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Almost Success - The "Mixed Feelings" Thread

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george nik.
(@george-nik)
Silver Member
Posts: 494

Thought about creating another new thread. People have been posting such stories either on Success or on Five-Minute Rant, but I don't think they belong to either one.
I mean, a rejection is a rejection and can't ever be called success--on the other hand, unless you already have a lot of pro sales and you don't need encouragement, having some personal comments by a pro magazine is something nice.

So, in my brief "English" career, except my one publication I also have two second-round admissions and two personal rejections. Rejections continue to irritate me, because I feel I am at a point where acceptances should be starting to come my way, but still I like receiving some encouraging words--and my latest Daily SF rejection had the postscript "Almost made the second round. We liked the Arthur C. Clarke feel to the piece."

So, mixed feelings today, and I thought I'd share.

George Nikolopoulos
WOTF: 1 SF, 1 SHM, 4 HM
Fiction (EN): 43 stories sold, 29 published
Fiction (GR): c.10 stories published & a children’s novel
Amazon Page

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Topic starter Posted : June 17, 2012 3:09 am
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Jennifer Hicks
(@jennifer-hicks)
Bronze Member
Posts: 95

So this is the "almost but not quite" thread? I got a rejection from F&SF last week that said "there's some nice writing in this story." It's the first time I've received anything but a straight form rejection from them. It's not an acceptance, but it feels like progress.

Jennifer Campbell-Hicks
my blog: http://jennifercampbellhicks.blogspot.com

1X Finalist
2X Semi-finalist
2X Silver HM
13X HM

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Posted : June 17, 2012 3:41 am
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Rebecca Birch
(@rebecca-birch)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 625

I've got two stories in second rounds right now. My assumption is that they'll come back to me, because that's always my default assumption (it makes it easier when it happens), but it's encouraging to have gotten that far. So I'm happy, but, yeah, I didn't feel like I could post them over in the Success! thread. Hopefully, though! There's still a chance, right?

wotf008

Rebecca Birch
Finalist - 2, SF - 1, SHM - 1, HM - 18, R - 6
Words of Birch
Short Story Collection--Life Out of Harmony and Other Tales of Wonder

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Posted : June 17, 2012 4:16 am
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ThomasKCarpenter
(@thomaskcarpenter)
Silver Member
Posts: 442

So this is the "almost but not quite" thread? I got a rejection from F&SF last week that said "there's some nice writing in this story." It's the first time I've received anything but a straight form rejection from them. It's not an acceptance, but it feels like progress.

That is an accomplishment. Was it from Mazur or Gordon?

Either way, it's a nice sign that you're getting the editors notice. Keep sending them stories and maybe you'll break through. That's what the game is anyway. wotf007

Thomas K Carpenter
http://www.thomaskcarpenter.com
SFx2, SHMx1, HMx12 (Pro'd Out - Q4 2016)
EQMM - Feb 2015 / Abyss & Apex - Issue 50

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Posted : June 17, 2012 4:28 am
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Rebecca Birch
(@rebecca-birch)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 625

So this is the "almost but not quite" thread? I got a rejection from F&SF last week that said "there's some nice writing in this story." It's the first time I've received anything but a straight form rejection from them. It's not an acceptance, but it feels like progress.

That is an accomplishment. Was it from Mazur or Gordon?

Either way, it's a nice sign that you're getting the editors notice. Keep sending them stories and maybe you'll break through. That's what the game is anyway. wotf007

I agree with Thomas. The one time I got any personal response from F&SF was sadly on the one story I thought was the worst I had ever sent them, which made me sad, but it sure was nice to receive. That was JJA many years back, though. I have a goal to some day see Gordon's signature on a response from there. That will be an excellent day.

Rebecca Birch
Finalist - 2, SF - 1, SHM - 1, HM - 18, R - 6
Words of Birch
Short Story Collection--Life Out of Harmony and Other Tales of Wonder

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Posted : June 17, 2012 4:35 am
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bobsandiego
(@bobsandiego)
Silver Member
Posts: 395

Abyss and Apexgave me a very nice rejection stating that the pieces was "well written," however that thought the character -- and it is a one character piece -- was a little too flat to carry the tale.
It was kinda odd though getting a rejection letter that had so clearly been personally written it contained grammatical errors. (Not that I'm be fastest boat in the bay on that front.)

Literary saboteur
Blog: http://www.robertmitchellevans.com/
HM X 5
SF X 3
F X 1
Current Rejection Streak: 0

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Posted : June 17, 2012 4:52 am
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E. Caiman Sands
(@e-caimansands)
Gold Member
Posts: 872

My personals to date include: "Send me mores" from Asimov's, JJA at Lightspeed, Penumbra and a long personal from Giganotosaurus (of course, the Gator was thrilled with that wotf007 ); what I'm pretty sure was a near-win in one of Redstone's contests (from comments on their blog on my story); and second rounds at ASIM and PARSEC award.

Many moons ago I also got a personal from JJA at F&SF, during my first, abortive attempt at writing, but I don't mail to them these days as they don't take e-subs. wotf23

Never gotten a whiff from Analog, but then I don't think I've ever written an "Analog" story. Yet. wotf011 Maybe if I do, I can one day clock up a personal from each of the big three. wotf006

SF x 1 (Extreeemely happy snappy gator)
HM x 9 (Happy snappy gator)
"Europa Spring" - buy from Amazon
The Happy Snappy Gator Bog! Er, Blog...

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Posted : June 17, 2012 5:45 am
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Jennifer Hicks
(@jennifer-hicks)
Bronze Member
Posts: 95

So this is the "almost but not quite" thread? I got a rejection from F&SF last week that said "there's some nice writing in this story." It's the first time I've received anything but a straight form rejection from them. It's not an acceptance, but it feels like progress.

That is an accomplishment. Was it from Mazur or Gordon?

Either way, it's a nice sign that you're getting the editors notice. Keep sending them stories and maybe you'll break through. That's what the game is anyway. wotf007

Thanks, and it was from Mazur. If it were Gordon, I'd probably frame it. Ha. I'll keep sending my best stuff there and hope for the best.

Jennifer Campbell-Hicks
my blog: http://jennifercampbellhicks.blogspot.com

1X Finalist
2X Semi-finalist
2X Silver HM
13X HM

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Posted : June 17, 2012 6:05 am
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Dustin Adams
(@axeminister)
Gold Member
Posts: 997

My assumption is that they'll come back to me, because that's always my default assumption (it makes it easier when it happens),

I once heard Michael J Fox say, (paraphrasing) "Don't be pessimistic, because if the bad thing happens, you've lived with it twice."
Now, I don't think he was promoting thinking the good thing had actually happened, but to not "live with the worst."

I'm still working on applying this, but I believe I can someday get there.

As for my Gray Area on topic info, I have a story in the 2nd round at DSF right now.
Hopefully I'll be able to bump it to the Success! thread.

D

2x Finalist
2x Semi
6x Silver
9x HM
1 of 6 SilverHM. 1 of 3 DSF: Short Stories. My Finalist #1 Finalist #2 coming soon in 4th & Starlight

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Posted : June 17, 2012 8:58 am
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george nik.
(@george-nik)
Silver Member
Posts: 494

Good luck with it, Dustin!

George Nikolopoulos
WOTF: 1 SF, 1 SHM, 4 HM
Fiction (EN): 43 stories sold, 29 published
Fiction (GR): c.10 stories published & a children’s novel
Amazon Page

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Topic starter Posted : June 17, 2012 10:38 am
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s_c_baker
(@s_c_baker)
Gold Member
Posts: 979

Many moons ago I also got a personal from JJA at F&SF, during my first, abortive attempt at writing, but I don't mail to them these days as they don't take e-subs. wotf23

Yeah... what is up with that? wotf004

Other than my semifinalist, the best thing I've ever gotten was a "we wanted this story to win so much, but it didn't fit the theme quite well enough" from Penumbra.

Stewart C Baker - 1st place, Q2 V32
My contest history: Semi-finalist, R, HM, R, R, HM, HM, R, R, R, R, HM, R, R, R, R, Winner
My published fiction, poetry, &c.

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Posted : June 17, 2012 11:17 am
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Rebecca Birch
(@rebecca-birch)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 625

My assumption is that they'll come back to me, because that's always my default assumption (it makes it easier when it happens),

I once heard Michael J Fox say, (paraphrasing) "Don't be pessimistic, because if the bad thing happens, you've lived with it twice."
Now, I don't think he was promoting thinking the good thing had actually happened, but to not "live with the worst."

I'm still working on applying this, but I believe I can someday get there.

As for my Gray Area on topic info, I have a story in the 2nd round at DSF right now.
Hopefully I'll be able to bump it to the Success! thread.

D

Good luck with DSF! My best result there was a "Nice voice. It was a tough decision." That was not from a second round that I know of, so I assume it was a first round kind of tough decision. wotf008

My 2nd round subs are over at ASIM and Penumbra.

As to the assuming rejection, I don't think I do it in a 'living it' kind of way. I don't bemoan the fact that the stories are likely to come back. Actually, I find it encouraging that they are out there in a place that they can come back from. I guess I figure that as long as I'm not letting it get in the way of submitting, and I'm not sitting around agonizing about my impending rejection (I'm not), then it's all good.

Rebecca Birch
Finalist - 2, SF - 1, SHM - 1, HM - 18, R - 6
Words of Birch
Short Story Collection--Life Out of Harmony and Other Tales of Wonder

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Posted : June 17, 2012 12:56 pm
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katsincommand
(@katsincommand)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 230

I've got a few 2nd round items as semi-pro zines. I've got one pro zine that hasn't yet rejected almost going on a year now that they've confirmed they're still considering. And then there's my semi-finalist. Enough that I know I need to keep pushing. I know my time will come.

Dawn Bonanno
http://www.dmbonanno.com

SF 2 / HM 6 / R 16 / Total 24 Entries

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Posted : June 17, 2012 1:31 pm
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Rebecca Birch
(@rebecca-birch)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 625

I've got a few 2nd round items as semi-pro zines. I've got one pro zine that hasn't yet rejected almost going on a year now that they've confirmed they're still considering. And then there's my semi-finalist. Enough that I know I need to keep pushing. I know my time will come.

That's awesome. Keep it up!

Rebecca Birch
Finalist - 2, SF - 1, SHM - 1, HM - 18, R - 6
Words of Birch
Short Story Collection--Life Out of Harmony and Other Tales of Wonder

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Posted : June 17, 2012 1:39 pm
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katsincommand
(@katsincommand)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 230

You too, Rebecca. And everyone else. Just don't give up. If you're getting these 'bites', someone thinks your writing is good enough to warrant at least a thorough read. Smile

Dawn Bonanno
http://www.dmbonanno.com

SF 2 / HM 6 / R 16 / Total 24 Entries

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Posted : June 17, 2012 2:25 pm
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morshana
(@morshana)
Gold Member
Posts: 813

I've gotten the "Thanks for submitting this story, but I'm going to pass on it. It's nicely written and I enjoyed reading it, but overall it didn't quite win me over, I'm afraid. Best of luck to you placing this one elsewhere, and thanks again for sending it my way. I look forward to seeing your next submission." from JJA at Lightspeed.

Also received some nice personal rejections from semi-pro magazines.

Jeanette Gonzalez

HM x4, SHM x2, F x1

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Posted : June 17, 2012 2:36 pm
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WriteToLive
(@writetolive)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 224

Most enjoyable personal rejection I've received was from Redstone. Said it was an "enjoying read." Alas, it was "a bit too YA." wotf017

Michael Beers
Blog: Write To Live
Latest Out: Detroit Ex Nihilo at AESciFi
Now Available: Zion in For All Eternity: Tales of the Seven Deadly Sins (Dark Opus Press)

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Posted : June 17, 2012 2:46 pm
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LDWriter2
(@ldwriter2)
Gold Star Member
Posts: 1267

Thought about creating another new thread. People have been posting such stories either on Success or on Five-Minute Rant, but I don't think they belong to either one.
I mean, a rejection is a rejection and can't ever be called success--on the other hand, unless you already have a lot of pro sales and you don't need encouragement, having some personal comments by a pro magazine is something nice.

So, in my brief "English" career, except my one publication I also have two second-round admissions and two personal rejections. Rejections continue to irritate me, because I feel I am at a point where acceptances should be starting to come my way, but still I like receiving some encouraging words--and my latest Daily SF rejection had the postscript "Almost made the second round. We liked the Arthur C. Clarke feel to the piece."

So, mixed feelings today, and I thought I'd share.

I know the feeling. Depending on what is said I call it a consolation prize.

I've only gotten one from a market that doesn't usually send a comment. Right after my first sell I got a personal note from JJA. That story also received my first HM here. Since then nothing though. Not counting those like Beneath Ceaseless Skies that always says something.

Working on turning Lead into Gold.
Four HMs From WotF
The latest was Q1'12
HM-quarter 4 Volume 32
One HM for another contest
published in Strange New Worlds Ten.
Another HM http://onthepremises.com/minis/mini_18.html

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Posted : June 17, 2012 5:00 pm
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WriteToLive
(@writetolive)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 224

I remember there was one Sheila Williams gave for one of my stories. She liked it, but not enough to buy it. Still haven't sold that story. wotf017

Michael Beers
Blog: Write To Live
Latest Out: Detroit Ex Nihilo at AESciFi
Now Available: Zion in For All Eternity: Tales of the Seven Deadly Sins (Dark Opus Press)

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Posted : June 18, 2012 12:48 am
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s_c_baker
(@s_c_baker)
Gold Member
Posts: 979

Let's see how quickly this thread overtakes the success one... wotf001

Stewart C Baker - 1st place, Q2 V32
My contest history: Semi-finalist, R, HM, R, R, HM, HM, R, R, R, R, HM, R, R, R, R, Winner
My published fiction, poetry, &c.

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Posted : June 18, 2012 3:16 am
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dantzel
(@dantzel)
Silver Member
Posts: 299

I can help! I received a very nice personal rejection from Edmund Schubert at IGMS this morning - I sent my story yesterday. He told me my flash story was very well-written, but it was more of a vignette than a story because it's lacking a sense of being a key, defining moment for the main character. Then he said to send more when I have something I think is right for IGMS.

So... almost success. wotf006

I count this as my first real personal rejection.

This makes me wonder, though, am I going to have trouble selling this as a vignette? Or MUST I edit this to have a key defining moment? It's only 1000 words.

Vol 29 Q3 Semi Finalist

http://www.dantzelcherry.com

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Posted : June 20, 2012 3:26 am
gower21
(@gower21)
Gold Member
Posts: 757

Great idea for a thread, George!

Starting about March, I've gotten an overwhelming number of personal rejections or at the very least a note a the bottom saying it was close or an almost. It's nice to see the change develop in my newer stories, but I can't wait for that tipping point now!

ETA: Danzel--how awesome to almost break into IGMS. I'll be expecting a post from you in the success thread soon!

Tina
http://www.smashedpicketfences.com

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Posted : June 20, 2012 3:35 am
s_c_baker
(@s_c_baker)
Gold Member
Posts: 979

I can help! I received a very nice personal rejection from Edmund Schubert at IGMS this morning - I sent my story yesterday. He told me my flash story was very well-written, but it was more of a vignette than a story because it's lacking a sense of being a key, defining moment for the main character. Then he said to send more when I have something I think is right for IGMS.

So... almost success. wotf006

I count this as my first real personal rejection.

This makes me wonder, though, am I going to have trouble selling this as a vignette? Or MUST I edit this to have a key defining moment? It's only 1000 words.

You could try sending it to a market that's geared towards flash fiction.

"Grand Science Fiction" looked promising, and pays pro rates, but their response rate is currently only 70%, and they hit some pretty big stumbling blocks when they first started, so... wotf017 (And they're closed to subs right now, anyway.)

You might consider the also-fairly-new Nine, if you think your piece fits what they're looking for. They look promising. Smile

Stewart C Baker - 1st place, Q2 V32
My contest history: Semi-finalist, R, HM, R, R, HM, HM, R, R, R, R, HM, R, R, R, R, Winner
My published fiction, poetry, &c.

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Posted : June 20, 2012 4:49 am
dantzel
(@dantzel)
Silver Member
Posts: 299

Thanks for the suggestions, Stewart! I already subbed it to DSF, but it was turned down flat. Which goes to show that the biz doesn't make sense because my 1900 word story got to second round there, and I don't think it's nearly as good.

I am definitely looking for flash markets that like SF!

Vol 29 Q3 Semi Finalist

http://www.dantzelcherry.com

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Posted : June 20, 2012 5:29 am
Rebecca Birch
(@rebecca-birch)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 625

Thanks for the suggestions, Stewart! I already subbed it to DSF, but it was turned down flat. Which goes to show that the biz doesn't make sense because my 1900 word story got to second round there, and I don't think it's nearly as good.

I am definitely looking for flash markets that like SF!

My stories that have been best received at markets always surprise me, as they're often the ones I think have issues. It's a mystery to me. Which is why I keep sending, no matter whether I think it's not so hot. We are sooooo not the best judges of our own work.

Rebecca Birch
Finalist - 2, SF - 1, SHM - 1, HM - 18, R - 6
Words of Birch
Short Story Collection--Life Out of Harmony and Other Tales of Wonder

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Posted : June 20, 2012 5:33 am
s_c_baker
(@s_c_baker)
Gold Member
Posts: 979

Thanks for the suggestions, Stewart! I already subbed it to DSF, but it was turned down flat. Which goes to show that the biz doesn't make sense because my 1900 word story got to second round there, and I don't think it's nearly as good.

I am definitely looking for flash markets that like SF!

My stories that have been best received at markets always surprise me, as they're often the ones I think have issues. It's a mystery to me. Which is why I keep sending, no matter whether I think it's not so hot. We are sooooo not the best judges of our own work.

I think it's just that as writers, we have very different tastes than editors and readers.

Remember, there's no objective "high quality"--everything is coloured by personal taste and expectations.

Edit: And no problem, Dantzel! Always glad to help. wotf007

Stewart C Baker - 1st place, Q2 V32
My contest history: Semi-finalist, R, HM, R, R, HM, HM, R, R, R, R, HM, R, R, R, R, Winner
My published fiction, poetry, &c.

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Posted : June 20, 2012 5:38 am
dantzel
(@dantzel)
Silver Member
Posts: 299

Yeah it just makes me laugh - I think 'really? That one?? Okay...'

Good thing this is the case, or else most of us would never get past our internal critic!!

Vol 29 Q3 Semi Finalist

http://www.dantzelcherry.com

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Posted : June 20, 2012 5:50 am
george nik.
(@george-nik)
Silver Member
Posts: 494

My stories that have been best received at markets always surprise me, as they're often the ones I think have issues. It's a mystery to me. Which is why I keep sending, no matter whether I think it's not so hot. We are sooooo not the best judges of our own work.

I think it's just that as writers, we have very different tastes than editors and readers.

Remember, there's no objective "high quality"--everything is coloured by personal taste and expectations.

I don't think that writers have different tastes than editors and readers as a group. I think that every writer, every editor, every reader, every market is different. If you read each magazine's "what we want and what we don't want" page, it's impressive how different their tastes are. I think that all good stories will get accepted eventually, if you keep trying; it's just a matter of finding the right market for them.

George Nikolopoulos
WOTF: 1 SF, 1 SHM, 4 HM
Fiction (EN): 43 stories sold, 29 published
Fiction (GR): c.10 stories published & a children’s novel
Amazon Page

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Topic starter Posted : June 20, 2012 7:17 am
Jess
 Jess
(@jess_1617100647)
Bronze Member
Posts: 88

I don't think that writers have different tastes than editors and readers as a group. I think that every writer, every editor, every reader, every market is different. If you read each magazine's "what we want and what we don't want" page, it's impressive how different their tastes are. I think that all good stories will get accepted eventually, if you keep trying; it's just a matter of finding the right market for them.

I don't know. I find I tend to write to an awkward length, which does wonders for culling the pool of potential markets. I guess that's what e-pubbing's for, though.

Oh dear. I need a signature.
And an avatar.
And probably other things I don't even know about.

I feel naked.

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Posted : June 20, 2012 7:26 am
s_c_baker
(@s_c_baker)
Gold Member
Posts: 979

I don't think that writers have different tastes than editors and readers as a group. I think that every writer, every editor, every reader, every market is different. If you read each magazine's "what we want and what we don't want" page, it's impressive how different their tastes are. I think that all good stories will get accepted eventually, if you keep trying; it's just a matter of finding the right market for them.

I agree and disagree. You're right to point out that every individual is different, but I think that--as people engaged in the creation of fiction as well as its digestion--we as writers sometimes pay attention to a completely different set of things that the average reader wouldn't even pick up on.

(I'm not saying this is good or bad necessarily, just that it's there.)

Stewart C Baker - 1st place, Q2 V32
My contest history: Semi-finalist, R, HM, R, R, HM, HM, R, R, R, R, HM, R, R, R, R, Winner
My published fiction, poetry, &c.

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Posted : June 20, 2012 7:40 am
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