A broken clock is right up your alleyHello there and welcome to Cooking With Rex. I'm your host, Tarbo, and today we'll be making a dish that master chefs challenge themselves with: the perfect egg. Sure, it's breakfast food, but you've got to be the cream of your game in order to make one people will talk about for months. Personally, I like to wow the crowd with a simple, but delicious, hard-boiled egg.
Velociraptor guiltsmolskaeAsteroid mining was the most satisfying thing a dinosaur from Earth could do. Nothing said go fuck yourself, meteor impacts, harder than hollowing out the innards and then making a shitload of money from said innards as the original crumpled into dust. Geianti Crowpus had a thriving business setting up demolition parties, which was much cheaper than hiring actual miners even if the dromeosaurs in particular had a tendency to leave vomit behind. Well, everyone had their coming of age rite, dromeosaurs just added vomit to it.
Gayatri, Effective Thief, And Remover Of ObstaclesGayatri, Effective Thief, And Remover Of Obstacles' Mess
Smart UngSmall Ung, small Mlop. Sun down. Sun up. Much sun down. Much sun up. Big Ung, big Mlop. Much big now. Both big. Big Mlop in rock spot by the rock spot of big Ung. Mlop rock not far from Ung rock, so Mlop not far from Ung and Ung not far from Mlop.
How and When to End a Story
I end stories on instinct. I figure out where things should end up before I commit words to paper the same time I solidify the premise.Like,Step 1: premise (often, interesting science/sociopolitics/economics + what if)Step 2: where should it end?If I can't sort out 2 based on the premise alone, I'll briefly think about the plot/characters. And of course, there's more refinement when I write the thing, but I can't think of a time when I've changed how things turn out.This bothers me deeply because the concept of instinct applied to something that is learned makes no sense.The rest of this post is available here. If you're interested in knowing why:A) I find the favorites system here infinitely preferable to bookmarks. I'm not trying to - there's no humble way to put this - screw watchers out of my advice, so.B) $taff told me explicitly that, despite displaying a public etiquette policy, they do not enforce it on the backend. Deviantart tacitly allows hate speech while giving lip service to toleration. I'm not interested in supporting this. If, at some point in the future, they change, I'll upload the rest of it here. In the meantime, this half-solution seems to be a better compromise....
So You Want to Get Published: Navigating Magazines
I'm going to talk about my experiences with the publishing process (yes, that's plural! I have a sample set larger than N=1). For me, this has been predominantly SF/F, but this should generalize to most prose and even some poetry.For starters, I think that most of us should go through this process at least once. Whether you're looking to self-publish, get into novels, indie or Big 5, start your own zine...you have to have some understanding of the current industry and terminology. Between writing Twitter and the random blogs that come up on Google, if you don't have an existing starting point, you're going to end up with like 50 different ideas on how the process works. Why not try a more hands-on approach instead?Anyway, getting from a story on your computer to in a print (or online!) magazine is a process. There's a lot of magazines out there, and there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach, but here's how I do it. It's worked so far.1. Write something.Duh? Well, not exactly. I do this for fun, so I'm all about writing first and then finding a magazine that works for me. Since I enjoy writing science fiction between 2,000-5,000 words that isn't on whatever popular trend, this is easy.But what if you're heavily inspired by your D&D character? Or everything you write is 38,000 words? Or there's an open contest?2. Figure out where you want to send it.Technically, you can do this first. Some zines have specific interests, others are more vague or provide a list of things they don't prefer. (Note the bit about contest/antho submissions!) If I'm short on ideas, or struggling to bring a story together, those specific requirements can be the perfect kick in the pants to get across the finish line.Of course, none of this is useful if you don't know where stuff is in the first place. So here's a short list of resources, biased towards what I find useful:Duotrope: has a small subscription fee, still the gold standard.NewPages: more for literary/indie presses.Ralan: speculative markets listing. I've used this for yeeeears.The Submission Grinder: I more check this for average response time, but they also list markets in general.I learned about a number of the top markets (a word I'll continue using instead of maga/zine) via word of mouth, but the Absolute Write Water Cooler has a great Writers Beware section. On the positive end, professional organizations like SFWA list qualifying markets, which would be the gold standard for science fiction. And you can look up which markets have the most authors nominated for awards.The thing about sending to markets, especially if they're top tier, is they don't have time for bullshit. Read and follow the directions! I don't care if you read literally nothing else (although real talk, you're waaay less likely to get printed because you have no idea what's out there), read the damn directions. And follow them. Standard Manuscript Format is your friend - as is reading at least a few pieces. I'm all for erring on the side of trying a market when you're not sure, but don't submit something that's obviously off base.3. Edit.If you've already polished, go back and make sure you're not in conflict with anything from #2.4. Feedback(?)There are times when trusting my own opinion has succeeded, and times when it's gone nowhere. So honestly, I could go either way on this, although it's good to have the infrastructure in place when you need it. My go-to for feedback used to be DA - even if most people aren't going to read something longer, let alone comment on it, I have relationships with writers here I can leverage (again, with expectations that it's a two-way street).Many markets consider work that's already posted online to be published! Since they're paying for first publication rights, this is a problem.You can use the members-only option here, or upload things in Stash, since those websites aren't scraped. But it's standard practice to store something when you prepare to submit it (and don't upload the final draft at all). Definitely keep it private as long as the rights are in the publisher's hands.5. SubmitThis is pretty well covered under #2, but because people somehow still fuck this up: READ THE RULES BEFORE SUBMITTING! If you have had your story on the Internet at some point, Google the text. (This is how I learned that those neat scrolling thumbnails are scrapeable. Poets in particular, might want to put an authorial note at the beginning of your submission.)Most submissions nowadays are through a portal like Submittable, but some still take email. For email, if they don't explicitly request a subject line, I default to "Submission: TITLE OF STORY".Cover letters: it's ok not to have prior publishing credits, I doubt this has ever stopped anyone from printing something they liked. Relevant expertise/experience is also good to mention; intent doesn't hurt if they don't explicitly tell you not to include it. And, of course, thank the editors for their time. (I don't go so far as to look up people's names. In my experience, cover letters for magazine submissions are relatively informal. There's a reason they're often optional.)6. WaitNo, seriously. If they tell you when to follow up, do so. Before then, do not. Some submissions portals enable more neuroticism than others. This is a thing I've learned.7. Get a ResponseMost of the time, this will be a rejection. For sites that have tiered rejections, Rejection Wiki can tell you how personal it is. I once burst someone's bubble - gently - on Reddit. Sorry, having the editor-in-chief's name at the bottom of the email doesn't mean they read it. (The term is "slush pile" for a reason.) Said editor-in-chief actually responded to that thread to say he didn't mind when people respond to a rejection with a "thank you for your time," but not everyone sees or likes those.So let's talk about good responses....Personal rejection - yes, this is a good sign! Although frustrating, cause usually you don't get detailed feedback to go with it.Request for on spec revisions - basically, they ask you to make changes without a commitment to buy, but depending on who it is, it could be worth your time. It was worth mine.Acceptance - woo!8. Read and Sign the ContractPro(fessional) markets didn't get where they were by drafting shitty contracts, but some presses may have clauses that beg askance. Nothing bad came of it, but I once signed something that technically allowed them to publish changes without my permission. I found out this was an issue because I read a blog on a publisher who abused this, so yeah, I was lucky there.Anyway, here's a model contract. Note that they need the name of the story in order to send it to you. Don't submit a) stories without titles or b) stories with very bad titles. It worked out in the end, but I'm an idiot.9. ReviseThe editing process, in my experience, is gentle. First off, they wouldn't have accepted your story if they didn't like it (see note about on spec revisions). There's a lot of variation - my friend had a different experience with the same editor - so not much to say, except at "publishers are going to destroy everything I love!!!"10. Get Paid/Get MadeThis can be slow in the publishing world. If I recall correctly I've waited as much as 3 months, and this was a place with an excellent reputation. (They told me beforehand.) At any rate, I can't imagine going into short story publishing thinking this could be a full-time job. If you get an award nomination or whatever, it seems to be a stepping stone to novel publication. I'm speculating, though....