Another week come and gone. How’d I do?
This week’s quote comes from French novelist Gustave Flaubert
“I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.”
– Gustave Flaubert
Jesus, I feel this one in my SOUL. Every time I sit down to write, no matter how clear the idea is in my mind, what ends up on the page is like a halfway decent photocopy of what’s in my brain. This is why I struggle with revision sometimes–the manuscript and the pictures in my head don’t match up. What’s important to understand, though, is that, generally, only you know that your story or novel or poem or whatever is an imperfect facsimile of the original idea. Sometimes, that halfway descent photocopy story is still pretty damn good, and if no one knows they’re reading something that doesn’t exactly fit your vision AND they still enjoy it, then maybe it doesn’t matter. That’s not to say you shouldn’t strive to create exactly what you see in your head, but maybe, just maybe, we shouldn’t beat ourselves up too much if it comes out a little different than we intended.
A fairly eventful week in submission land.
I sent two submissions last week, giving me eight for the month and the year. That’s about the pace I want to be at. Around two subs a week gets me to 100 for the year. The two rejections were both of the form variety, though one of them took almost six months to get to me. I also got a shortlist notice on a story, and I’ll share that letter with you below. I still have twelve submissions pending (not counting novel subs), and a number of them are getting a little long in the tooth. I expect I’ll hear back on at least one the subs that’s been pending over 100 days in the next few weeks.
I often showcase rejections in my weekly updates, but hold/shortlist letters can be interesting literary artifacts as well, and they come in a wide variety. Here’s the one I received last week.
[Story Title] has been accepted for further consideration. We will be letting you know before the end of [month] whether or not it has been accepted for publication.
Most hold notices are short and to the point, and this one is no exception. This is a form letter that gives the the author the necessary information. It tells me the story is being held for further consideration and when I’m likely to hear back. That’s all I need to know. Very occasionally an editor will throw in a personal note about the story, but it’s not common in my experience. My success rate in turning holds into acceptances is historically about fifty percent, though it was much, much worse last year. Hopefully, 2022 will get me back on track.
I’m working steadily on the revision of Hell to Play. Last week I finished revising act one, and it’s in pretty good shape. The next big task was to write new material, namely the first POV chapter of the novel’s antagonist. I achieved that goal, and added a new 3,000-word chapter to the manuscript. I’ll be using the villain’s POV chapters as interludes between acts, and I think it’s going to accomplish a couple of things. One, it will make the villain’s motivations clearer, something that was a little murky in the first draft. Two, it will draw an interesting and important contrast between the villain and one of the protagonists. They’re both demons, but one is on a redemption arc and the other is, well, not. I think it’ll be helpful to have both perspectives: a demon that is questioning its place in the universe and one that’s reveling in it. Anyway, I had fun writing the new chapter. This week, it’s back to the grind in act two, which is going to need the most work of any section in the novel.
Goals this week are to keep revising the novel, send more submissions, and to spruce up a short story and get it ready for submission.
That was my week. How was yours?