overly excited about their counter stats. But ever since this following feature was implemented, it's non stop. What happened to the bloggers who didn't care how many people were reading posts?

This isn't to say I don't appreciate 21 people signing up to see what my next ramblings will be. But I'm not getting my panties in a bunch because the number isn't in the 600 range. I am curious how the whole idea came about; to turn blogs in to like mini-cults. Counter stats and RSS feeds aren't enough. We need a feature to display the cult-like following some blogs have with readers soaking in their every word as gospel.

If you want to celebrate your reader status, by all means, do so, but I just think it isn't anything to whine about if your follower numbers aren't in the thousands after a few short months. The obsession is kind of scary. You don't think there is some virtual zombie bug going around, do you?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

WIP Wednesday - Coming Out of Hibernation

Still haven't dove in to writing but I may not be for a little while. I've yanked out my trusty notebook and jotted down several ideas. Anyone of them are capable of growing big and strong in to a gruesome piece of art. However, upon trying to get organized for the umpteenth time, I noticed the twenty other stories chilling in their hyperbaric chambers; the ones I haven't touched in a couple of years. So, I'm trying to put my concentration on them.

I'm starting with "Sealed with Anguish" since that was the first project I committed to. Then, I'm switching to "The Boy in the Book". I wrote this story for a contest. Participants had to pick a fairytale and put their own spin to it. So, I chose "Spirit in the Bottle". I changed the bottle to a book and the woods to a bookstore. It didn't win and now that I've re-read it, I see why. There's very little of the story I still like. It's going in for some major word surgery. Then, it'll be "Blackbird Paranormal Society"; a Nano story that will also be receiving quite a bit of word surgery.

Somewhere in between all the cutting and sewing, I have to fit in reading. I finished one review (you can read it here) and began reading the next book. I also received another request for a book review. I'm happy some people are putting their trust in me to give my honest opinion about their work but I'm starting to feel a bit overwhelmed; especially since I'm also falling behind on Ghost Stories posts. One bloody stumpy step at a time...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dances With Doubt

Ever feel like you're always a mile behind everyone else? After eight years, I thought I would be at a certain place by now. Hobnobbing with fangs and fur in majestic balls. That kind of thing. Every time I read a book or article on writing, it seems I shouldn't be getting more rejections than acceptances; Instead, a healthy dose of both. One Brian Keene article and a serious Robin Williams movie and I'm left wondering what the hell did I get myself in to. Okay....maybe not so much. But you get what I'm saying right?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Setting It Aside

Dear Andrea,

Thank you for the opportunity to read "Sealed With Anguish". Unfortunately, your story isn't quite what we're looking for right now. Each month, we receive hundreds of submissions and while I may like many of them, I can only publish twelve of them per year.

In the past, we've provided detailed feedback on our rejections, but I'm afraid that due to time considerations, we're no longer able to offer that service. I appreciate your interest in Clarkesworld Magazine and hope that you'll keep us in mind in the future.

Take care,

Neil Clarke
Publisher/Editor
Clarkesworld Magazine
www.clarkesworldmagazine.com


For those keeping count, this makes rejection number five for this story. I'm going to tweak it a bit before sending it out to anyone else. After another quick look over, I realized it comes off a little too contemporary and not enough horror. So, will see...

Constant Contest

Simon C. Larter over at Constant Revision is hosting "The Most Epic Contest in the History of the Blogosphere" for reaching 250 followers. He is offering a plethora of ways to enter: comment, tweet, blog, ransom note. You can also write either a poem or flash fiction 1,000 words or less, using two or all of the prompts provided. Each ups your chances to win one of a variety of prizes including being immortalized in fiction or sonnet, a bottle of vodka, books or gift certificate.

Deadline is May 8th. For more guidelines visit his blog at http://constantrevisions.blogspot.com.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Make the Novels go Away

I've written short stories most of my so called writing career. Why...because novels scare the hell out of me. I read constantly. I don't know how some writers manage to plant the Easter eggs throughout an entire book to keep the plot fresh. Unfold everything at the right time so the reader stays interested in finding what happens next.

I attempted to write a novel once. Managed to get to chapter three and became bored with it. I think that's one of my main problems. I'm afraid I'll get bored with the story before even finishing it. I've heard of writers who start writing a novel and it takes them the span of decades to complete it. I don't want to be one of those writers. I've thought about trying my hand at a short story collection, but I want to be at a place where I'm getting more acceptance letters in my inbox instead of rejections. Or perhaps an even amount of both. Just a better paradise than I'm in right now.

Whimsical Rejection

Dear Andrea Allison

Thank you for sending us "Sealed With Anguish". I've reviewed the story and decided not to purchase it. It's well written but, I feel, a little too whimsical in its conception of a monster community (if not in it's actual "deal with the devil" type plot). You may want to consider submitting it to our sister podcast, Podcastle, which deals with fantasy stories (we do not share submissions).

Thanks for submitting, and I hope my comments have been at least a tiny bit helpful.

Sincerely,
Shawn Garrett
PSEUDOPOD - The Horror Podcast Magazine
http://pseudopod.org


Whimsical? Really?
Hmm....okay, I guess.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Finding the Right Market

I started this year with the ambition to improve on the previous. Every writer has their individual process; one I’m still trying to develop. The number of submissions I sent out in 2009 equals five. Not entirely impressive by some standards. Four months in to 2010, I’ve doubled that number. But I’ve had one problem: finding the right market for one of my short stories.

With some short stories, you have the market in mind while in the process of writing it. Others you develop the idea with hope you’ll find it a good home or two. In 2008, I finished a course with Long Ridge Writers Group. My final assignment was to write a short story. I wrote it in a supernatural setting with a satirical overtone. I figured the supernatural elements made it horror automatically. A year, two or three revisions and four submissions later, I’m still trying to find the right market.

The last rejection, and the only personal one for this story, suggested it was more drama than horror. I understand this is the opinion of one person versus the several who critiqued it prior to any submissions. Truth is I wasn’t quite sure where to submit this story. Thus, leaving me with a dilemma: continue to find the right market for it or consider changing some elements of the plot. A decision I will make after receiving a response from the last market I sent it to.

Finding the right magazine/anthology for your short stories may not always be easy. Knowing the market including what they have published in the past will help to find your story a home. Sometimes the opportunity has to be created by you where none can be found.

Courtesy of Write Anything. Check out my posts every Thursday and for this month [Fiction] Friday.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

WIP Wednesday – Read Read Read

I admit I haven’t been writing as much as I should (deserve a few finger slaps for that). But my valuable time has not been wasted. Been slacking off on writing but keeping up with my reading duties. I’m almost halfway through the first ebook on my agenda, taking notes along the way. Not to give too much away prior to my review, the plot isn’t so boring I want to delete it from my computer, but whoever edited this thing (if it ever made it into an editors hands) did not do a thorough job. I can deal with a few mistakes. We’re all human and can’t find them all. However, some of what I’ve come across are not-so-hard-to-find slip ups. I know I’m not highly experienced in the writing field as my publishing credits reflect, but if I see them then an average reader will too.

I also finished the second print issue of Necrotic Tissue. A lot of fine stories printed in it. I don’t think I’ll ever look at a clown the same way again much less a dentist. And having sex with zombies doesn’t sound all that appealing. All of which makes for a good read. Definitely will be buying a subscription whenever I can scrape up some money. Will be moving on to Shock Totem next.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Inheriting the Old

I hate inheriting someone's hand-me-downs. During my absence last week, my computer decided it was time to visit electronic heaven. The new used power supply my step-dad put in it a few weeks ago gave out. So, instead of replacing it yet again, he slaved my old hard drive into a new used computer (look at me speaking all techie!).

Then comes the tedious work of sorting through all the files on the original hard drive. If you're going to switch computers, couldn't you at least....I don't know.....go through all the files on your old computer and delete any you have saved on disk or don't need anymore. It saves time from someone else having to do it. This is what I spent my weekend doing along with a little laundry. Isn't my life grand....

Friday, April 09, 2010

Didn't Get It

So after three days of coughing, sneezing, and other gross elements I will not discuss here, I come back to this lovely jewel waiting in my inbox:

We at Necrotic Tissue received your submission: "Sealed With Anguish". After considered review by our editorial staff we have decided not to publish your story.

You're a strong writer, and I really enjoyed the story, but there was one problem I had with it. Keep in mind I'm one editor, and another editor may love this piece.

While there were horrific elements in the story, it is not the type of horror we look for at Necrotic Tissue. Deadly amounts of silver were placed in some samples, but it's not clear if this was intentional or an accident. For that reason, I would consider this to be a drama piece instead of horror.

Please also take a few minutes and log our response time at
www.duotrope.com. We work hard to respond to writers in a timely manner, which allows them to submit again to another market if not selected for publication. Reporting response times helps us attract writers and helps writers make good decisions about where they want to submit.

Please come join us at:

The Haunt, Horror Mall's very own forum (
http://www.horror-mall.com/haunt/NecroticTissue)

MySpace (
www.myspace.com/necrotictissuemag)

First of all, I thank the editorial staff at Necrotic Tissue Magazine for sending me feedback with my rejection. It's quite refreshing after the numerous form rejects. However, I don't think they got what the story was about. It was implied how the deadly amounts of silver got to the kid. Everyone who crit this piece seemed to get it. I don't know. This is the fourth rejection for this story. Maybe I'm not submitting it to the right markets. Will see what Pseudopod has to say.

Monday, April 05, 2010

What Can I Say About Today?

cough...cough....ugh....ahem...grr.....cough....s**t.....ahem....sneeze...

I think that says it all. One thing I hate about Spring is the allergies. They're silent intruders sent out to make everyone's life miserable. In my case, it's dragging down my will to do.....anything. I wrote out this nice pretty schedule to prioritize all the things I need to do this week and don't feel like doing any of it.

The eBook I'm reading is called Reads Like Murder in Honolulu By G Donovan. It's fairly good so far which makes reading it on a computer screen less painful. No eye gauging going here yet. A few months ago, I purchased quite a few copies of different magazines. I'm just now getting to them, starting with the second issue of Necrotic Tissue. Really liked "Tenure" by: Eric R. Lowther. Nothing like a zombie demanding civil rights.

In the spirit of being productive, I finally picked up one of my Nano short stories from 2008 and began the editing phase. So far, I don't like anything about it and often wonder why I wrote it in the first place. It read like a bad episode of Ghost Hunters. Also starting a news story, "Mr. Blythewart's Human Extravaganza (working title).

Sunday, April 04, 2010

A Blast From Easter Past


This was taken Easter 86'. I was about three years old. Wasn't I cute? Wishing everyone a safe and Happy Easter!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Sweet Rejection

Dear Andrea,

Thank you for your recent submission to CUTTING BLOCK PRESS for our upcoming anthology "Horror Library Vol 4". By the end of our submission period we will have read well over a thousand stories this time around...final decisions did not come easy.
We have received and read your submission, and it has made it through our editing staff. Unfortunately, at this time we're going to have to pass on your story. While well written and interesting, we felt it just didn't fit what we were looking for at this time for the collection.
Thank you again for your interest, and we wish you all the best with your writing. We'll be reading again in a few months for Vol 5. Keep an eye on Ralan's and our website for updates and guidelines for submissions.

R.J. Cavender
CuttingBlock.Net