Slush Wars

Posted: 6th November 2009 by onyxhawke in Uncategorized
Tags:

Well, the most recent run through the slush wasn’t really warlike, sadly it wasn’t terribly productive either. Only two or three died in one line, and several make it over five pages, which just means it took longer to get to some form of "no".

I really do want to thank the person who gifted me with NAVU, I’m quite glad I didn’t have anything in my mouth I’d have ruined keyboard and monitor. I think I laughed for a good five minutes.

Sadly, nothing I felt was strong enough for the market at this point, but I soldier on.

  • I explained the concept of "get to 'no'" to a disgruntled writer recently and they got their underoos in a twist. Raged that their stories deserved a better reading than one from that POV. My reminder that the people who shop for books in bookstores are often less generous in their reading than editors and agents was accepted with much pissing and moaning.
    Maybe I'm a backwards writer, but I've found every rejection I've received to be useful. My writing gets better after each one. At the very least, they give me a good idea of which stories I should pay extra attention to and which I should let go of. If I get actual feedback instead of a form letter, I consider that story a winner in the works, and I celebrate the 'no'.
    Not that I have a lot of time to write since Crossed Genres came to life. But still.

    • For me to actually put a "why" in the letter, normally takes at least 5-10 pages, but a no can come in 10 words. I don't use a form letter because I type fast enough that it would be slower to copy and paste one, so I just don't bother. But yeah, two or three of my clients have mentioned the value of the "no". I may ask two or three people to send me a long form explanation of what it was sometime.

      • Works with me. When you said you "couldn't get your head around" something, it explained a lot. I simply hadn't made it clear that the people were expecting my character to show up. Now working in more detail about the premonitions some of the magical people have. Didn't think that would require a total rewrite.
        However, I am well into the second book, my writing has gotten more bang-y, and now the first book seems sort of watery in some parts. So, yeah, going through it again.

      • Well, at our busiest we're not dealing with the volume you have. We still have the luxury of reading to the bottom of every first page and personalizing the rejections of those stories on our short list before the final cut. If current trends continue, however… We'll have to adjust.

    • "I explained the concept of "get to 'no'" to a disgruntled writer recently and they got their underoos in a twist. Raged that their stories deserved a better reading than one from that POV."
      Certainly lots of stories "deserve" better. There simply aren't enough agents to do that. Did the person offer to help you read your shush pile?

      • There aren't enough agents, and even if there were, that wouldn't mean that the stories would fare any better on store shelves. This writer hasn't come to terms with the sales end of publishing, where store shelves are like Survivor islands. Those books are living the Darwinian dream out there in reality, but this writer apparently thinks that even the iffiest stories should be published and thrown to the wolves (i.e. readers).
        I'm just not that cold-hearted.
        And I have slush readers, but if they ever demonstrated a selection process like this writer suggests, I'd refuse their 'help'.

        • Ah. Ripe for the self-publishers.☠ People have no idea how many writers there are–possibly more writers than readers.
          I'm just not that cold-hearted.
          … to the readers or the writers?☺

          • To the stories. Readers can ignore stories they don't like – they're great at that. And writers keep writing, regardless. But the stories? They're left to their own devices, and frankly? Most aren't strong enough to survive on their own. Better to keep them safely tucked away on their creators' hard drives where they are safe from the literary food chain. 😉

        • I disagree with your assertion that there are not enough agents–there are people aplenty claiming to be literary agents (just type in literary agent into any search engine and up will pop enough names to fill a medium-sized city's phone book), many of whom truly mean well, they just don't know what the hell they're doing. And then there are those who are nothing better than carrion-eaters. The problem for any aspiring writer is to figure out who is legit and who isn't with little or no hard data to go on. Submitting is often as not a crap shoot.
          The paucity is in honest and skilled agents who fully realize that being a literary agent does not make them semi divine.
          I do, however, fully agree with your remark about the Darwinian theory in action on the bookshelves. Sad, but true.

          • Fair enough. I meant that there aren't enough honest and skilled agents who fully realize that being a literary agent does not make them semi divine, but what I said was unclear.
            I like your version better.

            • Feel free to use it–no copyright infringement worries.