daidoji_gisei: Lotus flower (Lotus)
[personal profile] daidoji_gisei
Having missed three days in a row of writing on my NaNoWriMo novel, I really really need to hit the 2000/day mark if I am to finish on time. Trying to stay calm about this.

Yesterday I inked up the fox pen! I used Diamine Sepia, because that is the first in sample I came across that coordinated with the color of the pen. The pen itself feels nice in the hand, which makes me happy. The ink, on the other hand, is very blah. I think I'll try switching out the fine nib for something more dramatic and see if it helps. If not, I'll just make an entry in my ink log and dump it. I have too much ink on hand suffer through one I don't want to look at.

I also tried the Franklin-Christoph Dark Denim in my Black Ice pen. I like the color, but it seems like a very dry ink--the nib just kind of drags, and I know from previous experience that this is a smoother nib. I'm tempted to add a pin-prick of dish detergent to the converter and see if that helps.

While browsing a writers forum over breakfast I came across a post that broke down just how impossible it is for a new writer to get a short story sold. At least now I can tell myself that it isn't me, it's just the numbers. And DA started life as an experiment in writing first-person, so I still got that much good out of it.

Now on to a busy day of housework and NaNoWriMo.

Date: 2014-11-11 02:09 am (UTC)
yhlee: wax seal (Default)
From: [personal profile] yhlee
If you wouldn't mind, Nancy, link me to the post? I'm guessing from your description that I...do not agree (there's a particular version of the argument that I'm thinking of) but naturally I won't know without seeing it.

Date: 2014-11-11 03:02 am (UTC)
yhlee: wax seal (Default)
From: [personal profile] yhlee
I'm addressing this solely from the viewpoint of selling short stories, not breaking into novels from short stories (I glanced at #1 in the thread and it seems that this is where it started?).

The part about creditworthy markets being the ones to target is pretty much dead-on. Basically you want to be subbing either for money or prestige--and honestly money usually translates into prestige because the higher-paying zines can afford to attract the bigger-name/better writers. But basically, at your level of skill, if it doesn't pay SFWA pro rates, you should move on. The no-pay or 1/2-cent-per-word markets are generally not going to be worth listing on a cover letter.

But the numbers game is not as dire as it sounds. For one thing, all other things being equal, novels are a better moneymaking proposition than short stories. If you are already a name writer, and you're not one of those writers who prefers or does better at shorts rather than novels (consider Harlan Ellison or Ted Chiang), you're better off spending the bulk of your time on novels. Short story writers who are pursuing the story --> novelist path will either plateau or break into novels and then their story output drops, at which point those slots open up.

And the other thing is writers stop writing, or they die, or whatever, and editors aren't stupid. I really believe they're looking to discover tomorrow's good writers before that other editor over there snaps them up. A viable magazine is not only going to publish material from established writers. It makes no sense. They want to develop and nurture budding writers so the cycle can go on.

And the last and probably most important point is on the other end. The sad truth is # of slots aside, the competition is the other side of the equation. The vast majority of stories were never in the running to begin with. You're only competing against that top 10%. If my computer recovers I can pull the statistics for you, but as a first reader I was rejecting over 90% of the slush that came into my inbox. From my point of view, in terms of competing for the head editor's attention, that 90% might as well not have been there. You're in that 10%, even if you don't have sf/f mainstream credits yet. For the skilled writer, the odds are much better.

And because it's worth reiterating in general--a given rejection slip doesn't mean a given story is not sellable, it just means it didn't sell to that editor at that time, for reasons that might not just be quality but a failure to connect (and remember we all have different tastes, so the thing Editor A hates might be the thing Editor B loves) or just inventory or scheduling. I've had a rejection from F&SF where Gordon Van Gelder told me he liked it but he was bouncing it because he already had a mystical camera story and it made no sense to have a second in inventory. (No really, these things happen.) I had a 10,000-word story that I sent to Ann Leckie that I'd given up on selling because it was too long for most markets, or they didn't like the worldbuilding--she came back to me and said it felt like a longer story that had been cut short and she wanted to see the longer version, and I sent her the older uncut version--and she bought it. Even if you have to trunk something for some years, you might be able to dig it out later and rework it, or pass it to an editor who's looking for something just like it all of a sudden. It's all about persistence, good backups, and luck--but you can't take advantage of the luck without the other two.


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