Rejection, onwards!

Today, I received a letter from Black Static, the address written in my fair hand. Of course, the first response was a flutter in my chest and a quiet, upbeat, “Ooh!” The second response was to lever the edge of my keys under the flap and tear the aperture apart. I’m not sure if I directly expected the form rejection slip within, but I think part of me always did. (Another, more optimistic part, thought that the bulkiness of the envelope was caused by a lot of cheques rather than the advertising leaflet within.)

I’m not surprised, and I’m not saddened. I have read far too often that rejection is the most common bedfellow of the early writer. Conveniently, I seem to have internalised that straightforwardly enough – but I think I’ve always been oddly good at this: somehow mildy impervious to rejections from Oxford and UCL, much to the annoyance of my then lady.

There’s nothing more that can be done, so onwards.

Two paths beckon.

The first is the most simple. Keep on writing, keep on sending. Rejection slips are proof that work is getting finished and read. A readership of one is better than an unfinished manuscript, and I’d be more arrogant that I’d humbly admit if I expected 100% of my readers to enjoy my work. To that end, I need to finalise “Phage” and I need to actually write that steampunk Macbeth.

The second is a forked path, and where my dilemma lies: I could send “The Trees” and “Not a Bedtime Story” to another market and hope for publication and success. (I’ve been told by people whose readerly opinion I trust that they are of publishable quality, even if they’ve yet to be sold.) Or, I could save time submitting to markets that I’d need to find and spend that on new creation. Really that makes the most sense.

So what to do with these finished stories? I’m loath to let them rot in a digital fortress until they gain sentience and lose sanity. I don’t want to self-publish them, because I’d have to spend creativity time on making a good looking e-product. I had thought of combining a few of my similarly mythosed stories together. I still may.

The most likely option is to give them away, but the precise howness I have yet to decide. Really I ought to use the opportunity to gain a proper mailing list like Writing Magazine keeps telling me I should. That would require the software and the investment in actually writing a newsletter of sorts beyond the intermittance here. Is it worth it? Or shall I polish them into simple PDFs, put the download links here and elsewhere, with the links back to the site and the suggestion that people pass the e-papers onwards?

Either way, onwards.

Rejection, onwards!


Considering the sheer overwhelming variance in my pressures at the moment, the above title is somewhat ironic!

However, the title itself refers to the writing downtime I’ve accumulated since the completion of NaNoWriMo. Well, the termination at least. I reached half the target, handwritten, for which I’m happy enough. Rather than let it rot away and be forgotten, as it seemed that many people who I met at the Write-Ins* had chosen to do so, I have decided to let the novel lie fallow for a month, while Irgard hangs perilously from the World Tree, to pick up the story again in January. I hope to get the first draft finished by the end of Feb: two months for a further 25k words is perfectly acceptable.

As such, I’ve got a random urge to keep writing (which I suppose is a large point of the challenge), but I mean to (re)turn my hand to other things. Amongst the fold are these:

Sending off Not A Bedtime Story to some more publishers. I mean to try Black Static again with this one; it’s a little shy of one-thousand words, so not quite suitable for Nightjar.Tweak my latest short story, Phage, which is mostly set in St Pancras station and polish it beyond its current second draft.Return to my cyberpunk universe, Slick Thames. It’s set a little into the future in an imagined London, but the current early nightfalls and sleeting rain draw my mind back to the setting. I’ve a couple of pieces of flash grouped as my Short (Circuit) Stories that exist, and a few thousand words of a started novel somewhere.

Precisely what I try to do, I’ve yet to decide. However, I’ve opened a world of possibilities with writing on trains from my NaNoWriMo experiment, and there’s only so long I can control myself. I bought myself a new premium notebook today.

It’s already begun.

* Great sessions where many a writer on the NaNoWriMo would take over a large section of various London caf├ęs and fill them with the sound of clicking keys and my own scribbling pen. There’s a great video here, which documents a session at Starbucks where I finally crested 10k words.

At a later Write-In, I wrote a ten page paragraph. Very pleased with that.