Yes, I Still Get Rejections

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 05:12 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

A while back, I posted something on Facebook about a rejection I’d received on a project. I was a bit taken aback when several people offered to “have a talk” with the editor. Others questioned the editor’s mental health for rejecting a Jim Hines story. It was flattering, in a way — I love that I have fans who are so enthusiastic about reading new stuff from me — but I think it might also reflect a basic misunderstanding.

Rejections are part of the job. They don’t suddenly stop when you become more successful. They’re less frequent, yes. Much less frequent, and my own mental well being is unspeakably grateful for that. But with the possible exception of folks like Rowling and King, we all risk rejection when we write.

Over the past year, I wrote a short story for an anthology that got cancelled. Another editor said they were interested, so I sent the story their way. They read it, said some nice things, and rejected the story. And they were right to do so.

I’ll be honest, I would have loved to sell a story to this particular editor and venue, but the story I had written didn’t match the tone and style of the venue. I appreciate them taking a chance on reading the story, but they have every right to turn it down. It’s their job to turn it down. Because it wasn’t the right story for them.

I have another project my agent has been shopping around. We’ve gotten some very nice rejections, generally saying things like it’s not quite right for that particular line, or it’s close but this or that or the other didn’t work for them.

In a slightly older example, I had a friend reject me because the story I’d written utterly missed what they were looking for in the guidelines.

Does it still sting? Sure. Twenty-two years into this, I still hate getting rejections. But I’m not unrealistic enough to think every word I write is made of gold and perfectly-suited to all editors and publishers in the world, bar none. Sometimes I’m able to sell the rejected work elsewhere, to an editor/venue that’s a better fit. Sometimes I’m not.

That’s how the business works. Even after 12 books and 50+ short stories in print. Not because the editors are misguided or wrong or blind to my brilliance, but because they’re doing their jobs.

As someone who’s currently on both sides of the desk (co-editing Invisible 3 with Mary Anne Mohanraj as well as continuing to write my own stuff), let’s keep in mind that being a good editor is hard, just like being a good writer.

As for those rejections? I recommend three things.

  1. Get the story back out there.
  2. Keep working on the next one.
  3. Eat ice cream as necessary.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Silas Marner - not actually a trade-union novel

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 09:18 pm
hunningham: Woman peering out from a book (More with Reading)
[personal profile] hunningham

I have been reading Silas Marner by Eliot and because this is the Penguin Classics edition, and because it is a short novel, there are about forty pages of introduction. Which I have not read.

There are also about fifteen pages of notes. Which I have read, and which I have enjoyed hugely. They are lengthy and digressive, as the best notes always are, and the writer has much to say about dissenting sects in the nineteenth century.

For example:

Beatrice Webb, a professional social investigator, concluded that the Co-operative Societies and the Trade Unions, the Friendly Societies and the Labour Party, owed everything to the training that the chapel form of worship provided for the working-class (see Chapter 3 of My Apprenticeship).

I did not know this. It makes perfect sense.

Interesting Links for 28-03-2017

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 12:00 pm

Book Log 2017 - #8 - The Hidden Oasis

Monday, March 27th, 2017 01:53 pm
lonemagpie: Bogie! (bogie)
[personal profile] lonemagpie
THE HIDDEN OASIS by Paul Sussman. A real mixed bag. After intriguing first half dozen pages, absolutely fuck all happens for the next 170 (to the point that I almost gave up on it and did start just skimming). Then the chase-thriller plot that was advertised actually starts, and it's... OK. Nothing special. Better than Matthew Reilly, not as good as Cussler or Andy McDermott in the action fun stakes. For most of it, this is a racing smugglers to some stolen uranium kind of gig. Then in the last 120 pages or so, it jumps the shark into full-on random supernatural impossibility, which seems to have wandered in from a completely different book altogether and doesn't fit with what's gone on so far in this one. Throw in uninteresting characters and dialogue, and into the charity shop bag it goes.

Organisation fail

Monday, March 27th, 2017 12:10 pm
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
I realised yesterday that it was the last of Nicholas's swimming lessons for the term and we hadn't been given a re-enrolment form at any point.  On further checking, we've completely missed his re-enrolment window, and the class he was in is completely full now.   These lessons are always oversubscribed, and the idea is that once you're in the system you get priority to stay in and progress up the classes, but that doesn't help if no-one (me) checks when the deadlines are. 

So I think by default I have to make a note to check for enrolment day at the end of next term, in hopes of getting him back into classes in the autumn term.  That seems ages away.  I suppose I can also look at the holiday "crash courses": four or five daily 30 minute lessons on weekday mornings.  Great for learning but a bit of a logistical challenge for us.

(no subject)

Sunday, March 26th, 2017 09:44 pm
skygiants: Sophie from Howl's Moving Castle with Calcifer hovering over her hands (a life less ordinary)
[personal profile] skygiants
So I tried an experiment to see if it was possible to make a Howl's Moving Castle book vid using Howl's Moving Castle movie footage. Results: ???

(Results mostly that I need to get better at figuring out how to change targeted colors in Adobe Premiere, let's just pretend it's fine.)

Title: In Which Sophie Expresses Her Feelings In The Absence Of Weedkiller
Music: "You're A Cad," The Bird and the Bee



Download link

Sustain, persist, ascend.

Sunday, March 26th, 2017 02:17 pm
azurelunatic: "catch me if I fall", shooting star (R.E.M.)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
One brave green shoot pushes through the muck;
more will soon follow.
There will still be storytime at the library next week.
The librarian will still be found wearing a plush ladybug.
Somewhere, a child will move from baby to toddler
in pursuit of that bubble, just out of reach.


(Mostly written in early February.)

Fitbit goal check

Sunday, March 26th, 2017 09:23 pm

Meme from [personal profile] naraht

Sunday, March 26th, 2017 02:29 pm
el_staplador: English Royal Arms; caption 'honi soit qui mal y pense' (honi soit qui mal y pense)
[personal profile] el_staplador
Usual drill: pick one of my fics; pick a question. Fics are here, in descending order of word count to send the drabbles to the bottom.

1: What inspired you to write the fic this way?
2: What scene did you first put down?
3: What’s your favorite line of narration?
4: What’s your favorite line of dialogue?
5: What part was hardest to write?
6: What makes this fic special or different from all your other fics?
7: Where did the title come from?
8: Did any real people or events inspire any part of it?
9: Were there any alternate versions of this fic?
10: Why did you choose this pairing for this particular story?
11: What do you like best about this fic?
12: What do you like least about this fic?
13: What music did you listen to, if any, to get in the mood for writing this story? Or if you didn’t listen to anything, what do you think readers should listen to to accompany us while reading?
14: Is there anything you wanted readers to learn from reading this fic?
15: What did you learn from writing this fic?

It's a lot of family

Sunday, March 26th, 2017 09:55 am
hunningham: (Default)
[personal profile] hunningham
For the past five weekends we have had:

1) Visit to H's father
2) Visit from H's sister & her partner
3) Weekend away in Bristol (not family)
4) Visit from my mother
5) Visit from my father

It's a lot of family.

My father left about an hour ago, and I suddenly feel very tired and very relieved. Love them all, but oh, it's nice when people go. H. is making noises about having champagne to celebrate having home to ourselves.

And my father ... listening to him just makes me so glad that I have a quiet mundane uncomplicated personal life. No relationship drama, no exes phoning me up and crying, no one saying me or them. He's seventy-five and he really needs to sort his life out.

Photos of Abkhazia

Sunday, March 26th, 2017 12:23 am
dancefloorlandmine: (Architecture)
[personal profile] dancefloorlandmine
For those who like photos of abandoned places, here are some taken by French photographer Aurélien Villette of Abkhazia, recognised as an independent state by Russia, while almost everyone else considers it still a part of Georgia. The photos show ruined and abandoned buildings, one series focussing on those from the 1950s.

Gallery on LensCulture

(The HDR is a bit over-the-top on some of them for my tastes, mind. One side effect of which is the tendency, as with many HDR images, to appear computer-generated - as if scenes from the game Syberia (for fans of which, it should be pointed out that Syberia III is due out later this year.)

What my gender dysphoria feels like

Saturday, March 25th, 2017 06:12 pm
sashajwolf: photo of Blake with text: "reality is a dangerous concept" (Default)
[personal profile] sashajwolf
Copying this from a comment I made on Facebook in order to have it easily accessible for future noodling. This is of course only how I experience dysphoria, not how anyone else does. The original discussion was, in part, about the extent to which dysphoria would still exist in the absence of gender stereotyping. I have made some minor edits for clarity.

I'm not "in the wrong body"; this body is very much part of me, and there are things I really like about it. But there are parts that feel stunted, like they never fully developed like they were "meant" to, and at times they ache as if they were still desperately trying to. Descriptions of phantom limbs from amputees often resonate with me. I assume this would not go away in a perfect society. It has got worse with perimenopause and seems to show some cyclical variation, so I imagine there's a hormonal factor involved.

Also, some of the parts I really like are the very ones that cause people to guess my gender wrong, and that causes a real psychological tension. I have to choose every day whether I want the cognitive dissonance of hiding those parts as if I were ashamed of them, or the cognitive dissonance of leaving them visible and being misgendered. This part would clearly improve if societal etiquette changed so that it was understood to be rude to guess someone's gender without being told, or at least rude to voice the guess.

Then there's a gender role/performative component, which expresses itself as a feeling that I'm constantly failing at "being a girl" by looking wrong, acting wrong, thinking wrong and just generally Being Wrong. This part has improved considerably since I gave myself permission to stop trying to be one, but there's a residue that would probably require societal permission to get rid of. For me, full societal recognition of nonbinary gender(s) would probably do it, but total abolition of the gender binary would also work for me (and for agender people? but maybe not for strongly binary-identified people?) Even then, there may be a biochemical component that would not disappear, because I feel the looking wrong part is linked to my bulimia, and that gets worse with certain nutritional deficiencies and could presumably still happen without sexism. Society not being so damn fat-shaming would surely help, though.

Summary: In a perfect society I'd probably still have body dysphoria and maybe a small amount of psychological discomfort. I might still define as trans because although we wouldn't be assigning gender at birth any more, I might still have self-assigned as a girl before the hormones kicked in enough for the body dysphoria to become noticeable. But I'd have much less cognitive dissonance and everyday life would be much more comfortable, so none of these issues would be the grave threats to mental health that they are now.

The Blood is the Life for 25-03-2017

Saturday, March 25th, 2017 10:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b

You don't have the votes!

Friday, March 24th, 2017 10:33 pm
hollymath: (Default)
[personal profile] hollymath
I've been quiet (...too quiet) lately, but it'd be remiss of me to let a day when Paul Ryan said "Obamacare is the law of the land.… We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future" go by without comment.

I was terrified of the vote. Sick with it. When the friend I was visiting on Wednesday excused himself for a phone call, I typed this out on my phone and sent it to my representatives in an e-mail the ACLU mailing list had suggested I sent to my congresspeople:
I'm disabled. My parents are aging seniors, my mom particularly with longstanding health problems. My friends are poor, disabled themselves, or people of color -- sometimes all at once because that's how these things
work.

So if the ACA is repealed, I'm certain that someone I know and love will die who would not die if we keep it. If the ACA is repealed, I know that everybody I know will live in fear, suffering and misery that they won't have if we keep it.

People are kept alive by the ACA, they're kept in their homes, they're kept from that needless worry, fear and misery.

Ive lived in the UK for several years. I've enjoyed the services of a single-payer health care system there for me when I've needed it. I know this is possible. I know there's no reason for the US to be moving further away from that. It's cheaper, better care and my friends here boggle at the country I'm from being so far from having it ourselves. Please don'ttake us further still from that eminently reachable goal. Please don't make people suffer so unnecessarily.
They're all Democrats, and I was pretty confident they'd do the right thing anyway (Franken's been heart-warmingly awesome again in hearings for another awful appointee this week, which always makes me proud I get to vote for him) but I couldn't let it go uncommented-upon.

Today when I saw the vote had been pulled at the last minute, once I'd convinced myself it was for real (too scared to google in case it wasn't, I made Andrew confirm it for me) and that it wouldn't come back immediately (Trump saying he expects Democrats to seek a deal with him in a year when the ACA has "exploded" is what finally convinced me) I started crying.

I hate crying, but this was different. I've heard of crying happy tears before, and maybe this was that, but it felt more like an enormous version of the feeling I'd had on Saturday night when I thought I'd lost the keys to our B&B room so I couldn't go out because I wouldn't be able to get back in again and that this was going to be a costly and disappointing mistake to admit to our lovely hosts but then Andrew found the keys had fallen behind a table -- this on a much bigger scale, of course, but the same kind of relief. The same kind of "now I'm not being held together entirely by stress, my body must perforce collapse."

I thought of all the people being relieved and crying and screaming and hugging their loved ones and celebrating and getting drunk and remembering the people Obamacare didn't get here in time for, or the people still outside its help.

I was so fragile; Andrew had to put a frozen pizza in the oven for my dinner and my evening ended up being much less ambitious than I hoped for (I basically curled up on the couch with the dog, retweeting things until my phone's battery was just about dead and now I've come to bed but I'm writing this). My body seemed to react, after the tears, exactly like it did on Saturday and after other anxiety attacks: I couldn't get warm, my muscles were almost too weak to support me, I was having all kinds of emotions at once and had the attention span of a mayfly on speed.

Of the many, many RTs, from schadenfreude at Ryan and the other writers of this hideous bill, to the insistence that this is the best time in American history for the Democrats to push for single-payer healthcare (at least, that's what it's been called there; it looks like "Medicare for all" might be the epithet that persuades people), to the acknowledgements that we know the battle isn't over but we deserve this celebration to other badass political shit going on at the same time like a Democrat winning a state legislature seat where she had to be written in to the ballots and just more women wanting to run for office generally...I'd say it's been a good night.

It hasn't been one-dimensional celebration. It hasn't glossed over the limitations of the ACA and the people who live precarious lives even with it. It hasn't made us take for granted the sterling performances of congresspeople speaking on our side before the planned vote. It hasn't made us forget about the need to investigate the horrific numbers of black teenage girls who've disappeared recently in Washington D.C. who never get the care and attention of missing white girls. It hasn't stopped cleverly-named bills cracking down on Trump's corruption as it endangers us all. It hasn't made people stop talking about Trump/Russia or the need to impeach him.

But of all the tweets I've (html willing!) shared with you here, the one I think is most important is this:

Scoff if you must, but this is why I'm involved in politics. This is why I say that I'm proud of my Lib Dem friends, who when something angers or upsets us have a kind of instinctive reaction: let's write a policy motion about this. This is why I've been so much more active in politics (partisan or not) the last few months: it's just to cope with the increasing number of things that make me fearful, anxious and sad.

I stuck with the Lib Dems when they were adding to the things that made me angry and frustrated during points in the coalition because I knew I'd feel just as angry and frustrated but with no political outlet otherwise as I don't feel there's any other UK party that sufficiently aligns with my values for me to want to support it.* But even in things like the WI, which is scrupulously non-partisan (and, being a geographically-based way of organizing people, I'm not surprised mine is full of lefties), I feel like I'm doing the same kind of work: making the world less scary, anxiety-inducing, and saddening.

And if this kind of political event, or whatever you have in the countries you live in and love people from, makes you sad, anxious or fearful, I'd really suggest getting involved in something like this. It's heady stuff: be warned, it's easy to get addicted. Most of my Lib Dem friends have stories about joining where they didn't think much of it and ended up on federal committees, standing for parliament, or whatever. I swear Tim Farron has taken some of my lines when he talks about immigration. I have friends who've helped write policies that have ended up being the law for this country. It's pretty awesome.


* It seems to have been worth sticking around for: my pessimistic husband came away from last weekend's federal conference feeling reassured that our party's membership having doubled in the last few years hasn't made it what he feared it'd be: "There was a real, real, danger that we’d have got a lot of people who thought they were joining the Coalition And Liking Europe Party" he says, but as you can read there it's clear that the Lib Dems are still existing to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.

Cool Stuff Friday

Friday, March 24th, 2017 11:41 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

…and then the Fridays began.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Interesting Links for 24-03-2017

Friday, March 24th, 2017 12:00 pm
nanila: little and wicked (mizuno: lil naughty)
[personal profile] nanila
Location: my parents' house

Me: "Mom, where's Dad?"
Mom, without looking up from her crossword puzzle: "Oh, he's outside in the garden, making a note of all the things that need doing and deciding to do them tomorrow."
Me: *gales of laughter*

Shadowshaper, by Daniel José Older

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017 01:38 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Shadowshaper Cover ArtI continue to snag books out of my son’s Scholastic book order forms. One of the latest was Shadowshaper [Amazon | B&N | IndieBound], by Daniel José Older. It’s an enjoyable, relatively quick read. Here’s the summary:

Sierra Santiago planned to have an easy summer of making art and hanging out with her friends. But then a corpse crashes the first party of the season. Her stroke-ridden grandfather starts apologizing over and over. And when the murals in her neighborhood begin to weep real tears… Well, something more sinister than the usual Brooklyn ruckus is going on.

With the help of a mysterious fellow artist named Robbie, Sierra discovers shadowshaping, a thrilling magic that infuses ancestral spirits into paintings, music, and stories. But someone is killing the shadowshapers one by one — and the killer believes Sierra is hiding their greatest secret. Now she must unravel her family’s past, take down the killer in the present, and save the future of shadowshaping for herself and generations to come.

The “About the Author” section notes that Older lives in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, which is where the book takes place, and it shows. Sierra’s world feels real and fully developed, populated with interesting people and places. It’s a far cry from some of the generic pseudo-New York settings you sometimes get.

I love the concept of shadowshaping, the way the magic works as a collaboration between spirits and shadowshaper, and the possibilities of that power. One of my favorite scenes was watching Sierra discovering what she could do with a simple piece of chalk.

Sierra and the rest of the cast are great, all with their own personalities and flaws and conflicts. They feel like real people…it’s just that some of them can bring their artwork to life.

My only complaint is that the villain felt a bit flat and obvious. But the ideas behind that villain, the theme of the privileged cultural outsider barging in and making a mess of things, are totally valid and powerful. I wouldn’t want that to change; I just would have liked to see a little more depth to them.

And kudos for the awesome librarian.

I’ve seen a number of reviews praising the diversity in the book. On the one hand, I do think that’s worth recognizing, and I definitely appreciated it. On the other… I don’t know. I wish we could reach a point where we don’t have to praise authors for showing the world the way it is, and could instead just note when authors fail to portray a realistically diverse world. Does that make sense? I dunno…probably something that needs a longer blog post to unpack.

Anyway, to wrap this up, the ending was lovely and made me eager to read Shadowhouse Fall, which comes out in September of this year.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Interesting Links for 23-03-2017

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017 12:00 pm

About This Blog

picture of Jennie Rigg

Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.






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