What I meant to post

Erm, when I logged in, I meant to post my writing stats. But my brain went fwoop instead.


“Running On Two Legs” (formerly titled “In the Voices of Innocents”) received 23 critiques on Critters as of this AM. Re-write complete and story away into the marketplace and to Ann Crispin for the Dragon*Con advanced workshop.

Rejection received from the Vivisections anthology on “Reign of the Wintergod.” With some extremely complimentary comments. But, still a no. This will be a hard story to place as it’s extremely visceral and explicit. Most markets won’t touch something this graphic. Damn.

Threw “It’s Only Springtime When She’s Gone” up into the Critters queue.

1000 words start made on “Of Two Minds in Lanais” (working title), which will be one of my rare high fantasy efforts. It’s something of a writing exercise for me more than anything else.

I did a tally. I’m four rejections away from my one hundredth one. Wonder if I should throw a party when I get it. Hurmph.

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26 Responses to What I meant to post

  1. reudaly says:

    I like the new title! I had a feeling “running” needed to be in the title, but I share your challenge at naming things. Let me know where that finds a home.

    I think the 100th rejection letter party is a fun idea.

    • Eugie Foster says:

      I like the new title!

      Thanks! Me too. “In the Voices of Innocents” was way unwieldy and too wispy for the sort of story I think “Running” is.

      Y’know, I keep mulling over the writers adage that the way to get over the waiting anxiety once you send something out is to write another story, but that’s so not true. I’m writing myself brain buzzed and I’m still all impatient and antsy about the mailbox contents. ARGH. I hate waiting.

      I used to be patient. Really, I was. And then I started marketing in earnest. There’s something very Catch 22 about that. Glah.

      Maybe a big, drunken bash is what I need. Yeah.

      • reudaly says:

        Yeah, well, I’m not all THAT concerned with the mailbox waiting at the moment. I should be, but I’m not. I have three major projects demanding my projects, and the pile of “Things to Be Fixed” and “Things to Finish”. Fortunately, I should have ONE of the major projects revised later today or tomorrow. Then I don’t have to worry about THAT one for a while.

        I do have to get a few pieces out again pretty soon. I was encouraged this weekend – my mentor writer said one of her pieces once received ~35 rejections before it finally sold. The others hovered around 15.

        That’s always encouraging. I think.

        • Eugie Foster says:

          The others hovered around 15.

          That’s way encouraging, actually. Most of my stuff hasn’t received nearly that many rejections yet. (I’ve got a lot of stories out and have only been marketing seriously for the last two years.) ‘Course the ones that have been out the longest, I’m thinking of trunking. Reading them over, I’m finding I’m dissatisfied with them now.

          I think the waiting is easier when I don’t think I’ve got a snowball’s chance in a microwave set on high. But when I get “short listed” notification or otherwise believe I’m closer to getting a “yes”, it becomes torturous. Right now, I’ve got two stories shortlisted at two anthologies, and one that’s being held for “further consideration” at a magazine market, and it’s driving me nuts.


          • reudaly says:

            Of course the statistic I told you about was in answer to the question: “What’s the most rejections you’ve gotten for one story?”

            But I understand about the short list anxiety. I’m starting to feel it a little with something I just sent to ANALOG – they haven’t rejected it within a week (like they have everything else of mine) – so I’m half afraid they’re ACTUALLY considering it. 😎

            All this talk makes me want to go and count my rejections for the past year – which is all I’ve been seriously trying to sell things. Been screwing around with this idea of a writing career since I was about 10 years old, but only been serious about it for the last year. How sad is that?

          • Eugie Foster says:

            Good luck with your Analog sub. I’ve only sent something once to them. It’s a market I don’t think I’ll ever crack. I just don’t write enough of the hard core sciencey stuff that they print.

            Been screwing around with this idea of a writing career since I was about 10 years old, but only been serious about it for the last year. How sad is that?

            Not sad at all, I’m thinking. I’ve wanted to be a writer since, well, since I can remember having a memory. But it took me this long to finally do anything about it–aside from writing rather dismal prose and chucking it into the oubliette-of-nevermore folder on my hard drive.

          • reudaly says:

            Oh, my screwing around consisted of about 3 or 4 years of fan fic writing. THAT’s gotten some good feedback, but about as profitable as the lost oubliette in the hard drive.

  2. oracne says:

    100! Wow!

    Think of it like this: that means you’ve made over 100 submissions. And all the writing that accompanied them. So you’ve gotten all that practice. And the more you submit, the more you are likely to sell.

    If you don’t submit, you won’t sell. I know you know that, but sometimes I like to be reminded.

    What’s that method, everyone’s supposed to do 1000 pages of writing? 10,000? Damn, I can’t remember whose exercise(?) that was.

    • Eugie Foster says:

      100! Wow!

      Thanks. *Rueful grin* ‘Course, I’d be much more impressed with myself if I was nearing the 100th acceptance, but well, long road to go before that becomes more than anything but a pipe dream. Sigh.

      What’s that method, everyone’s supposed to do 1000 pages of writing? 10,000? Damn, I can’t remember whose exercise(?) that was.

      Um. I dunno. I recently set myself a goal of writing 1000 words a day (mitigated by life circumstances and re-writing necessity, etc.) and it’s working out pretty good so far. I write with the “spew” method, so 1000 is not that arduous for me to hit, but it’s also a decent chunk of progress. If I can stick with it, I can keep my productivity level pretty steady.

      I’ve heard that a writer’s first million words are all training and you have to get those out of the way before you can start pumping out the quality stuff. Is that what you meant? I don’t buy that completely, in that I’m way far away from hitting a million and I’ve still managed to get a couple decent things out. But I do agree that the only way to improve is to keep at it regularly. Hell, my writing skills (and my brain) all goes to sludge if I don’t write for even so short a time as a week.

      My goal is to be like Ray Bradbury. He writes a short story (or the equivalent) a week. The best I can seem to manage is one every other week.

      “I will work harder.”
      –Boxer from Animal Farm

      • katen says:

        I’m not sure I buy the million word thing either. I think it’s a constant learning process. That doesn’t exclude good stories being written early in ones career or utter sheit being written after twenty years. I wonder if Ray Bradbury would say he’s still learning after the millions of words he’s written.

        Yeah, I shouldn’t take the writing brakes I do because the writing brain gets out of shape so quickly. If only I could keep the rest of my world from going to hell when I’m writing. Can’t manage that balancing act.

        I’ve never tallied my rejection slips! *looks at her file cabinet suspiciously*

        • Eugie Foster says:

          Y’know, I think writers do hit a peak and then sort of plateau, or in a lot of cases, decline in quality over time. Plus a lot of the greats seem to pump out works of variable quality throughout their careers.

      • oracne says:

        The spew method is what I’m trying to train myself to do. But I don’t get anywhere near 1000 words a day. I think you’re doing great.

        • Eugie Foster says:

          I’ve heard before that there are two types of writers:

          1. The kind who just dump huge quantities of words onto the page willy-nilly and then re-write, revise, and cull, spending easily as much time revising as they do generating fresh prose. (My type.)

          2. The kind who agonize over every single sentence, spending gobs of time on each word to make sure that it comes out right the first time, requiring minimal revision and re-writes. (Harlan Ellison, I believe, writes like this.)

          There’s plenty of examples of famous, succesful, and brilliant authors in both categories, so if you don’t spew, I wouldn’t fret it. 🙂

          • oracne says:

            I think I’m a combination of the two. I have a lot of excess if I’m not sure where I’m going and I’m not rigidly following an outline. IF I know what I’m writing, sometimes there’s just polishing to do after the draft is done.

            Sometimes, I turn out crap, or something where the prose is good but the story is meaningless. Everybody goes up and down in quality. It’s all relative.

  3. mouseferatu says:

    Re: More practice required

    I’m not even going to bother berating you for being an asshole in someone else’s journal. I’ve just looked at your user info, and you obviously take pride in being an asshole.

    I will only say that your comment really accomplishes nothing but to display your complete and utter ignorance of the way the writing industry operates, considering that the best-selling authors in the world still have enough rejection slips from early in their career to wallpaper a house. So while you’re welcome to continue this discussion and go even further toward proving your own idiocy–not that it was in any doubt–or you slither back to your own journal and your own “friends,” and not butt in where you aren’t wanted.

    • Eugie Foster says:

      My knight in white (ebony?) armor

      Chivalry isn’t dead. Mousie-fangs, you tell your lovely wife, George, that she’d better hold on tight to you, or when she’s not looking, you’ll get absconded with and glomped on.

      Thanks, sweetie. 🙂


      • mouseferatu says:

        Re: My knight in white (ebony?) armor

        Wow. Absconded with and glomped on? If George weren’t quite as wonderful as she is, it might almost be worth it. 🙂

        (Actually, she says she agrees with you 100%, and keep your paws off…) 😉

        Seriously, people like this really piss me off just on general principle, even more so when they’re attacking my friends.

        You may know this already, but you can ban individuals from commenting in your journal. Check the FAQ, and it’ll give you the link and instructions.

        • Eugie Foster says:

          Re: My knight in white (ebony?) armor

          George is a very wise lady ;).

          Assholes are way up there on my list of piss off factors too. But I try to remember that they behave in such annoying ways because their lives are so dull and meaningless, even to them, that the only spark they can get in their dismal, insignificant existences, is to get a rise out of people. When put in that context, it bothers me less. Of course, it bothers me even less if they get disemboweled by unweaned kittens and have their eyes gouged out by hamsters on steroids, but hey, can’t have everything.

          You may know this already, but you can ban individuals from commenting in your journal

          Yepper. I banned him and knocked off anonymous posting for now. Annoying, but since I don’t usually get anonymous posters anyway, it’s no big. I’ll probably re-enable it at some future date, when I remember to.

          • mouseferatu says:

            Re: My knight in white (ebony?) armor

            You want to hear something truly sad?

            Let’s go back to yesterday. Realizing what sort of a social trogolodyte this guy is, I preemptively banned him from my journal before commenting. I didn’t disable anon posting, though, because I have a few friends who occasionally comment in my journal. I do long anonymous IPs, so I figured that if he posted anything too obnoxious, I could just take it to LJ Maintenance. I also figured that he wouldn’t be happy posting anonymously, given the (obviously unjustified) ego.

            So get this. He actualy took the time and effort required to create an anonymous post to a recent entry, and then to actually create and insert a graphic of his own, non-anonymous post beneath it, so on casual inspection it looked like he’d managed to post in response to this anonymous comment, despite being banned. :-/

            I don’t know what he thought was going to happen, that I wouldn’t realize very quickly what he’d done and just delete the “anonymous” post (which I’ve already done). But while I don’t know web programming, it still amazes me that he has such a burning desire to insult people (even when they’re not very good insults) that he went to all that time and trouble. He needs a life in the worst way, although I suppose I’m not remotely surprised he doesn’t have one.

          • Eugie Foster says:

            Re: My knight in white (ebony?) armor

            Oh my Gawd. That is just too funny and too tragic for words. That lame-ass really lacks anything resembling a life, doesn’t he? Makes me almost pity him. “Almost” ’cause it’s too hard for me to pity someone while at the same time grinning at mental pictures of iguanas chewing off their testicles. I really need to learn how to multi-task better . . .

  4. Eugie Foster says:

    Re: More practice required

    Spoken like someone utterly unacquainted with the writing biz. Actually, I’m rather pleased with how I’m doing, considering that my first fiction sale was to a top tier professional market with a circulation of tens of thousands and a pay scale eight times higher than most professional markets. Plus I don’t submit to non-paying markets, semi-pros that pay below a minimum scale, or most electronic markets.

    Furthermore, my non-fiction publications, which I didn’t include in my tally since I have received zero rejections for those efforts, includes a college-level psychology textbook (publishers: Allyn & Bacon). So, let’s see if I can diagnose you. Hmm, you would be a socially inept moron who, understandably, has no friends but does have a myriad of intimacy issues due to your inability to maintain an erection save with barnyard creatures who would rebuke your advances except that they’re penned in and you bribe them with corn. Oh, and your mama undoubtedly beat you with a rusty poker, to which I can only say that she should have used a sledgehammer instead.

    In short, go troll somewhere else, fuckwit.

    • dr_pipe says:

      Re: More practice required

      Did you write the whole textbook, or were you a contributer, or what? How do you get into a job like that anyway? I thought textbooks were written by 60 year old professors and stuff.

      I was just going through Analog yesterday, as a matter of fact (speaking of Analog on this thread, though admittedly not in the particular post I’m replying to), and thinking I really don’t like their style. There’s just something about it. Their editorial attitude smacks of a certian, I don’t know, self-assured conservatism, luddism even, maybe. Now, don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing wrong with a story that focuses on the potentially bad or dangerous aspects of new technology; Bruce Sterling has done plenty. But the story I read last night had the character spend the first third of the story complaining about his Politically Correct computer that kept offering him too many choices, and then the main problem of the story seemed to involve these people who had nanotech that gave them whatever they wanted, and became mentally ill because they couldn’t handle all those choices: 3278 options for breakfast, 702 kinds of coffee, electricity made from which ever portion of the spectrum of light you prefer your solar collectors to collect, etc. That’s not a story about harmful technology; it’s a story about grandparents who are afraid to learn how to program the VCR. Even that could be an okay story, if it was treated humorously, like the main character was an idiot. But instead, the author seemed to be saying that the people with the nanotech homes were the idiots, for wanting all those choices in the first place, and they got what they had coming to them. This is just one example of the things that irritate me about Analog.

      As far as the graphic nature of that Winder God story you wrote–some of the best stories I’ve read are very explicit or graphic or disturbing. But those are all in anthologies; Bruce Sterling’s Cyberpunk Anthology; of course any Stephen King Anthology; the Essential Ellison has a few (although, the graphic violence of his stories may be more acceptable to our twisted culture than the graphic sexual content of your story)… Where the hell do these things get published?

      • Eugie Foster says:

        Textbooks, Analog, and graphicness in fiction

        Did you write the whole textbook, or were you a contributer, or what?

        I was co-author to my advisor in graduate school. My advisor was fantastic. She’s retired now, but she was a major mover and shaker in the field of Developmental Psychology. Her textbooks were and are widely used in university Psych. classes, so I was very fortunate to get selected as her graduate assistant. I was helping her with the next edition of her Child Development textbook and she told me that she was very impressed by my writing ability, and hey, she must’ve meant it. When she offered me a co-authorship on the supplemental textbook, you could’ve knocked me over with a whisper.

        How do you get into a job like that anyway? I thought textbooks were written by 60 year old professors and stuff.

        They are. The trick is to network with them. You work your tail off, write real good, and impress them in your class work. And then there’s luck.

        I was just going through Analog yesterday . . . and thinking I really don’t like their style.

        Yah. I can grok you. I cycle through my major magazine subscriptions so I can keep an eye on the flavor and style of the places I submit to. I dropped my Analog subscription last year. Not sure if I’ll pick it up when my F&SF one expires. I just don’t think it’s a market I’ll crack, or that I want to try to write to crack it even, if you get my gist. I’m a scientist at heart, but even so, Analog stories were often a little dry for my tastes.

        some of the best stories I’ve read are very explicit or graphic or disturbing . . . Where the hell do these things get published?

        The markets are out there, but they’re rare and far between. Mostly anthologies are the best bets, which is why I had my hopes pinned on Vivisections. Magazine markets, except for the small semi-pros, tend to be more conservative. And most of the semi-pros that do accept the graphic stuff are too small for me to want to submit to.

        Oh, hey. I was cycling through the Critters queue last week and I realized I’d missed your story completely when it came up a couple weeks back. I really had meant to do yours. I’m a big believer in returning critiques, but life went kablooie at about the time yours bubbled up, and it slipped through the cracks. Sorry ’bout that.

        • dr_pipe says:

          Re: Textbooks, Analog, and graphicness in fiction

          That’s pretty damn cool about the textbook. I think maybe Omni and Playboy and Penthouse publish good stories with graphic content. I’ve heard they pay like $2000 for them, too. But it’s probably pretty hard to get in to a market like that; one story per month.

          It’s not too late to give me a critique, if you felt like it. Though I don’t know if you would get credit for it; not sure how the critters thing works for old submissions like that. But don’t worry; I got some helpful ones. Helpful mostly because their misunderstandings demonstrated how unclear I must have been, anyway. I’ve made a (slightly) revised version since then. I just can’t seem to handle revision; as I mentioned in another post recently, to me a story seems like I’m building a brick wall, word by word; there’s only freedom to change things at the top of the wall (or the bottom of the page). Everywhere else, things are just too cemented together; change one thing and everything falls apart. That’s probably a psychological problem on my end more than an accurate description of my stories, but there it is. I’m definitely more of the Vonnegut, Ellison style writer you mentioned above.

          • Eugie Foster says:

            Re: Textbooks, Analog, and graphicness in fiction

            I think maybe Omni and Playboy and Penthouse publish good stories with graphic content.

            Actually, Playboy recently replaced their fiction editor. The new editor doesn’t like genre works (aside from the occasional mystery) and hence, that market is effectively dead for speculative fiction. It was already a very long shot for anyone without a huge name, but now the last nail really is in the box. Penthouse publishes a “Dear Ms. Xavier” pornum forum, but “Wintergod” isn’t of the “I fucked the water delivery boy on my boss’ desk and ooo” variety so wouldn’t fit there. Is Omni still around? I thought it’d folded some years back? Maybe not. I met Ellen Datlow, the fiction editor for Omni at WorldCon some years back. (Very cool woman. I found out we have a lot in common. Like we both skipped a bunch of grades as children and ended up in college by the age of sixteen, that sort of thing.) But she’d just taken on the editorship of Scifi.com and I got the impression then that Omni was no more.

            It’s not too late to give me a critique . . . I’ve made a (slightly) revised version since then.

            If it’s cool with you, since you’ve already begun your revisions, I’ll just wait until your next submission bubbles up the queue. I’m pretty deep into a first draft of a high fantasy yarn currently, and I’d like to focus on that while my muse is feeling cooperative. I so rarely write high fantasy, and then to have this idea pop into my head . . .

            Just gimme a head’s up the week that you’ve got something up for critique so I don’t forget. 🙂

          • dr_pipe says:

            Re: Textbooks, Analog, and graphicness in fiction

            No problem at all. Though It’ll probably be a while before I’ve got another finished piece; I write at a snail’s pace and this one was about 5 months from first conception to completed draft. It wasn’t the only thing I worked on in that time, of course, but still.

            About Omni and the others, you’re probably right; I don’t keep up with any of that stuff. I read what I told you at least a few years ago.

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