COF

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

WANNA NOT GET REJECTED?

First off, what the hell happened to July??? Is it really Aug already??

Anyways, this post is kind of a sequel to my last post where I touched on getting rejected by an editor. Im highly qualified to speak on such a thing since I'm an expert at being rejected across a broad range of fields but for blog purposes, Ill stick with the writing sense.

Over the years and through many endeavors Ive learned what an editor will reject, and what an editor might not reject.

A good way to get an instant rejection is to write something that totally sucks. (been there, done that, see below) and send it in. Thats one way. Another good way to get rejected is to write a Fantasy piece (good or bad) and then send it to an editor whos only accepting Romance. On that same line of thought, not following the SUBMISSION GUIDELINES each and every editor should have listed can get you an instant rejection for a variety of reason, especially with E-Subs where there might be a spam filter involved.

The first story that Id ever written  was a short story titled Jalok And The Tweek Petals. Yeah, I know; and I think I submitted it to Weird Tales. When I wrote it I thought I was a genius, the next big thing for fantasy.  It was 5,000 words, and about 4,000 were adjectives. I'm joking, but only just. I used six or seven words to describe a mushroom, which is fine if that's what it takes, but I put all six adjectives in a row--and there were A LOT of  sentences like that throughout the story. But what was worse, was: I broke the cardinal rule on writing a successful story by revealing in the end that all the terrible stuff that happened in the story was just a dream. (cringes)
I waited the 3 or 6 months for my contract and my check, but instead received my very first rejection letter; and it was pretty informative.
It was my first hint that editors (and readers) hate stories that end in dreams, the MC being crazy, or everything gets solved by Divine Intervention.

Refrain from doing all that and you're on the right track already.

Those are the top issues that will get your MS tossed into the recycle bin in my experience. Now here are some others,

Originality--don't write something that sounds like its already been written. That means avoiding elves, dwarves, ogres, dragons, dinosaurs, alien invasions/abductions, werewolves, submarines that go to the bottom of the sea to find Atlantis, time travel, etc, etc; A few years ago vampires would have been put on that list but well....yeah

Now none of the above is completely off limits if you give it your own twist in such a way that makes it fresh. The best way to do that, I think, is to read everything you possibly can, see what other people are doing, and then do something completely different in every way. Its a double-edged sword though because  I know that there are trends. Sometimes readers like to spend months and years reading similar stories within a particular genre before needing a change. So if you come up to someone who likes to read about robots destroying the earth and offer them a story about murderous sprites rampaging through an old computer, they may politely  decline you. OR they may take you up on the offer and you can be the next big trend.

Don't know till ya try.

And you can always write a similar story that's trending and still add your own twist. The problem there is that by the time you get there, everything's already been done---almost. Its up to you to find that one thing that hasn't been done and write it. Its hard, but if it can be accomplished you'll probably have earned fans that will follow you forever.

Like I said, there is no Holy Cross against rejection, but follow the tips above and you can at least cover yourself in garlic and holy water and have a fighting chance. Just don't give up, and remember to read and write your face off like its your job because it might be your job someday.

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