Rejected

In my last blog post, I mentioned that I’d received a “please wait” response to a short story I’d submitted. Unfortunately, the story was rejected but I’m still seeing this as a positive outcome because it wasn’t rejected immediately. As it stands, I’ve dusted the story off and sent it out into the world once again.

This is something you have to get used to as a writer. Rejection happens. It doesn’t mean a story is bad. Perhaps the editor who read it wasn’t in the right mood for it, or wasn’t the right person for it. David, my editor for Wolf Unleashed, has talked about how a story can be great but only if it matches the tastes and styles of the editor who accepts it. He’s told me an anecdote about how he rejected a novel submission but told the author to go and talk to a different editor who he thought it would be better suited for. That other editor later thanked him because the story was a perfect fit for them.

Sometimes a story can be great but not quite right for the theme of the anthology or magazine it’s submitted for. Sometimes it could be great but too similar to another story that the editor has committed to publish and they want to have more variety. Sometimes a story is good but the other stories submitted were just slightly better.

As a writer, you have to develop a thick skin and just keep submitting. If a story gets rejected a couple of hundred times then it’s probably time to either do a major rewrite or move on to something else, but a story getting rejected once, twice, or even ten times doesn’t mean you should give up on it.

I have already resubmitted the story that was rejected and if it gets rejected again, I’ll submit it again. Either I’ll find the right place to send it eventually or I’ll have got another story ready to go out in its place that I might have better luck with. I just have to keep trying and so should you. Every writer gets rejected. Every successful writer doesn’t let that stop them.

Submission response

I’ve received what was effectively a “please wait” email about a short story I submitted recently. The place I submitted to want a specific number of stories and they’re waiting until the end of their submission period before they decide which ones they’re accepting, which makes sense.

I’m not sure if they send out the same email to everyone about making the decision when the submission period closes or if they do a first round of reviewing the stories. I’m hoping the second, and I think it makes sense given that there was about a week between me submitting the story and receiving the response. It’s plausible that they go through initial submissions to divide into no and maybe piles, and then go through the maybes when they have all the submissions. In which case, it would mean that they read my story and didn’t reject it right away and I’m now in a short list pool.

So I’m being optimistic about this story and its chances. Fingers crossed.

Writing Update

I’ve submitted a short story this weekend. It’s one I’m very proud of so I hope it is received well. This is the third time I’ve tried sending the story out. The first time, I received a form rejection, the second time I received a personalised rejection, so hopefully this continuing trend of improvement means that the third response will be an acceptance. Who knows? I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

I have next week booked off work and since all my wonderful travel plans are cancelled due to plague, I intend to spend some of the time working on my writing. I have edits for the third book in the Shadows of Tomorrow trilogy to go through. Edits are never the most fun part of writing a book for me, but they are important so my plan is to spend some of every day working through those to get it done.

I also have the second draft of the fourth Codename Omega book to finish. I’m nearly done, but there’s a plot thread from near the beginning that sort of trails off. I need to try and tidy that up a little bit before I let someone else read the story. This fourth book is a little different from the first three in the series in a way that was a lot of fun to write and that I hope will be a lot of fun for other people to read.

I may not be able to use the time they way I’d intended, but at least I can use it productively, in between trying to get exercise despite social distancing restrictions. I’m trying to make the best of things, which is all we really can do.

Diverse Reading Challenge

There are various diverse reading challenges out there, but I’ve made my own for me. Other people are welcome to take this and adapt if if you want. I intend to read:

  • Written by an author of colour x 5
  • Main character of colour
  • Translated into English
  • Written by a trans author
  • Trans main character
  • Asexual main character
  • Gay main character
  • Lesbian main character
  • Non-binary main character
  • A classic I’ve never read before x 2
  • Written by a disabled author
  • Disabled main character
  • Non-neurotypical main character
  • A genre other than SF&F x 5
  • Mentally ill main character
  • Book I loved as a child
  • Based on non-European folk tales
  • Poetry
  • Book from a small press
  • Self-published book

I expect there will be overlap between these characters. I read a lot of SF&F books, so I’m specifically going to try and read 5 books in other genres to widen my reading, but it’s likely that some or all of those 5 will also meet at least one of the other criteria.

I will share reviews and progress here and on my YouTube channel.

Any recommendations people have for books that meet some or all of these criteria would be welcome. If you’re an author and your book meets any of these criteria, let me know.

Coping During COVID-19

Things are difficult right now for a lot of people, so I wanted to share some thoughts and ideas on ways to cope.

Links to resources and free content:

The Adventures of Technicality Man mobi download – https://plottwister.sharepoint.com/:u:/s/Patreon/EaLnKAt47IJJnvRiVDP-qTIBdqy0N_0A7U9IEzmQF2LpIA?e=LVIbIs

The Adventures of Technicality Man epub download – https://plottwister.sharepoint.com/:u:/s/Patreon/EVf8j9t-uWZErOAG8ZGaHZIBKL-2SSS99NmxwZY_Jw3hfw?e=xfvBEx

Stay home wri mo – https://nanowrimo.org/stayhomewrimo
Free animation course – https://creatureartteacher.com/product-category/special-sale/
Free colouring books from museums – https://hyperallergic.com/548006/free-downloadable-coloring-books/
Virtual science and technology museums – https://interestingengineering.com/11-science-and-tech-museums-you-can-tour-virtually
Free art history classes – https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-10-art-history-classes-online-free/amp

Virtual concerts – https://www.npr.org/2020/03/17/816504058/a-list-of-live-virtual-concerts-to-watch-during-the-coronavirus-shutdown?t=1585498288163

Virtual museum tours – https://hyperallergic.com/547919/2500-virtual-museum-tours-google-arts-culture/
Free text books – https://www.cambridge.org/core/what-we-publish/textbooks

Writer’s Retreat

I am spending the next five days at a writer’s retreat and I plan to get a lot of words done. I’m not restricting myself to a single project or setting myself a specific word count target but I do have a few goals of things I want to achieve in the upcoming week.

Polish the short story Circle of Memories and submit it somewhere.

Write something of Ridiculously Long and Complicated Urban Fantasy Thing. This story has been stalled far too long and I really want to get back into it so I’m going to read back over some of the previous writing to try and get things moving again. Even a few hundred words will be something.

Write the next chapter of The Third Way. This is a WIP on AO3 that’s been hiatus for far too long and people keep asking if it’s abandoned. I want to make it somewhat less dead.

Write a significant portion of the second draft of the fourth Codename Omega book. I finished the first draft ages ago, so now it’s time to go back through it and see if I can do anything about that slow chunk in the middle where I had no idea how I was going to get my character out of the trouble I’d got him into and it starts to drag. I also need to work in the dramatic backstory reveal I discovered during a random bit of writing after I’d finished the first draft. I don’t expect to finish the second draft in a week, but I can make good headway into it.

See if the as yet unnamed potential sequel to Wolf Unleashed can be made to go anywhere.

If I have time, write a few hundred words on one of the many other half-written beginnings of stories I have floating around.

The Codename Omega book is probably the most critical of these, but we’ll see how it goes. I will be posting word count and other progress updates as I go along. Wish me luck.

A Monster’s Kindness

A Monster's Kindness cover art

Long ago, the village of Shrind sacrificed people to the monsters in the forest. Now the howling has started again, and a village elder has chosen Parton to be the next sacrifice.

Left to die for having shared a kiss with the elder’s son, Parton receives more compassion from the supposed monster than from those who had been his friends and neighbours. In the heart of the woods, learning to accept himself may be a harder lesson than learning to accept the monster.

Available Worldwide

Amazon UK, Amazon US (These are affiliate links – I get a small commission if you buy the book from there)
Apple Books
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
And other ebook purchasing and subscription platforms

A Monster’s Kindness

A Monster's Kindness cover art

Long ago, the village of Shrind sacrificed people to the monsters in the forest. Now the howling has started again, and a village elder has chosen Parton to be the next sacrifice.

Left to die for having shared a kiss with the elder’s son, Parton receives more compassion from the supposed monster than from those who had been his friends and neighbours. In the heart of the woods, learning to accept himself may be a harder lesson than learning to accept the monster.


A Monster’s Kindness is now available for pre-order. UK link, US link. The book is officially released on 19th Oct.

For some reason the cover art isn’t showing up yet on the Amazon page.