Friday, August 14, 2009

Writer's Blog

Rummaging through drawers I never go into, I found a couple of short stories I wrote in the 1980s that -- if I say so my fictionally unpublished self -- aren't bad. Why could I never convince a fiction editor to publish anything I wrote? I've had "faction" published in major newspapers all over the world -- well, in a few countries.

Recently I submitted a short story I had posted here. Had to take it down for that reason. Nothing. Maybe I misclassified it as a short, rather than a short story. Maybe I didn't sleep with the right people. Maybe it was lousy.

At one point long ago, when my writing was still unforgivably juvenile, I did send out a whole rafter of stories out. I had a file full of rejection letters, which I think I've since thrown out. I even composed a "form" rejection reply: "I regret that I am not able to reply to your rejection letter personally, but given the volume I receive, it is impractical. Thanks anyway for the opportunity to review yours."

By that time, I had given up submitting stories and thrown away two "novels," an act that probably did the most that was ever done in the 20th century to rescue western civilization -- which, as Gandhi noted, would have been a genial idea.


Anonymous said...

You might want to look at a fiction workshop online, where I have met many great people and learned a lot about writing, critiquing and revising. The web may be full of workshops, but I was told,

> Internet Writing Workshop is the web's oldest online writing workshop. It's basically modeled after the Iowa's Writer's Workshop, where members submit their work to different lists to receive feedback, and in turn do critiques for other members. We have several lists...Novels-l for novels, a Non-Fiction list, a Young Adult list,
Poetry, Screenwriting, etc. On the Novels-l list, members submit one chapter at a time, but can submit several within a month as long as he or she is also providing feedback to others.
The link is

For the third year in a row, we've just made the Writer's Digest list of "101 Best Sites for Writers."

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I love your form response to rejection letters!

Long ago, I submitted a children's book I had written and could have wallpapered a small room with my matched set of rejection letters. I put them in a folder for reasons I can't fathom now.

As for you, you're a good writer. Editors, like dog owners (from the POV of the dog) are arbitrary but never wrong. Your time will come, and perhaps someday, even mine.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

P.S. I would like to thank Anonymous for the information about Internet Writing Workshop. I have longed to attend the Iowa Writer's Workshop forever and greatly admired Paul Engel's poetry when I was young.

Online workshops are clearly a 21st century tool.

Jeanne said...

George would have loved your response to the rejection letters. He had a bunch also. Thanks you for the memories and the laughs.