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Quick Baen Bounce


On one hand I'm happy that the first readers were nice enough to bounce my submission to Jim Baen's Universe so quickly. On the other, I know the story is good. Reading it again (for what seems like the millionth time) I've fallen in love with Doe once more. He's got a great story to tell, and for some reason I can't find the right editor.

Is it the sex? I would hope not. Because, while it's present, since "Romeo" is a prostitute, it's also presented in a subtle, tasteful manner. That's a conscious decision on my part because I know that some day my kids (my youngest, at least) is going to sit down and look at what her dad wrote, and I want her to feel proud about what I accomplished and how it makes her feel about the characters.

Am I a bad writer? I don't think that's the case. Ego talking a bit here, I know, but we've all got to have strong ones to send stories out. We've got to believe what we've done is good enough to publish. I'm just got the luxury of knowing I can write publishable/reviewable/reprintable prose. Heck, I got an email back from Interzone about my email submission just this week that it made the first cut out of the 500+ stories subbed during the May period. That puts the story into the top 6 percent. And if I make the next cut, the story is in the top 3 percent. Sucky sucky prose does not do that. So, I can write.

It must be the length. It is a novelette. But I can't cut it down and tell the story. Heck, my only other choice is to bite the bullet and finally sit down and make the damn thing a novel again.

Sorry for the venting. Sometimes I just hate the lottery aspect of this business. I'm down to sending "Romeo, Unbound" off to Writers of the Future at this point, which means I'm not going to know what to do with it until Novemberish if I decide to take the plunge and drop it into the mail.

Edited to add:

The above post is not a rant. Venting probably isn't the best word to use. Jay posted something earlier about using LJ as a private diary at points. And I can see and agree with that thought. I don't expect people to read this. If they do ... they do. I won't write something I wouldn't say in public or say in front of my kids.

The submission process is what it is. Tilting at windmills. And using that phrase is a conscious recognition on my part that the publishers (both the companies and the editors) are not dragons. :-)


Jul. 20th, 2007 02:45 pm (UTC)
The reject from Baen was strictly a form reply, via email. Nothing to really mance. Though I can see how the post reads like that after the fact.

It's just so frustrating and dichotomous that you can find youself at such opposite sides of the spectrum in such a short amount of time. :-/
Jul. 20th, 2007 03:00 pm (UTC)
I understand your frustration, really, I do. But I hate it when I become bogged down in these things and waste energy on them, knowing that I should take that frustration and use it to fuel the next piece. I think too many writers get caught up in the rejection. Not saying you are, but I like to stick my big nose into things when I can to try and prevent it where it could happen.

Have you read anything Baen's magazine has published, by the way? I haven't. Anything good you'd recommend?
Jul. 20th, 2007 03:19 pm (UTC)
I'm more likely to vent and then forget. Once I've said it, I won't think about it again and just go back to the grindstone.

Nothing comes to mind as a standout to recommend. Sorry. Part of the reason I subed the story. :-)
Jul. 20th, 2007 07:22 pm (UTC)
Well, in the time of blog search, the windmills can talk back. I'll bite :-)

To be blunt, and even though it seems kinda obvious -- if you are frustrated that you can't find the right editor, why submit to a market that doesn't publish anything you like? Or, well, if you want to try anyway, ok, but why then fret about why it gets a form reject? =-)

To be blunter: Read as a JBU story, "Romeo, Unbound" is, well, dreadfully boring -- neither length nor sex even become a factor since I don't even get past the first page.

Which doesn't say anything at all about the quality of your story, if it isn't *meant* to be a JBU story. But in that case, honestly, why not submit it to a market that publishes something remotely similar? =-)

As for some good JBU stories, here are three I like a lot in the current issue: Cryptic Coloration by Elisabeth Bear (a fantasy adventure), Running Water for L.A. by Eric Witchey (an sf adventure), and The Littlest Wyrm-Maid by Rebecca Lickiss (a humorous fantasy). As usual, the first half of each story is public (if you want to read the rest, the whole issue is $6).

Sorry to be so blunt, but I think you're pushing a good button if you want to get people from the other side of the slushpile to rant .)

- Benja (assistant windmiller)
Jul. 20th, 2007 07:48 pm (UTC)
First, thanks for the bite. :-)

Second ... my post is more about dialogue than frustration. "Vent" probably wasn't the right word to use. Let's try "express" instead. As in expressing thoughts. Because while I couldn't recommend any stories, it wasn't because the ones I've read weren't good or bad. I just didn't feel one way or another about them. Which says more about me as a reader than you as an editor or JBU as a magazine. Subbing my story was an expression of wanting to see something like that published there. It's a big universe out there. ;-)

Third, sorry you found the story boring. I don't think you're being too blunt or ranting. Dialogue is good, and your opinion about what you consider entertaining and interesting is perfectly valid. You're the gatekeeper and any publisher puts people into place who exhibit the same values and tastes that the publisher holds as well.

It's interesting that we're both right, but not right in the same way. :-)

And lastly ... thanks for the recommendations.

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