Monday, February 8, 2010

On Being a Professional

"Story has no hook / Fell asleep on second page / Please excuse the drool."—Wendy S. Delmater on the Six Questions For... blog.
Something interesting has happened on the Six Questions For. . . blog. I received a couple of personal e-mails from editors thanking me for the posts. In one case, the editor mentioned a particular comment about rejecting a story because the writing was so obtuse the story only made sense to the author (that’s not a direct quote). I expected the site to benefit authors. I didn’t think about how it might also help other editors. In this case, the editor said there were times, after reading a story, when she wondered if SHE was the problem—if she was missing something that made the story complete. Knowing that other editors faced the same dilemma made her feel better about herself.

I’m noticing a number of similarities in the responses from the editors to my SQF interviews. Not reading the guidelines has shown up in more than half the posts so far. Weak character development is another common theme. 

What's the point of all this? It's something I've said before. Writers need to read more. Read stories published in the magazines you want to submit to. Read books by publishers you want to pitch your work to. Read the guidelines for a site. Know what an editor is likely to accept before submitting. I know this works. After reading one of the posts on Six Questions For. . ., I wrote a story, submitted it, and the editor accepted it two days later!


Alyssa Ast said...

Congats on the editor response and great advice!

Jim Harrington said...

Thanks, Alyssa.