Monday, March 23, 2009

Getting Rid of Noise

“...a statement that tells you something new is information; a statement that tells you nothing new is not information, it’s noise. If your story tells the reader nothing she doesn’t know already, it is noise.” -- Damon Knight in Creating Short Fiction.
An acquaintance commented upon reading this that determining what is noise in a story sounds hard. Well, where is it written that writing is easy? And should we, as authors, not try to improve our writing because the method suggested is difficult? I don’t think so.

I’ve submitted fewer short stories this year than last? Why? I’m taking my time writing them, going through them looking for “noise,” and trying to tighten them as much I can. That doesn’t mean I've been successful. I’ve received more rejections this year, also. Part of that is because I’m submitting my stories to markets that are harder to crack. None of this bothers me. I accept the rejections as part of the process, consider any comments received, make appropriate adjustments to the stories, and send them out again. At this point in my writing life, I’d rather have one story accepted by a top-tier magazine, than many stories in a lesser publication.

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