Archive for March, 2012

Rejection is something that practically all writers have some experience with. Stephen King got rejected, JK Rowling got rejected, in fact the only author off the top of my head who was never rejected was James Herbert, who pretty much sold The Rats to the first publisher he sent it to, but even then they assumed he’d been rejected before, and he tells the story that they asked what else he had, somehow assuming The Rats was far from his first novel, and that he probably had a few others gathering dust in a drawer somewhere.

This subject has probably been blogged to death by others, but I suspect it’s a rite of passage for anyone who blogs about writing, to discuss the issue at some point, so I’m discussing it now.

I got two rejections in the post on Saturday morning, one from the magazine Interzone, and the other from the comic 2000AD. That they both arrived on the same morning was an unhappy coincidence, and even though I tried to keep my hopes up when opening each of them, I guess I know they were likely rejections, after all surely if they were interested they’d have emailed/called me?

Unfortunately the nature of many of the publishers out there means that they don’t have the time to spare in providing any feedback (though I did get some positive words about the first strip I submitted to 2000 AD a few years ago, and some of the indie publishers will often give you a bit of feedback.)

I understand why this is, and given the mounds of stuff they need to read through it must be a hard enough job just to get everything read in a reasonable amount of time, without then providing feedback to the vast majority who they choose not to publish.

The downside is that as such it’s hard to know how close you are to being accepted, or it has to be said, how far away, but that’s just one of the things we writers have to put up with.

Does rejection get any easier? I’d say probably not, and I’ve even heard professional writers say that it still hurts. For me the twin rejections were mitigated somewhat by me getting Galley Proofs of the Dead Rush anthology to check for errors. Having had stories published does soften the blow a little. At the end of the day I know I have some small modicum of talent—whether it’s enough to see me go further is another matter but even when I’m in a run of rejections the logical part of my mind keeps insisting that I’ll get an acceptance again, because I’ve had them before.

Of course this assumes I always listen to the logical part of my brain 🙂

I still remember what it was like before anyone chose to publish me. It’s hard, hard work to keep going, to keep sending story after story out without success. But if you want to make it as a writer I’m afraid that’s what you have to do. Rejection might mean you aren’t cut out to be a writer, or it might just mean you need to improve, or that maybe your style or writing doesn’t appeal to the particular person who’s rejected you.

Dealing with rejection is like the cliché of falling off a horse, if you want to be a rider you have to get back on the horse and if you want to be a writer you have to keep writing and keep submitting. Write a new story and try again, and try sending the rejected story elsewhere; I’ve had stories published that were rejected by several people before being accepted. It’s hard going sometimes, and it isn’t easy…unless you’re James “lucky” Herbert of course!

And that’s why later on this week a new story will be winging its way to Interzone.

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I feel like Danson!

Posted: March 14, 2012 in TV reviews

The first episode of the new season on CSI aired last night on channel 5, notable because it’s the 12th season of the show (seriously I’d love to go to Vegas but by my reckoning you have a 50/50 chance of being horribly murdered if you go there) but perhaps more importantly because of the new big name lead actor. Laurence Fishburne (who replaced William Petersen) has left the show after about 2 ½ years and been replaced by Ted (Cheers) Danson (I’m pretty sure that’s his full name).

It’s nice to have the show back, yeah it’s formulaic but you get what you pay for. I like the characters and I’m amused that even after so many years they can still conjure up inventive deaths and mysteries. I don’t want to know how the writers found out about the octopus stuff though!

And what of the new boy, Ted Danson’s DB Russell? Well obviously I don’t know how things are going to pan out long term, but it’s an assured start, and Danson already seems more comfortable in his role, and on the show, after one episode than Fishburne did after dozens of them. It helps as well that Russell is the supervisor; it always seemed odd that Langston was such a rookie character given Fishburne was the big name—it was potentially interesting but all too soon Langston morphed into first an arse kicking, name taking action hero, then a potential psychopath, and he never seemed to fit in.

Russell on the other hand already seems quite at home, and has that relaxed, quirky nature the show’s been missing since Grissom left, though judging by the first episode he’s going to be quirkier than Gil Grissom ever was. My only fear is that he becomes too kooky, but for the moment I’m impressed. The show might actually go back to being quite fun to watch now.

The first hurdle

Posted: March 14, 2012 in Regarding writing

Learned today that a story I’d submitted to an Australian magazine called ‘Andromeda Spaceways In-flight Magazine’ (gotta love that title) has got through the first stage of the submission process and has been passed to a second round of reading. Still some way to go before an acceptance (There is a third round) but it’s a positive little sign anyway, and it lends weight to the notion that the story has some merit, even if it doesn’t progress any further.

 Firstly I got through the post two copies of the British Fantasy Society journal from last autumn, which featured my story Adrift on an Empty Sea. It’s a huge honour to be published in this publication, and a big thrill to have my name mentioned on the same back cover as Clive Barker (he drew the front cover, see pic.)

Secondly, I heard that Wicked East Press, an American small press publisher, want to include my story ‘Below Noon’ in their anthology ‘Dead Rush’, a compilation of horror Western tales. Really chuffed at this as I haven’t been published by them before. This means I’ll soon have been published by Bridge House and the British Fantasy Society in the UK, and Pill Hill, Wicked East and Hungur magazine in the US. Being published is always a huge confidence boost, but being accepted by a new publisher is an added bonus, as it’s nice to know your work appeals to more than just one person or group of people.

No news on when Dead Rush will be published but I’ll keep you up to date.