7 June 2003
I am the anti-Roger Clemens, I guess. I got my 499th rejection yesterday morning by e-mail, and I thought, oh, it'll be 500 today for sure. Then our internet connectivity went down for several hours. When it came back, there was an editor's message in my hotmail box, and I thought, yep, there 'tis.
But it wasn't! It was an acceptance from Just Weird Enough, a YA pro print mag. As I said in my note to mrislist, I have always been more than just weird enough. Quite a bit more, in most cases. This time I was at least weird enough for them, however, because they bought "The Flask of Today."
And oh, that made me so happy. I only have one unsold story that's older than that one, at least of the stories I'm willing to let out into the light of day. (And I should maybe also send that one to JWE...hmm.) It is a YA story, was the problem. There are children's markets, and there are grown-up markets, and it has been wrong for both. (Well -- it might have been right for a children's market if Spellbound had had a theme it had fit. Or if it had been about somebody's religion, because most of the children's mags out there are about somebody's religion. Seriously. I hate that. It's fine to have some, but kids need to read about something other than Jesus.) But now there's JWE for a YA market, and they want "The Flask of Today," and I'm happy.
It all started when I misread the first chapter of The Golden Compass from a distance. I opened it and then popped up to get something, and when I glanced over at the book, I thought it said, "The Decanter of Today." Instead, it said "The Decanter of Tokay," but I scribbled in my journal, "title: The Flask of Today" and went on reading The Golden Compass and writing Fortress of Thorns. When I finished Fortress, I was ready to write "Flask," and did, and it's been making the rounds ever since. This was market #20. Twenty. That's a lot of markets. Insert moral about persistence here.
I had even sold the later related story, "Drops of Yesterday," already. I don't know how to describe those two. Neither is a sequel or a prequel. But "Flask" isn't the YA version of "Drops"; they are quite clearly different stories. I could say they have the same premise, but that's a fairly narrow definition of premise, so let's say they have the same conceit, the same world-change. Anyway, woo! It's nice to sell a brand new story on its first market, as with "Wishing on Airplanes." It's also nice to sell an old favorite that's been going round and round.
The moral of the story (besides the one about persistence) is that it's nice to sell stories. Everybody surprised? Good.
It would be okay if I got rejection #500 today. We would probably do something to celebrate, like we did for four hundred. That's 100 rejections since mid-January. That's a lot of rejections, and yet not so many, not one a day, even. I've got a lot of stories out there, so it's only reasonable that some of them are getting rejected. And the acceptances have been coming better lately, it seems.
It would also be okay if I didn't get #500 today, though. I would cope, I think.
I'm having a hard time mentally adjusting to the fact that I've planned ahead pretty well, and I don't have an unreasonable number of things to do this week. I have more than usual, certainly, or at least more than usual with an external deadline, and from Thursday noon until Monday noon, I'll be doing family things. But it's not an absolute avalanche of stuff. I've finished everything on this week's to do list (my weeks go from Monday morning to Sunday night) except for a handful of errands we'll run today. My Wednesday will most likely be devoted to house stuff, so that it's all fresh when the folks and the grands arrive on Thursday. And I don't mean to imply that I'll be lazing around eating bonbons and reading movie magazines this weekend. But really, I need to get my brain out of what David calls "go mode," because it's not necessary.
From all of this, you might think that I'd been somewhat distracted from the book, and the answer would be no, not really. I kept poking at it off and on, all of last evening: read a little Cherryh, pop up and work on the book, repeat. I had to have some kind of contest between two witches, and they aren't the shapeshifting kind, and I didn't want it to be a lightning-bolt-zzzzot kind of contest, because they really aren't that sort, either. And I knew what their respective strengths are, both generally and on the occasion of this contest, and I knew which one had to win, I didn't want them to be able to use anything magical they'd made before. Which is a bigger restriction than it might otherwise be, because these people take...not an engineering approach to magic, exactly. Just a stuff approach. If it doesn't go on an object, it's not really how they do things. Both much harder and taboo. So the contest worked out interestingly. At least, I hope it did. We'll see in revisions, I suppose.
A couple of you wrote to tell me I'm not boring. Thanks. But I didn't mean to claim to be generally boring. I just meant that I have a weeeee bit of tunnel vision this particular week. Which is all right, for something temporary.
And that being the case, I'm going to do some more things from the list and then curl up with Explorer and try to relax before I run my errands. It sounds like a plan. Maybe even a good plan. I guess we'll find out.
It's Mark's grandma's birthday! She's 75.
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