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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Grist for the Mill » The Tale of Millie the Manuscript

   
Author Topic: The Tale of Millie the Manuscript
mayflower988
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(with thanks to Extrinsic and Tappan King)

My first time submitting a story to a magazine did not go as gloriously as I'd thought it would. First, Roommate and I had to take a trip to Wal-Mart, where I would purchase envelopes. After eventually emerging from Hotel California, um, I mean Wal-Mart, we made our way to the post office. I had my story (Millie the Manuscript) and a cover letter. I purchased a large Flat Rate envelope and inserted Millie and cover letter. Then I stuck a stamp on one of the envelopes I'd purchased from Wal-Mart, wrote my address on the front, and inserted that in the Flat Rate envelope. I handed the Flat Rate to the nice lady behind the counter and went on my way.

Roommate and I arrived at our apartment and unloaded groceries. I made my way to my room to call my mother and share a happy moment, i.e. "I submitted my first story! Yay!" etc. I got to my room and then it hit me - I had not put my name on the Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope. I started to panic. I do have a tendency to overreact, so I thought, "Maybe it will be okay. Maybe my address is enough." But, thanks to reading Extrinsic's link to the unfortunate tale of Myrtle the Manuscript by Tappan King, I had visions of Millie, cover letter and SASE spilling off an editor's desk, mixing with other stuff, and then getting thrown away. I was worried that Mr./Ms. Editor would not be able to match my envelope to Millie and would thus throw the envelope away. Then he/she would find Millie, see she had no envelope and throw her away. I called my mom. Whenever I overreact, Mom is the best person for bringing me down to earth. I knew she'd talk some sense into me.

Mom did not talk some sense into me. Mom said, "Uh oh" and "You should probably go back and..." I cut her off there. I think I said something along the lines of "Okayletmegobye!" I drove as fast as I could without getting a ticket back to the post office. The nice lady behind the counter was not working anymore. Instead, I got Susie Q Who Didn't Know What to Do. Susie Q managed to find my Flat Rate and opened it for me. I wrote my name on the SASE and put it back in the envelope with Millie. Susie Q then tried to tape the envelope back shut. Susie Q taped the envelope back shut in such a way that Mr./Ms. Editor would not have been able to get into it by simple human means. Probably only Hercules would have been able to get past Susie Q's tape work. Again, here I must thank Extrinsic, because I remembered from reading Myrtle the Manuscript that if an envelope is too hard to get into, then Mr./Ms. Editor will simply toss it into the trash along with the author's hopes and dreams. I suggested to Susie Q that I might need to buy another envelope. Susie Q misunderstood. Susie Q said, "Oh, it's not a problem. See, I can move the tape lower so that they can get into it." I watched Susie Q struggle with the packing tape. I told Susie Q that I thought it might be better if I bought another envelope. Susie Q again tried to reassure me that the re-taping was totally fine. Finally, I TOLD Susie Q, "No, I WILL buy another envelope." Susie Q said, "Okay." (Success!) Then Susie Q gave me another envelope. She also gave me some paperwork, because thankfully, a co-worker told her to just refund the postage on my first envelope.

However, there was still a problem. Even Susie Q can't get past her own tape work! She struggled, finally summoning Herculean strength to rip the tape off the envelope. Then, in order to refund my postage, Susie Q had to take the package-tracking thingy off the first envelope, which again required Herculean strength and possibly the help of a backwoods gentleman named Sid. However, there was still a problem, because Susie Q Who Didn't Know What to Do didn't know how to tell her computer to refund my postage. Susie Q and I waited for her co-worker to assist. Susie Q and I waited. And waited. And waited. The post office had gotten exceptionally busy while I had been occupying Susie Q's time. Finally, Co-Worker was able to assist.

At last, at last, I again handed Millie over to the U.S. postal service. I was rewarded with a receipt with Millie's tracking number. I treasure this measly slip of paper so much, it might as well be gold. It may not look like much, but it is a grand prize for succeeding with Susie Q, the U.S. Postal System, and my own scattered brain.

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Robert Nowall
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Whatever happened to Millie the Manuscript's old friend Charlie the Carbon Copy?
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mayflower988
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Oh, didn't you hear? He stopped working with Millie and the other Manuscripts several years ago. Now he inhabits checkbooks. :)
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Robert Nowall
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Petey the Photocopy? Benny the Backup File?
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mayflower988
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Benny the Backup File is alive and well on my computer (which, by the way, is named Fred). Petey the Photocopy...can't say as I've seen him around lately.
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LDWriter2
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quote:
Originally posted by mayflower988:
Benny the Backup File is alive and well on my computer (which, by the way, is named Fred). Petey the Photocopy...can't say as I've seen him around lately.

Benny would be a clone so should have a female name.
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LDWriter2
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But as to the adventure of Millie.

Sounds like we could start a new thread or even an anthology of the wayward adventures of the group of beings known as Manuscripts: how they get seduced to go another route, how someone kidnaps them, or they get lost, or ???

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mayflower988
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Well, Betty the Backup File, then. Millie arrived at the magazine office in Chicago today, but - alas! - the office was closed because today is Saturday. The postman/woman took Millie back to the Chicago post office to await redelivery on Monday.

I only know all this because I have Millie's tracking number. I wouldn't know very much about what happens to manuscripts, since Millie is my first one. All I know came from Myrtle's story: http://www.sfwa.org/2009/06/the-sobering-saga-of-myrtle-the-manuscript/

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Robert Nowall
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So whatever happened to Wally the Waiter-by-the-Mailbox? I don't need to know that much about what I've got going through the mail...
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LDWriter2
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I must say that none of my manuscripts ever had an adventure like that. That I know of.

I don't do the tracking number thing so I never track them. Over five years I think I lost four manuscripts and/or rejections, so maybe they have been going out on their own adventures. If so they never made it back home. Well, maybe twice come to think of it. I received a couple very late rejections from F&SF so maybe those manuscripts stopped along the way for sightseeing or got kidnapped and were able to break free or took the scenic route and got lost for a while--and didn't ask directions.


Hmm, I still think we could do a series on wayward manuscripts maybe someone here will do a challenge or something. [Big Grin]

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Robert Nowall
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There's the old joke---and it's happened to me---about knowing the editor reached page fourteen in the manuscript because there's a big coffee cup ring on that page.

I've worked the tracking numbers from time to time on things I've ordered, usually through Amazon-dot-com and their link to it, but I don't do it for my own stuff. The USPS site usually doesn't show any activity on any upcoming parcels until after they've been delivered. (And I know how that works, and how it's supposed to be done, because it's my job.)

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Robert Nowall
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Addendum 'cause it caught my eye today. In a career of submission and rejection going back to 1975, I've lost six manuscripts somewhere along the way---all in the pre-tracking days, but I haven't availed myself of the service for my manuscripts, either. What became of them, I can't say...queries to the editor didn't help any in recovering them, and in one case a query produced a comment that a lot of MSS had gone missing. (One I would've thought was lost produced a prompt [deserved] rejection---after the query, after a year had gone by.)
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