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Editing Report #2

I'm one week into this editing gig, and the only thing really new to report is that I sort of resent AOL announcing "You've got mail!" just as I finish reading and responding to the last manuscript of the day. 

My correspondence style has become pretty clipped.  My bare bones rejection is this, "Hi, (author's name).  I've had a chance to read your story, 'Death Dance at the OK Corral."  Unfortunately, it does not fit the book's needs.  Good luck with this story elsewhere."

Of the manuscripts that have come in, half start with a Sam Spade-like clone with his feet up on a seedy desk and a bottle of rotgut in the top drawer.  The action begins when the dame walks in.  Sigh.  I'll probably take one story like that.

If I like the writing a lot, I'll add, "Please feel free to submit another if you think it fits the guidelines."

Forty-six manuscripts have come in so far.  I've put nine in the hold-for-further-consideration folder.  I'll cull from that folder periodically.

Hey!  Out of forty authors (some have sent more than one manuscript), only three look like they came from women.  I'd like some balance in the book!

It's still hard not to read all the way to the end of a manuscript that I know I will not be taking (either because it's cliched or the writing is weak).  I have this vision of running into the writer at a convention, and he says something like, "Hi, Jim.  I know you bounced my story, but I wondered what you thought of it overall."  And I'll have to say, "I didn't read all of it."  That sounds so cold.

Of course, it wouldn't matter if I did read it all the way to the end because I have an awful memory.  I wouldn't recall the piece anyway.

Oh, and here is a cool gif that Doug Wood, who is the publisher for the book, had done up.  I like it.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 22nd, 2007 04:53 am (UTC)
Having read thousands of manuscripts over the last 11+ years, I can count on one hand the number of writers who've asked me specifically about stories I've read (or, as is usually the case, NOT read), and most of those are via email. I usually will just say I can't recall. Because usually I can't even recall the story, let alone how far I might have read into it!
Jun. 27th, 2007 07:51 am (UTC)
anthology submission nut
Hi Jim

Recently, I’ve discovered that I’m much more motivated to write and submit a story to anthologies than to magazines. I think it has to do with the specificity of an anthology call for submissions as well as the one-off deadline nature of anthologies [quite similar to “home shopping network” consumer behaviour in a slight way].

Besides the normal sources of info like Ralan and Duotrope, I’d like to see a real-time site dedicated to anthology news with links to guidelines, real-time updated acceptance percentages, and editor livejournal or blogs. It could be called “Speculative Anthology News” or something more catchy.

The Hardboiled Horror anthology is such a cool idea. For my money, there isn’t nearly enough mystery mixed horror / SF / Fantasy in short fiction or novels. Speculative fiction seems to have a natural and untapped (or under used) link to the Mystery genre. I’ve also found that some of favourite FACT books are science fact mystery (intellectual who-dunnits or how-dunnits) that take the form of [70% evidence, 10% highlighting lack scientific understanding/explanation, 20% possible theories with additional evidence] – These non-fiction books also serve as great inspiration for writing speculative fiction (for me at least).

The Nebulous One

P.S. Like you, I also do much of my story thinking in the shower and sometimes whole stories “flow” into my head - talk about “stream of consciousness”.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )