Just a quick post today as I am getting for the monster’s birthday which is tomorrow as I write this but today as you read it. I am hoping he loves his presents and I can get some footage of him opening a present in the morning and his cake in the afternoon.
I am determined to keep positive in the face of adversity at the minute so the latest rejection has not phased me, infact I was positively delighted by it!
No, I have not lost my final marble, let me explain. I decided that I should as they say reach for the moon in the hope of ending up amongst the stars, so I submitted my story to what I consider one of the best Sci-Fi magazines out there, (should you be part of a different Sci-Fi mag don’t take it personally I am sure I will get to you) this is an award winning magazine so as a totally unpublished writer I fully expected to be rejected. Now let me tell you why I was so thrilled, firstly I did not receive the form email, I actually got a personal response from the editor then as a bonus he pointed out that although my story was not what they were looking for at the minute I had actually not got the right format they like for submissions and he provided a link showing how they like work submitted for future reference. I want you to bear in mind I was physically shaking last week when I hit the submission button, though why I am not sure it is not as if they were going to come to my work and scream in my face I was rubbish and never to write again but I guess that is what nerves do to you. I could get really down this is the second rejection for this story but I really like this story and believe in it, for me it is a case of finding the right place for it and I will keep submitting it until I find a market or until I decide to use it in a different way as part of an anthology or collection.
With reference to the competition I mentioned last week I did message them for more clarification on certain points and do feel a little more comfortable about their responses, the reason for not dates announced was they expected to have to extend the deadline (I am guessing to get enough entries to cover the prize money) I have not decided if I am going to enter yet mainly now as the story I was writing took a path I am not sure is right for the competition but we shall see, I may take a chance with it knowing even if it gets no where I have another piece for submission to other areas.
Okay better go get stuff organised and let the dogs out, then towel them off as it is throwing it down here once again and I am sure the fox has been back in the garden judging from the smell of the spaniel when he comes back in.
As you know one of the resolutions I made for my writing this year was to submit more, to take the plunge and put my work out for judgement and critique and not hide it in a file for the computer to eat.
So the other day when I received a tweet about a flash fiction comp I thought lets have a look. Up to a thousand words, well that isn’t a problem, no theme but when I looked at the back catalogue of submissions on the website it seemed pretty general literary stuff, okay not really my thing but I could challenge myself and give it a go. Deadline is Friday I got the tweet I believe just before the weekend but was busy but a thousand words a night to write, a night to edit and a night to edit again was doable. So you might ask yourself why I am in a quandary?
There is a fee to enter only $6 or about £4 nothing really, I can spend that on one magazine but there was something else that bothers me. The work must be unpublished anywhere else and if you submit it somewhere else and they accept it you have to notify them so they can pull it, okay far enough there is a $500 prize at stake but by submitting you are agreeing to the magazine having the right to print your story either on-line or in print. Now I would understand the winner, I would understand the short-list if they have one or runners up if they had those but it seems a little strange to me that you are literally paying to have your work possibly printed.
Now when you sign a contract there are clauses set out telling you exactly what you are signing away and for how long and that is what I don’t feel comfortable about this as there is nothing concrete. the wording is…
All submissions are eligible for publication by ***** ***** in print or on-line.
So it would appear basically you are giving up all publication rights and could not publish the work yourself even if you don’t win. The magazine is an on-line free magazine so I completely understand the need to charge an entry fee to be able to offer a prize but do I really want to give away a story without knowing exactly what I am signing away I am not so sure. Imagine if a later book became a best seller, can they profit from a story I would have literally paid them to look at? (Of course the chances of that ever being an issue are minuscule but nevertheless…)
I have started work on the story but still have not decided, what are your thoughts, have you ever entered writing competitions? Would that condition put you off as well?
Previously I discussed having a story rejected and then published the story for feedback from you guys, (if you missed it you can read it here), which I have to say was very positive. I have actually received official feedback from the competition itself and their reasons for rejection were not the ones I thought they would be but actually turn out to be something I have had before on my flash fiction. This is what they had to say…
– I really liked the ending to the story, but it ultimately couldn’t outweigh the things that I felt needed work.
– My biggest issue with this story is that it’s essentially six paragraphs of exposition. You have such an interesting plot—the fashion show of a lifetime ruined by a SWAT operation—and you get us no closer to it than the day after. Why not the day of? Why can’t we live and experience this catastrophe for ourselves as the horror unfolds? You could even keep the phone call at the end. You’d be sacrificing nothing and giving the readers so much more.
– I liked the plot of the fashion show a lot, but the element I had issues with was the criminal. I didn’t buy a SWAT team takedown of a bank robber. Drug Kingpin? Yes. Organized Crime Boss? Yes. Terrorist? Yes. But not a bank robber.
– I also had issues with him attending in the first place. Given the security and scrutiny around banks, bank robbers are either petty criminals who are caught quickly or massively organized heists. In the second case, they’re rarely referred to as “bank robbers.” In any case, the choice of the particular type of criminal I found just jarring enough to take me out of the story a little.
– I think there’s a lot here that’s great, but I felt the heavy use of flashback did it a disservice and some of the logic didn’t add up.
– Great use of flashback, and I like the premise!
– You’ve done a great job with flashback in here. I would’ve liked a little bit of dialogue, but overall this was a really fun read.
I assumed that it was the storyline which was not exciting enough for them but instead it seems to be something I have had issues with before, basically FLASH Fiction! I primarily wrote novels and short stories and it has been noticed before that rather than being self contained full stories my flash fiction pieces have either left people wanting more or been more like a set up ready for a longer piece. I did consider the type of criminal and in retrospect maybe I played it safe in my choice of wording and a more provocative criminal would have made more sense.
Overall I think the feedback is very fair and constructive and will be helpful when I try again in the next quarter, I just thought you guys might find it interesting to share this final part of this particular submission journey with me, now I shall get back to finishing writing another submission before starting a little research for my A – Z challenge.
Yesterday I received an email from Mash Stories, it was their quarterly competition I entered last month, the email thanked me but said I had failed to reach their short list and encouraged me try again next time. I will be honest I was expecting it.
Now that is not to say I think there was anything wrong with the piece I submitted but I think it was certainly wrong for this competition. I have been listening to podcasts of the short listed entries for the last few issues and realise that the piece I wrote was too simple and not clever enough. It could be that the three words that have to be included just did not inspire a more complex story, it maybe that my writing style is not consistent with what they are looking for, I guess we will find out more about that when they send the feedback I requested. But I do think it is the simplicity of the story that was my downfall. many of the other stories have a more Sci-Fi/Dystopian feel, the words for this month were ankle, fashion and criminal and I did find once I had an idea in my head I could not shift it or get past it, this is of course something I can learn from and learn to find ways to get round maybe I should write the first story then once the initial idea is out of my head maybe a second story I have to think about more will be the one more suited for submission.
The fact is it would be easy to cry into my coffee but the fact I submitted in order to be rejected is a huge step forward plus the fact even before feedback I can see areas in which I can improve and have a plan to implement that are positives. The other positive is you guys get a flash fiction to read this Sunday and you can let me know what you think of it, remember I don’t mind criticism as long as it is constructive.