Saturday Soliloquy

I hate that Saturday is always the slowest day in the blogosphere. To counter the sound of crickets, here’s my offering for today.

  1. On Monday, October 2, starting at 00:01 EST, I will post the short stories that were submitted to our little contest. I only received three  😦 , but they are all pretty cool. Readers will vote over two days for the best one!
  2. My own short-story pursuits have been going very well. Overall, I have four five fiction stories that have been accepted for publication (1 is 2 3 are already out, 3 2 1 will come out within the next few weeks, 1 in November); six five more are in review. Two of the accepted stories are microfiction (100 words or fewer) and two three are longer flash (one is humorous sci-fi; two are mainstream fiction). Of the two microfiction pieces, I thought I would have to retire one for sure, but it turned out that it was accepted in a selective magazine, against a fair bit of competition. That piece was what’s referred to as a prose poem; I certainly felt what I felt and wrote accordingly, but the brain thought that I hadn’t explained what I’d meant well enough (ah, the perils of trying to emote while being a scientist). I was so sure it didn’t stand a chance that, after submission, I rewrote it in longer forms and even as a 50% longer poem, which I then submitted to a poetry journal; I had to withdraw the poem when the shorter prose-poem version was accepted, at which point the poetry journal came back to tell me they’d liked it — a completely unexpected and welcome boost; I used to write poetry when I was younger and in a different language, so maybe it’s not entirely inconceivable that I could do it in English. Anyway, my prose-poem microfiction, in which I admit I didn’t believe very much, actually caught the eye of the editors in my first-choice magazine and was accepted! I really should believe more in my own work.
  3. Sometimes a more prestigious market (with a lower acceptance rate) will actually take a piece while one with a higher acceptance rate will not (this happens with science publishing, too). I am starting to appreciate (since I now have my own data to corroborate the effect) that it is really a matter of fit rather than absolute quality — having a piece rejected doesn’t necessarily mean that it was bad (although it might mean exactly that); rather, a rejection often means that the piece was not what that particular editor at that particular market at that particular point in time was looking for. See what Joe Kapitan says here. “I wish I would have known, starting out, that the world of writing/publishing is not rational and follows no laws of reason that I know of, other than better work stands a statistically better chance out there. ” Sounds very much like the advice usually given for submitting grant proposals!
  4. A point of pride is that I received a “We don’t want this one right now, but we like your work, please submit more” higher-tier rejection from a fairly posh literary place (there’s a rejection wiki, where you can see how some of the better known places word different tiers of rejection — here are some examples from PANK and Smokelong Quarterly). For a dilettante like me, this is high praise: it means I did have something to offer them, despite my glaring lack of MFA and prior publications. Also, I learned  that women’s response to the invitation to submit more is very different from men’s, which shouldn’t be shocking, but somehow always is.

Finally, here’s some random music from YouTube to cheer you up:


  1. Congrats on getting all the things published & am looking forward to the stories. Also: way to go with Fred Astaire & Eleanor Powell!

  2. Thanks guys! gwinne, I am only dipping my toe in the pond, garnering some experience and publication credits. Not yet swimming with the big fish… Maybe some day.

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