Friday, December 28, 2007

Flashback Corner



I was converting some old REHupa (Robert E. Howard United Press Association) files into new Word and found some commentary that brought back memories from what is now a fairly long attempt at a writing career. Take the following little nuggets, for example. (Modern day comments are in parentheses.)

1. Good news on the writing front. I've sold an SF story called "Floater" to a mag called Radical Infinity. Sounds like an interesting magazine, though their contract was almost as long as my story.

(This magazine folded before publishing the story and although it was submitted several more times the tale has yet to see print. It was written in 1991.)

2. I just got one of the most insulting rejections of my life. This was from Jennifer M. Caudle at The PostModernist's Journal of Horror. I quote: "Mr. Gramlich, You're headed in the right direction. There is potential in your prose, but you should consider concentrating on refining both your basic writing skills and your storytelling skills. Good luck." OUCH! That hurt. And, what's worse, I thought the story was one of my better efforts. Just goes to show what I know.

(This story was "Splatter of Black," and I got this rejection in 1994. A few months later I sold the story to Dark Terrors, a hardback horror anthology that marked my most lucrative sale to that date. One editor's reject is another's buy.)

Maybe I'll post a few more such nuggets next time, just to show the ups and downs, and sometimes the just downright sideways weirdities, that happen in the writing biz.

14 comments:

Lana Gramlich said...

Never forget; anyone who rejects your work is just a stupidhead. :)

Steve Malley said...

Rejection's just such a part of life in the creative fields. Sucks, but there you are.

I've actually been planning a post or two on the subject...

Steve Malley said...

And another thing about creative fields, they draw.... *optimistic* businessfolk ('flakes' seems such a strong word), people with more enthusiasm than organization, and more faith than capital.

The Amazing Folding Magazine sucks, but at least we're not in theater, where these types abound!

Julie said...

Oh Priceless, Charles - love to see more. Was it Asimov who used to literally paste his early rejection slips on his bedroom wall?

Shauna Roberts said...

[shakes head in bemusement]

It's amazing how arbitrary the short story market is. I once got a story rejected because the editor didn't like the first name of one of the characters (at least, that's the only comment he wrote in the rejection).

How satisfying to have "Splatter of Black" accepted and earn a good fee, proving the previous editor was indeed a stupidhead.

Jack said...

Rejections can come all shapes and colors. It's rewarding to have one accepted when someone else rejected it. It's interesting how editors can see your work differently.

Charles Gramlich said...

Lana, thank you love.

Steve, yeah, I'm pretty philosophical about rejections at this point, but I wasn't always so. Good point about the "flakes." Very good point. Creative people aren't always good business heads.

Julie, I'm not sure it was Asimov but I remember that story.

Shauna, I once got a rection on a children's story because I used the word "fat" (in dialogue) and the editor took strong exception.

Jack, yeah, one editor's trash is another one's treasure.

Donnetta Lee said...

Ah, rejection, rejection, rejection! The gal who wrote it is probably a just young thing old who never wrote a line in her life or at least never had anything published in her life!

It doth make us stronger.

Donnetta

Lisa said...

Lana is so cute! I have a similar sentiment when it comes to Scott's work too. I always tell him that anybody that doesn't like his work has to be an ass ;)

Everybody needs a biggest fan, right?

the walking man said...

It's like a traffic cop if an editor doesn't reject X amount of material per month, no matter the merit, they have to go back to the mail room.

Peace

mark

Kate S said...

Thanks for those, Charles.

Charles Gramlich said...

Donnetta, It's easy to look back on them with humor. After a decade or so. ;)

Lisa, yes, she is. And yes, everyone needs a number 1 fan.

Mark, you're probably absolutely right.

Kate, you're welcome. :)

Julie said...

...It's ringing bells with me that it might have been S King as a teenager with the paste pot...

eric1313 said...

Ouch! That hurt just reading it!

I once received a huge rejection where the editor tore me apart paragraph for paragraph, and not in any constructive way. He put a lot of thought into insulting me. It was one of my first decent stories, I thought, so did my prof, but the editor of Bathtub Gin did not think so.

Still, he did spend a lot of time thinking about a story he said he hated. Must be a frustrated creative type. If I ever edit a magazine, his letter will be my guideline on how not to be to people.