Eric’s Writing Blog

The writing blog of Eric Rosenfield

The Stories

with 3 comments

Right now I have five stories that I’ve been sending out to magazines. Two of them are flash fiction (one under 1000 words and the other under 500 words) that each took me one day to write and another to edit. (I’ll talk about making time to write every day in a future post. Suffice it to say most of my fiction writing right now happens on my lunch hours.) The other three are longer stories that took me months (or in one case, years) to write. There’s also a number of stories that took me a long time to write that I was ultimately unsatisfied with and will probably never see the light of day, though every once in a while I dust one off and try to redo it. One of my current stories, Soil is a story like that. Sadly I sent the earlier, lesser version out to some magazines already and had them rejected, and I can’t send them again without a pleading letter explaining that the story is a “major rewrite” and hope they don’t hold it against me. But thems the breaks.

The stories are:
Soil: 8,579 words
Soil is a horror story about a boy, a girl, and the boy’s semi-transparent mother.
Early, bad version sent to: Strange Horizons, Weird Tales (sent me a nice, personalized rejection letter), A Public Space (took 7 months to respond), McSweeney’s (took 6 months to respond), and A Fly in Amber (nice, personalized rejection letter).
New, good version sent to: Lone Star Stories, Revolution SF (still pending)
Because Revolution SF doesn’t accept simultaneous submissions, I’m waiting to hear back from them before submitting to another market. I considering Ideomancer as a good next market, though I’d also like to resubmit it to Weird Tales because I think it’d be such a good fit there. (Weird Tales reopens to submissions on May 25th (and has been closed most of the year.).)

The Void Letters: 9,025 Words

The Void Letters was a story I’ve been writing drafts of for years. It’s based on a dream I had once where there were two girls living together in a house, and they’re receiving love letters home from a man in a war, except the man doesn’t exist and the war isn’t happening.
Submitted to: Farrago’s Wainscott (personalized rejection), Weird Tales, One Story (REALLY nice personalized rejection), Lone Star Stories, McSweeney’s (6 months out and counting), A Public Space (6 months out and counting), and Verb Noir (pending).

The Death of the Author: 4,722
Metafictional murder.
Submitted to: Farrago’s Wainscott, One Story, Lone Star Stories, Neon, Tin House (pending)
Assuming Tin House rejects this I’ll start sending it to the non-simultaneous submissions group. Another story I’d really like to get into Weird Tales.

Quest’s End: 700 words
Space Opera flash.
Submitted to: Lone Star Stories, Ideomancer (nice, personalized rejection), A Fly in Amber (pending)
Working down the list of non-simultaneous submissions while the simultaneous submissions group is filled up with my subs.

Logos Ex Machina: 428 words
Uplifted animal flash.
Submitted to: 365 Tomorrows (pending)
I actually got the idea for this story when posting in the forum for 365 Tomorrows, asking why they had a limit of 600 words for submissions that made it so I couldn’t submit Quest’s End. It’s a story about running out of language. We’ll see if 365 likes it.

Those are the stories I have out now. You can see how it can get frustrating for the unknown writer working for months and months on a piece, sending it out and having to wait months and months for form letter replies. I’m not complaining about not getting published per se; maybe my stories aren’t any good (I mean I think they’re good otherwise I wouldn’t bother inflicting them on the world, but I’m hardly objective). But it’s just kind of insane to go through it all if you think about how little reward there is for publishing short fiction.

Which has a lot to do with why I’m now working on my second novel instead of another story. Because, while I love short stories (and I really do and take great pleasure in reading them), if I’m going to go through this kind of effort I might as well be trying to get a novel published, where the potential gains are so much greater. And frankly, my experience with my last novel was that I could get agents to look at my work without a long CV (even if they ultimately didn’t take it on), and I think with a new, much better novel, I’d really have a shot at it. I’ll still keep sending these stories out though, and if I get an irresistible idea for a new one I’ll have at it.

And I do want to say, I sympathize with all the magazine publishers out there inundated with submissions, I appreciate that putting out a fiction magazine is pretty much a thankless and financially dubious prospect. I’d just like to make sure it’s clear that writing short fiction is also pretty much a thankless and financially dubious prospect, and you really should only do it out of love. Then again, you should only write fiction out of love. Because if you’re writing fiction to get rich and famous or something, well, are you in the wrong business. And that I think is what a lot of both magazines and writers forget, when they start treating this stuff like a business or a dreary slog. When they start reading too much Writer’s Market. Short story magazines shouldn’t be treated as markets, because the financial aspect of the form is a joke. This isn’t about money, and it’s not about credits or plaudits or accumulation of a list of accomplishments. It’s about love. Seriously.

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Written by ericrosenfield

April 21, 2009 at 5:18 am

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. Eric, it looks like you and I have similar styles and submit to the same markets. Have you visited Ralan.com? It’s an awesome resource that tracks spec fic markets, response times, new editors, etc etc.

    Swartzfeger

    June 16, 2009 at 1:29 am

    • Ralan.com is sadly ugly as sin, though it looks like they’re in the process of (slowly) updating their design.

      I use duotrope.com to find publications and track submissions.

      ericrosenfield

      June 16, 2009 at 1:32 am

    • Another point I wanted to make here, actually. Another problem with Ralan.com is that it separates SF from the rest of the writing world in a way that duotrope doesn’t. I think a lot of SF’s biggest problems come from its insularity. SF needs to stop thinking of itself as a self-contained world and start thinking of itself as part of a larger ecosystem.

      ericrosenfield

      June 20, 2009 at 7:04 pm


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