Monday, December 6, 2010

Rewriters of the Future

Now that the honourably-mentioned/short-listed Writers of the Future contestees have been announced for the third quarter of 2010, it is apparent that my submission will suffer Classic Rejection - a malady particularly keen to attack young writers.

Similarly, a rewrite I recently did for the e-zine Ideomancer came back positive for Rejectitis Majorae.

Should I see pain, suffering, disillusion, evil, cruelty, conspiracy, and fate-twistery among these results? Nary a never no-way in the how!

Best science fiction ever.
Actually, this is awesome. The list of honourable mentionees and finalists at Writers of the Future is populated by people I know. Shout outs... alright, I'm too lazy for shout-outs. Go check out the "Writers" link section in the sidebar. I put it there for a reason, you miscreant. Anyway, the point is that, the way I see it, I'm at least as good a writer as my friends are (right, everyone? RIGHT?); and the story I submitted to Q3 was a weak one, a "tester," if you will. It needed a home, and I'd always thought L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future contest was a bit of a joke (cf. Scientology), and that's how it ended up there.

But then I started submitting, y'know, a lot, and I need markets, and the Grandmaster Highlord of Scientology El RĂ²ne has bequeathed his ideological estate with enough diniero/prestige to entice me to continue submitting to the contest.

Also? While writing this blog post I just realized I submitted to the fourth, not the third, quarter. Hilarious.

Back to ignoring reality and et cetera.

Now, I have a veritable weapon of literary destruction available with which to storm the next quarter. I call it the this-story-rules-thanks-to-an-editor-bomb.

Claire Humphrey is one of the editors down at Ideomancer, and she worked with me to rewrite the-story-that-shall-not-be-named (since Writers of the Future will disqualify you for not-being-anonymous). It was my first experience working with an editor, and, despite the great help my writer-friends, non-writer-friends, and family have been to my editing process over the past couple years, those loved-ones' thoughts were, compared to Claire's insight, pieces of broken flint wielded by a crippled monkey versus Claire's heat-seeking warhead. Now, despite being rejected by Claire's chief, the nameless-tale is a veritable payload of depleted literanium munition at this point... in my opinion, at least, and I don't really care about yours unless it is the exact same as mine (*please note this claim is not true and I'm just being belligerent today [cf. my broken flint/warhead analogy).

Thus, I fully intend to blow Writers of the Future, Q1, 2011, into bits too small to tabulate. It might not happen, but I'll still dream of it.

Isn't it hilarious that this entire blog post was inspired by my own inability to correctly follow basic timelines?

No? Then get out of my blog.



  1. There is a certain clarity of vision to be expected of somebody who's willing to pay for what she's advising be done.

    It's something like asking for suggestions on improving a jet-ski amongst a control group of those who will buy a jet-ski and a hodge-podge group of those who won't (but who like jet-skis). You might want to weight the control group's suggestions more highly, but you can still get a few zany ideas from the other guys.

  2. Hysterical. This post is indicative of why I like your blog so much. Good luck in Quarter 1.

  3. David,

    The way I see the advantages and disadvantages of different forms of critique is, the heat-seeking missile knows exactly where it's going; but you never know how those tool-wielding primates will evolve. They're qualitatively different analyses, each with their own bonus points.

  4. Jeff,

    I am glad to have made you laugh but this is not a joke now please don't come back if you're just going to make fun of me.

  5. I did the same thing. I thought I'd submitted to Q3 and was concerned when people started getting results and I hadn't, and then I looked it up and realized I'm in Q4 too. Won't be till after Christmas at the earliest.

    You might want to avoid insulting your primates--at least, if you're hoping they'll still grace you with a critique now and then. You won't always be able to count on an editor to help out, after all. At least don't make the monkeys crippled...

  6. Haha, Eileen, I'm not insulting them. Well, okay, alright. I am. But nicely.

    Good critiques are hard to come by, whatever way you dice it. I mean... I've appreciated every critique I've ever received. But that doesn't mean I've used them. I remember a story I had Critter'd a while back got a lot of responses about the story's wealth of cuss-words; that was useful. I also have a friend who always seeks out switches in subject and tense incongruities. David, above, is absolutely correct in that critiques can provide you with fresh ideas for new takes on a story.

    However. My real point is that, if the point of a critique is, "How can I make this story the best it possibly can be," I have essentially had... well, just the one. But this makes perfect sense, because "the best it can be" is so ephemeral that, without an objective - like the one an editor creates by volition of purchasing power - there may never be a need to edit anything. In fact, there may not be a need to write at all, since writing is a shadow of a perfect idea.

    But, forgetting that: to another writer, or just some friend or other who I ask to critique a tale, my story is just words on a page, a story that, in a sense, is already "there," "published," almost, because it is ensconced in the word processor. An editor, on the other hand, is taking a different approach. They're producing a product - a series of stories - and they only want the very best to get in. They have motivation to help take a story and mould it, not to something entirely new, not to something with proper verb tenses, but to a really, really good story. We're talking about radically different qualitative states here. It's more than just frankness; it's direction.

    I can't really explain it better than that. There was motivation on my end, too, of course, which changes the relationship to another degree. If I made good changes and the editor thought them good, the story might end up published. It's a different relationship entirely; I trust the authority of the editor, because they've got a fistful of dollars, but any old critter - well, if I don't entirely agree, then why make any changes?

    Perhaps I could have made this post sound less hostile to my normal, everyday critters; but the point is, really-truly, that an editor's advice radically alters the fabric of understanding in which you set out to improve a story. Better? Worse? Who cares. I still appreciate when people read my work and give me feedback. But unless they've got $250...