So I got accepted into a PhD English program (yay!), but I did not get any funding, so I’m going to have to find some way to pay for it (boo!).
I am very frustrated with this outcome as I desperately want to attend, but I’m not sure how I’m going to be able to pay for it and I’m worrying myself sick over it. I also noticed that this is similar to my frustration with the writing process. I can dream up the stories, write the stories, edit the stories, submit the stories all day long, but if editors don’t ACCEPT them and publish them, then the whole process often feels like just time wasted. So I was all ready to write a blog entry (diatribe/rant, really) on the frustrations of being a writer and the breakdown of the writing process and how too much of it is out of your control, blah, blah, blah, when I happened across this little nugget.
My story, “Faerie Knight,” which was published in the anthology Fae, ed. by Rhonda Parrish was listed on the Tangent Online 2014 Recommend Reading List! I had no idea that it was there. Yes, I knew that the story had been reviewed by Tangent Online (all the stories in the anthology were to the best of my recollection), but I did not know Tangent well enough to know that they did a recommended reading list every year (I know that Locus, the granddaddy of the Science Fiction/Fantasy field did one, but not that Tangent did). Imagine my surprise when I discovered it online just a few minutes ago while taking a break from (unsuccessfully) looking for funding awards/fellowships/scholarships.
And what’s more, it looks like they assign a “star” system to rank how well a reviewer “valued” the story. No stars, 1 star, 2 stars, and 3 stars. Now, I’m thrilled that the story just made the list period which is what a no star rating means, I think, but guess what? It even got a 1 star rating beside it!
I’m totally flabbergasted! It was for something like this–where the whole process works and completes is why I wanted to start writing Science Fiction and Fantasy in the 1st place.
I dreamed up the story years ago, but didn’t have the writing skills to see it through. After several aborted drafts, I found a good character and plot and finished it. It was rejected several times (7 or 8), when I decided to try Rhonda Parrish’s Fae anthology on a lark. I didn’t think she would take it as it has someone fighting the fae, but the central character technically wasn’t a faerie. Then she did. Then she requested quite a few edits. As they didn’t change the overall story/tone, I enacted all of them (although I was a bit dubious on a rather severe cut of 2-3 paragraphs at the end). And then it was published, and then there were reviews. Now Rhonda’s moved on to other projects and so have I, but to come back 2 years later and discover that your story was good enough that someone liked your work well enough to recommend it (and give it a star, no less) makes me want to jump with joy.
I dream up a story, I take the extra step of writing it down, I take the extra step of submitting it, the editor takes the extra step of asking for edits, I take the extra step of getting the edits done, and the editor publishes it. We both get rewarded with the satisfaction of a published product. It gets reviewed and it sells for a period of time (hopefully positively on both accounts). Then the editor and writer move on. And hopefully, somewhere down the line, either the editor or author will find someone who has read their work and enjoyed it. Maybe even enjoyed it enough to recommend to someone else.
This is how the writing process SHOULD work.