Thursday, August 05, 2004


Rejection--a rather terse one--from SciFiction for "Smokey's Blues." I don't know what to do with this one now; it clocks in at 9200 words, and has already been bounced from F&SF, Realms (with a note saying "almost") and now Datlow. I don't know of any other likely markets that will take something that long.

I've got a quandary with another story of mine, "Shortest Night." It's a weird little slipstreamy/historo-mythical piece with a child protagonist, with all the market complications that brings. I've been working on it and sending it out since I first wrote it at Odyssey in 1996, but all the likely markets have bounced it. Everyone who's not an editor that reads it loves it, and while there's a possibility they're all blowing smoke, I doubt it. I'm a firm believer that it's important to keep sending stuff out, but what happens when you run out of markets?

I have other stories like this, that I think are good but just never seem to make it. Maybe I've lost all perspective on them, and they're not as good as I think they are. This is certainly possible. But I have a hard time giving up on stories. I'm always thinking of ways to fix what I think is wrong, yet I always approach those sort of wholesale revisions very carefully, because you can fix the life right out of a story. I've done it.

I have to remind myself that I'm the one who insists on writing this difficult-to-categorize stuff. If I was in this just to make sales I suppose I'd approach things differently, and think twice about how marketable an idea was before I started on it. Which is not to say that I think these stories aren't selling because the magazines are too crass and commercial. Maybe that's part of it, and maybe not. I just don't know, and therein is the frustration.


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