Saturday, June 23, 2012

Shall We Play A Game?

Okay, fans of contests, games and other online funnery!  Here's a competition for you.  I'm calling it, "You Can't Win If You're Not in the Game."  The goal?  Rack up 100 rejections by the end of the year.  Truly, I'm aiming for the end of the summer, but realistic goals are a good thing.  The rules?  All your submissions MUST be in "good faith."  That is, they have to be well-researched with a chance of a reasonable fit.  For example, a realistic, literary fiction story submitted to a science fiction magazine doesn't count. A zombie gore-fest submitted to a literary fiction magazine doesn't count.  That part's going to be on the honor system, since I'm not about to spend my precious rejection-gathering time researching everybody else's submissions.  Your submissions don't have to be all the same pieces.  In the event that nobody reaches the goal of 100 rejections, the person with the most good-faith rejections wins.   Just to give everybody a head start, any rejections you've accumulated since January 1, 2012, can count towards your total.  That puts me at 10.  I guess I've got my  work cut out for me!  Lucky for me, I'm a teacher on summer vacation.

Why am I doing this?  I've been resolutely committing myself to submitting my short stories and other work and building up my rejection callouses.  It's not fun.  So I want to make it fun.  The more I submit, the better chance I get an acceptance.  The corollary?  The more rejections I get, the closer I am to that acceptance.  Mind you, every submission I make involves a certain amount of homework:  What kind of magazine, agent or publisher is a good fit for this particular piece?  How can I craft my cover/query letter to interest this magazine, agent or publisher?  Are there any new revisions that can make this piece even better?  What format or other rules does this magazine, editor or publisher have?

Putting all this effort in, on top of the effort to get a piece to what I honestly believe is submission-ready quality, takes a lot out of me.  Then I start second guessing myself and trying to read between the lines of silence.  Is a short turn-around time a bad sign or a good sign?  If it's been out there too long, does that mean it's gotten lost, is being considered, or what?  Did this one-sentence rejection reflect a complete disinterest in my piece or simply an efficient editor?  So, I'm changing the rules of the game to keep myself entertained and keep my chin up.

Whose with me???

Friday, June 15, 2012

Having Fun Again

A few weeks ago, I woke up with the first line of a story in my brain.  It featured two characters - Big Rosco and Taco Charlie.  I fell instantly in love with these names and these guys.  They tickled me and delighted me.  I wrote down the line and then ran with it, and I had a blast.  The story is still developing, but it is just so much fun!  I tend towards the darker stuff, and I've often thought I needed to inject more humor into my work.  It seems Big Rosco and Taco Charlie have shown up for just that purpose.  They came along right when I needed them, as I slogged through the end of the school year.  Now that summer has arrived for me, I can't wait to shake my nasty cold and dive in head first to Rosco and Charlie's wacky world and see where it takes me.

Have you ever had a character or story or line of inspiration show up in just the right way at just the right time to take you to a new place?

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Turn To the Dark Side, Luke

I am developing a nasty habit of letting other people do the work for me!  I blame the end of the school year and its collision with dragon boat race season.  Plus the fact that other bloggers have great things to say that are absolutely worth sharing.  With that in mind, this week I'm sharing a link to a post by Kell Andrews at Operation Awesome about the role of darkness in children's literature.  With the popularity of THE HUNGER GAMES, this topic has become a hot one in many discussions, but it's really not a new one.  Ever since humans first began attempting to identify childhood as a time of protected innocence, and define children's literature as a genre separate from adult literature, the debate over its role, over what's appropriate for young minds, over moralizing versus adventure, has simmered, raged, bubbled and percolated.  (Okay - I'm having fun with verbs - so sue me!)

Anyway, Kell's post is a great one to tickle this discussion back to life.  Check it out and jump into the conversation.  While you're at it, drink a toast to LEMONY SNICKET, a champion of the dark side if ever there was one.

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