Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A...umm...unique rejection letter.

I have been submitting stories this week to various magazines and anthologies and received a rejection in my email just this morning for a story I sent off yesterday. I've been sent rejection letters before but the content of this one threw me a bit and so Ithought I'd share it with the denizens of the World Wide Interweb:

"The concept is actually pretty good but there's too much telling and not enough showing. There's a lot in here you're trying to convey in 2,000 words, and so you're having to just recap for the reader instead of showing actual emotionally involving scenes that let the reader reach his own conclusion. You're losing your readers at the beginning. It's no criticism of your writing style and skill - I don't think even the best of the best SF writers could cover as much of a story you're trying to tell in so few words. There's a bit of unsolicited advice, but I think unsolicited advice is better than a form "no".

Please send me more soon!"

All writers have occasionally been guilty of too much telling in their work. It's always good to get a personal rejection and the encouragement to send more is heartening as well. But am I wrong in feeling that the main issue was that the story was too ambitious?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Note from My Teacher...30 years ago!

"Dear Mrs. Nadeau (That's my mom, in case you're wondering),

There has been improvement in Chris' work and behavior. We still have some unfinished work at times, but the quality of his class assignments is much better.

Chris is still bringing toys to school. If we have trouble with the toys, I keep them until time to go home.

Thank you for your help from home. I know Chris has the ability to do above average work and I am pleased with the improvement so far.

Sincerely,
Mrs. Eastman"

I ran across that letter while going through an old family photo album. It's funny how we can place our later years in context with a document. I know some historians whose training involved examining actual documents as opposed to simply text books and it definitely makes a difference. For instance, I can discern from this letter that my tendency to not finish tasks I either find unimportant or ridiculous is a genuine personality trait as opposed to a learned behavior. I can also tell that my imagination was more important to me than dull, meticulous school work, as evidenced by the "trouble with toys" the teachers mentions.

Oddly enough, I don't remember a Mrs. Eastman. Her name rings no bells and I can't even place the issues we were having in any type of context. I guess that shows how much impact teachers had on my life, which is to say they barely registered at all.

When I read this letter, I feel nothing. No sense of deja vu, no nostalgia, no yearning for the way things were. I just see the functional letter of a sub-par functionary in a machine whose purpose is to enforce social restrictions, more concerned with the smooth running of her classroom than anything else. That must be why I never had much love for teachers and it also explains my issues with authority figures in general until recently.

Ah, letters home to our parents. Just another way to remind ourselves how we became what we are...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My first story for Yahoo

They asked me to write a short story with a Labor Day theme. Click on the hyper-link and tell me what you think.