Tuesday, February 01, 2005

On rejects and rewrites

I don't normally share rejections letters on my blog, just as I don't normally show off various surgery scars and such in public. But I got in one from Sheila Williams at Asimov's yesterday that I have to share (if only so Lou Antonelli can gloat that he's been published in Asimov's and I still haven't been):
Dear Jayme,

Thanks for letting me see "Herne's Children." I thought the writing was lovely, but I'm afraid the story isn't quite right for the magazine. Please let me see more of your work when you have it, though.

Story of my life. Everything I write is good enough for someone else to publish, just not the editor I've submitted it to (well, not everything. I still write the occasional stinker. But the smell gives those away). Que sera sera. Unlike other positive rejections, which usually send me into a raging fit of indifference, this one actually piqued my interest. "Lovely" writing? Hmm. That's new. Progress, of sorts, with the new editor. We'll see how she responds to the current submission, which is written in the same style, but slightly more mainstream (as far as contemporary fantasy goes).

And now for the rewrite segment of this post. Friends and neighbors, a word of writing advice: If you, for some unfathomable reason, happen to have two versions of the same story saved on your computer in different formats (WP and RTF for the technically inclined), do not assume these two files are identical when you begin your long-delayed rewrite of a rather long story. And when you finish rewriting the first couple of pages, and keep running into sections that don't read the way you remember, there's probably a reason for that. Don't just ignore those gnawing doubts of confusion. Turst me on this one. You'll save yourself wasted hours, public humiliation and much random cursing.

Now Playing: Talking Heads Speaking in Tongues


  1. Hi, Jayme! Hey, I get the same letters from Sheila. Remember, she's never accepted anything from me, too. It was Gardner who accepted my story.

    I learned a long time ago, from lots of people, that editors get enough stories that they don't need to encourage people unless they think they'll eventually buy a story. So you're probably gonna get a sale, anyhow.

    Rememnber, you could have said I was too old...

    Hope to see you at the NEXT ConDFW.

  2. Lou, you are too old. I thought that went without saying!

  3. That explains why my hand is shaking as I check my galleys from Asimov's...

    OK, I know I'm being an *. Sorry. But I couldn't resist.