My recently published short story, I Wanted Ten, used to be the opening chapter to a novel that has for two-plus decades decorated the inside of a desk drawer. About two months ago, it struck me that now—The #Me,Too Era—might be the time to try again to sell this manuscript.
But it needed a brush-up.
Off I went for three weeks, just me and my little brush, into the wee hours of every night. I moved my clock a little later each night, finally going fully nocturnal: sleeping from dawn (thank you, Great Husband, who takes care of our children in the A.M.) until the early afternoon, interacting with family until the kids’ bedtime, watching The Daily Show and Colbert, and then writing until 4- or 5- or 6 in the morning. Crash. Repeat. I can’t recommend it, but I did it—and got the novel revised in fewer than three weeks.
Cut 50 pages, too!
Then I sent the revision to my go-to fiction editor, Carole L. Glickfeld, got her notes; off I went on another re-write. (Tried to stick to standard, waking hours; not so successful.) Sent back to Carole the 1/2- of the book I was not so sure about. I am now a single (hopefully final) re-write from sending As Far as You Can Go Before You Have to Come Back into Agent-Land.
And, of course, to submit to ScreenCraft’s Cinematic Novel Contest.
I submitted again to Screencraft’s Cinematic Short Story Contest. Last, year, I was a semi-finalist with my short story, “I Wanted Ten” (published this past October in Blue Lake Review). This year, I went for an essay. (I checked with them first.) I submitted “The Brass Ring” – in the category of Rom-Com.
This year, ScreenCraft added the category of Cinematic Novel. Guess what I did …
I was going to post this YTD yesterday. I am glad that I decided to let the draft sit for its customary 24-hour bake period BECAUSE I received a shockingly good rejection from World Literature Today:
Thanks for sending us “Goddess of Mercy.” Though we did not select this piece for publication, we really do appreciate your interest in publishing in our pages. I found your writing vivid and engaging and would welcome another submission, particularly something shorter.
Between their reputation for intellectualism and their flat-out luminosity, I came close to not even submitting to World Literature Today. I said the following aloud as I pressed Send: it’s my job to send the stuff. Let the editors make their decisions.
Finally: since sending out my three new pieces, I received two rejections of the short story The Great Ultimate. The remaining are still under consideration — including the magazine I have my hear set on for Hong Kong, My Twenties.
Just now, I pressed the “Submit” button my 150th submission for the year.
Two weeks ago, I received my 100th rejection for the year. Regular readers of this missive will know that I aim for 100 rejections per year as a way to motivate many more than 100 submissions—which appears to be working. However, this logic did not help the day (I blur the angstful specifics) that I received my 100th submission. I was, as they say, fully bummed.
It did not help that I was in the middle of a slew of rejections—perhaps seven—and at the tail end of the thumbs’ down on three grants I was hoping would help send me to Asia this winter. Also not sleeping, writing as I was six or seven hours into the wee hours (revising a novel). Primarily, however, I was bummed because my writing received 100 rejections.
Theories are nice. Aiming for 100 rejections is a nice theory. But each one hurts. 100 hurts 100 times. And the 100th is brutal.
Today, I’m on rejection 108—back to my bouncy, rejected self, and submitting like a mad woman. Over 30 since our last little check-in. Perhaps a goal of 150 submissions per year is a more effective choice than 100 rejections.
There is a nice story—not true—that holds when Hitler decreed all Sweden’s Jews wear yellow stars, their King replied, “If our Jews wear yellow stars, we all wear yellow stars.” Again, nice story; not true.
What would be different if all of Europe had worn yellow? Nothing but yellow.
This is a photo from one rally protesting the visit by Trump this morning to Pittsburg.
My word, a crazy month in the submission/rejection department. My submissions jumped from 115 to 142. My rejections, up to 98 from 79—almost to that goal of 100!
A bit of backstory. In the past week, I finished three new pieces: one essay (Mouthy, Ugly Genius); one short story (The Great Ultimate); and one flash non-fiction (Hong Kong, My Twenties) that I can submit as flash fiction if I use an edited version.
I sent Mouthy, Ugly Genius to seven places.
I sent The Great Ultimate to five.
I sent Hong Kong, My Twenties to two. I have my heart set on a specific magazine. I slaved to get the submission to 250 words—that’s their limit. I want to give them two months before I submit Hong Kong widely. The second place I sent to; well, they state that their turn-around time is four months.