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Author Topic: My first rejection!
LAJD
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OK, this may seem like a weird reason to celebrate, but for me it's a big milestone. I actually:

(1) wrote something,
(2) my in-house editors thought it was decent,
(3) screwed up the courage to post it here for feedback,
(4) received good, helpful feedback,
(5) revised,
(6) sent it out,
(7) received the rejection,
(8) reviewed again and listened to those comments that I ignored first go around,
(9) found some problems, which I have now fixed, and
(8) I just sent it out again!

Yay me!

OK, so when I get rejection #200 maybe I won't be so chipper, but I am positively buoyant today!

time to write!!!
8-)

Leslie

[This message has been edited by LAJD (edited September 27, 2008).]


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marchpane
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Well done you for finishing something and getting it out there. That's more than I've ever done. Persistence will pay off, I'm sure...
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philocinemas
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Congratulations, LAJD -

I just had the exact same experience this week, but I haven't sent mine back out yet.


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aspirit
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Congrats! You've progressed further than many of us. I've yet to send a story back out again.
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Tiergan
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Congrats! I felt the same way about my first rejection. The second and so. One thing I always remeber, is Louis LAmour was rejected 350 some times before his first paying short. And it wasnt even a western.

Glad you sent it back out.


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LAJD
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Wow, 350! I guess I up my depression marker to 350...

8)


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InarticulateBabbler
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"Kevin J. Anderson never let rejection or disappointment stand in his way, collecting over 750 rejection slips and a trophy as "The Writer with No Future" because he could produce more rejection slips by weight than any other writer at an entire conference."

And it paid off:

"Kevin recently signed the largest science fiction contract in publishing history, to write the prequels to Frank Herbert's SF epic Dune. Each book sold for seven figures."

Keep at it, LAJD--and welcome to being a real writer.

[This message has been edited by InarticulateBabbler (edited September 28, 2008).]


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TaleSpinner
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The submit-and-reject-and-submit-again process reminds me of something Randy Pausch said in his awe-inspiring 'final lecture' ...

"The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough. They're there to stop the other people."

Transcript at http://www.scribd.com/doc/348803/pausch-last-lecture-transcript

Videos at http://www.cmu.edu/uls/journeys/randy-pausch/index.html

From the CMU website: "Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch, who was dying of pancreatic cancer, gave his last lecture at the university Sept. 18, 2007, before a packed McConomy Auditorium. In his moving talk, "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams," Pausch talked about his lessons learned and gave advice to students on how to achieve their own career and personal goals."

Inspired,
Pat


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Robert Nowall
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I found out recently that H. Beam Piper worked at writing for over thirty years before selling a single story.

I find it kinda enheartening---coincidentally, I, too, have been writing for over thirty years without selling anything.

Piper went on from that first sale to write some of the greatest works of SF (which I also find enheartening)...but also made so little money at it he eventually committed suicide (which I find extraordinarily depressing.)

*****

By the way, I think I can beat Kevin J. Anderson's rejection total, but the thought of adding them all up also depresses me. (Some of my unpublished poetry was rejected over twenty times. Some did get published---for no money.)


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Brad R Torgersen
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The first rejection is an important milestone. It means you've proven you can go through the first four of Heinlein's Rules.

The important thing now is to a) send it out again (Heinlein's 5th Rule) and then get to work on something new; also known as the Sawyer Clause, or the unspoken 6th Rule.


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KStar
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Good job! I save every rejection letter. So that when I'm a published gazillionaire I can frame them and have a look at them whenever I want to laugh. Or maybe I save them because I am lazy and haven't bothered to throw them away.
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Merlion-Emrys
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I'm not sure why people keep bringing up Heinlein's rules here when this place's nature is directly in oposition to some of them...


I'm also surprised how many people say they didn't send their first rejection right back out. I send basically all my rejections back out the same day or the next day. Ocassionally there are pieces I've decided just really need work or a re write or whatever that I de-circulate...but since I started I've had at least several submissions out at all times.


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extrinsic
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I've long since rejected Heinlein's rules for personal reasons. I believe they emphasize quantity over quality. I can't afford quantity. My inner critic is my best writing resource. He's become an expert at what makes a story we've read strong, good, or mediocre. He's coming in handy along with my muse for the current story I'm writing. She's in there along with an entire chorus of helpers prompting me, advising me, and encouraging me to acheive my writing ambitions. I just haven't been ready, willing, and able in the past.

The stories are coming, and I know that they'll have the qualities I insist upon. I've summitted the mountain, and it's a glorious view. Everything else is downhill from here. I know what to do with the stories I've written in the past, what revisions they need, how to get them where they belong. The ones I'm working on, they'll start off in the right direction and follow through. See you on the other side.


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Robert Nowall
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Well, I don't believe Heinlein followed Heinlein's rules all the time, either. At least that's what the meager evidence suggests. (Someday, maybe, someone will finish a full biography of Heinlein and we'll all be amazed at how different his life was from what he said.)
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Brad R Torgersen
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Heinlein's Rules are the 5 Commandments Of Science Fiction. Numerous pros swear by them, so I am inclined to think they work for most people.

And just like the Ten Commandments of the Bible, you might not follow them all the time, but you ought to!

;^)

And I don't think Heinlein said you can't proof your own work before it goes out the door.

I do think Heinlein discourages you from letting others meddle in your story to such an extent that your story ceases to be yours, becomes someone else's, and winds up unsaleable in the process.

Only re-write the darn thing if a) you really think it's justified and/or b) someone who can pay you, says, "I will buy the story if you make such and such changes, etc."

In the end, there is no substitute for production.

Believe me, I learned this lesson the hard way.


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extrinsic
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You ought to not use the imperative you. Offends my sensibilities. Now I've gone and been a hypocrite. Shame on me.
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aspirit
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quote:
And just like the Ten Commandments of the Bible, you might not follow them all the time, but you ought to!

Interesting perspective. At least we, as writers, can be thankful the number and meaning of Heinlein's Rules are not debated to the degree the Commandments of the Bible are. Such debate could distract from our work.


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Brad R Torgersen
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Seems to me Heinlein's Rules get debated plenty.

As with the 10 Commandments, they're usually debated because people want to find a way to get around or ignore them.

JMHO.

=^)


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Zero
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I DEMAND you remove that statue of Heinlein's Ten Commandments from this place, because it can be accessed by the public!

jk


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Zero
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quote:
As with the 10 Commandments, they're usually debated because people want to find a way to get around or ignore them.

Could be. Though there also exists a set of people who believe the old testament is full of fables, fiction, and fairy-tales.


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Brad R Torgersen
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True. But if you strip out the Biblical context and present the Ten Commandments as Ten Good Rules Every Person Should Live By, they still work.

Just like if we strip Heinlein off the Rules and present them as Five Basic Guidelines to Help Writers Succeed.


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Cheyne
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How can you take the biblical context out of the first four?

I've often wondered how the 10 we got stayed with us; any intelligent person could come up with Ten Better Rules Every Person Should Live By.

Really...honour your mother and father...have met my dad?


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Cheyne
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LAJD- I meant to congratulate you on your rejection, but got sidetracked by the rest of the post. But wow, that is great. If your first submission had been published too quickly you might've just quit writing as you obviously had it beat.
In all seriousness, I am jealous as I have yet totake that daring first step- submission.

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Robert Nowall
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Somewhere else recently, within the past couple of days, I saw a comment about one of Heinlein's rules, "You must refrain from rewriting except to editorial order," (or however it's phrased), that a lot of writers use that as an excuse to submit sloppy first- or second-drafts rather than correct their mistakes. (Thought it was 'round here but I don't see it in this thread.)

(For a period, I used to write one draft and send that out---but as my production went down, and also as emotions cooled and I reread the damned things, I decided to go back to one rough draft and one final copy. Lately I've been picking at stories endlessly...I'm thinking of cutting down on that.)

*****

As for Heinlein not following Heinlein's rules...well, Heinlein did a lot of things that contradicted what he said. For instance, he used to say that his first story, "Lifeline," was written for a contest in a magazine, then submitted to Astounding because it paid better. He said this, but---

---some reports have "Lifeline" submitted to Collier's magazine before Astounding

---that "Lifeline" was not submitted directly to Astounding, but to Astounding and Unknown, a companion fantasy magazine.

---said contest existed, in Thrilling Wonder I believe, and won by Alfred Bester---but said contest was also a gimmick, that they already had the Bester story on hand and wanted to come up with something to generate a little excitement around it.

---that Heinlein had, in fact, been trying to write and sell for some time, even completing a novel, called For Us, the Living, without much luck selling it.

---that Heinlein also worked as a journalist and editor in a political campaign, and had published a fair amount in connection with this.

So I wouldn't say Heinlein was necessarily honest in his statement about this...and this is not the only example.

[edited to correct italicism]

[This message has been edited by Robert Nowall (edited October 01, 2008).]


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Zero
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I'm not sure how valuable some of these are. (refer to George Carlin on this one)

1. You shall have no other gods before me - not sure that this is valuable to every person in the world.

2. You shall not make for yourself an idol - that's pretty vague. But if someone wants to love and covet their sportscar I don't see the harm in it. Or idolize a personal hero.

3. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy - Again, pretty worthless. Many people enjoy liesure, shopping, trips, fishing, recreation, etc. Doesn't make them bad people.

4. Honor your father and mother - what does that mean? Obey them? Conform to their wishes? What if they aren't worth obeying, or what if their wishes for you are different than your own individuality and desires? Choose their will before your own regarding your own life? I think not.

5. You shall not murder - OK this one I fully endorse. So far 1 out 5 are worth keeping universally.

6. You shall not commit adultery - Depends on what that means. But many, if not most, Americans "commit adultery" all the time, simply by admiring the beauty of others, and... not sure that this is so bad.

7. You shall not steal - I endorse this one. So 2 for 7.

8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor - I wouldn't do it against anyone, so I endorse this one too. 3 for

9. You shall not covet your neighbor's house - So much for keeping up with the Jones's. Actually this could help stimulate the eocnomy so this can't be all bad.

10. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife - I will agree to this too. So 4 our of 10.

The 10 commandments get a 40% usefulness rating. Or in academic terms an F.

Cheers.


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extrinsic
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Taboo dinner table topics at my home: politics, religion, weather, sex. I'm not at all comfortable with discussing religious topics in a public forum. My religious beliefs are private, anyone else's, too easily offensive to my sensibilities.

[This message has been edited by extrinsic (edited October 01, 2008).]


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Zero
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Come now, just because people have different viewpoints doesn't mean they automatically fight about it and cause a riot.

And my comments were meant in jest anyway.


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Zero
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Why is weather taboo?

"Gee the weather sure is nice today."
"No it's not! Shut up A**hole! I hate the sun!"

I mean, really. Where's the danger here?


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LAJD
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Uh, hmmm. I post a topic, go away for a couple of days, and comeback to a discussion on comparative religions!

8)

Just to weigh in on this. I guess I am a follower of the Reformed Heinlein sect. I subscribe to the idea that you seen to write crisply, and send stuff out. I am, however, not an experienced enough writer to trust my inner editor. I may never be. I find it very hard to take an objective eye to my own stuff. I either hate it or love it, and I am surprised at what others like.

Ah well. Thanks for all the comments, I have upped the lowest stop on my depress-O-meter to 751 in honor of Kevin J. Anderson.

Leslie


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extrinsic
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Jocular analysis of religious tenants, no matter how well-intended or thinly veiled in sarcasm, is as offensive to me as imperative presumptions mandating to abide same. Nor do I see correlation with Rejection, Discussions About Writing, or anything in the vein of writing workshops. Religion is like opinions and excretory orifices, everyone's got one, and it's impossible to substantiate or debate any of them.

Weather forecasts are a heated topic when one's livelihood depends on it.

[This message has been edited by extrinsic (edited October 01, 2008).]


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TaleSpinner
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On Heinlein's rules: He did indeed say, "Refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order."

But, he said "refrain", he didn't say "don't".

Revise and rewrite he certainly did. From the Heinlein archives at http://www.heinleinarchives.net/upload/index.php one can purchase downloads of digital copies of original manuscript files which "include Heinleinís files of all his published works with his notes, research, early drafts and edits of manuscripts, to the final published form. These files provide both a look at Heinleinís creative process and add insights into his intent and the meaning in his stories."

Further, Heinlein published his 'rules' in 1947, by which time he had published over 25 short stories and consequently had access to editors like Campbell at Astounding. This meant that, not only could he likely get an editor to give him feedback on a story--when he was ready for it--but also, through knowing editors well, he had a good idea of what to, and what not to, write.

Cheers,
Pat


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Zero
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Here's an interesting philosphical question. At what point is "that might offend somebody in some way" no longer a reasonable argument for suppressing free speech, especially meant in humor. The single greatest problem in this world might be people unable to relax.
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Zero
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Having said that, and making myself perfectly clear, I resign this discussion and will argue it no further. Feel free to have the last word.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Another potentially interesting philosophical question might be, while keeping in mind just how subjective humor is, "at what point does claiming to be 'humorous' no longer work as an excuse for expressing something offensive"?
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Zero
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Touche. Well played.

[This message has been edited by Zero (edited October 01, 2008).]


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Robert Nowall
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quote:
...to write crisply...

Is it writing, or making potato chips?


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Zero
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quote:
Is it writing, or making potato chips?

They are interdependent.

[This message has been edited by Zero (edited October 01, 2008).]


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aspirit
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quote:
Seems to me Heinlein's Rules get debated plenty.

Everything about the Bible's Commandments--the count, interpretations and translations of specific words, etc.--are endlessly and sometimes violently debated; whereas, at the time of my previous post I had seen only the usefulness of Heinlein's Rules discussed. The number of Heinlein's Rules doesn't change; when people add on to the Rules, they acknowledge the additions are theirs. When people agree in part with the Rules, I haven't seen those people call what they believe in "Heinlein's Rules". I would hope writers who don't read or write in English create their own guidelines instead of arguing about translations of Heinlein.

I also want to share I was hoping to prevent further discussion in this thread on the Bible's Commandments or the usefulness of Heinlein's Rules. I need to work on my persuasive skills, obviously.

[This message has been edited by aspirit (edited October 02, 2008).]


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Zero
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Well, you can't help what other people choose to talk about. Deviations are inevitable.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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But deviations can tend toward topic-hijacking.
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Zero
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Another fine line.
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