I Am an Unambitious Coward

The great thing about real-life work is that usually, if I have an idea, then take that idea to someone else to see if it sounds good to them, they usually say yes. Validation. It’s sweet.

This is why I also submit short stories. To keep the validation in check. Found out today that I was an “authorial coward” and “unambitious”. I’ve been called worse. But never at my *real* job. Anyway — that was the “positive rejection” from Mr. Mamatas — the one with three “pleases” in it. Unfortunately, the three-please rejection also maps up, according to his website, with this comment: “I wish you’d not send me a story you already have in inventory but that you’d just sit down and write a fresh one for me because —- I’m paying ten —-ing cents a word here so stop sending me the stuff all the other editors have sniffed at and rejected, okay?”

I am so transparent. Or opaque. OTOH, I’m very happy that transparent and opaque now mean the same thing. I can see that working out well for the future. But FWIW, the version I sent Nick was way better than what I sent JJA. Although, he seemed to feel like there wasn’t enough *there*, so maybe cutting 22% of its length between versions wasn’t necessarily a good thing. Tja.

And for anyone who’d like to gauge what’s okay and what’s not vis a vis CW Mag, Nick’s apparently okay at some level with crazy voices. The story I sent him, “Gravel Lot Grudge”, has the hardest-to-get-through voice I’ve used in anything before. He said it was “very well-written and clever” and that it “won this eader over…, which is a feat”. That’s where the b-conjunction came in, of course. He didn’t seem to have a very high opinion of Clarion, though — although it’s not like it got rejected outright for that word appearing in the cover letter. I don’t think.

The turnaround on the rejection was 5.5 hours. At $0.10/word and that kind of turnaround time — man, I guess Asimov’s and F&SF get bumped down a rung. Except that CW only takes stories under 4K words. Which is short of my usual arrival point.

Also, I drove around looking at houses today. I can’t buy for another four months or so, but it seems like prices for actual detached homes have gone down a little in the two years since I’ve been gone. Not that you’re getting a *lot* for $550K these days, but the fact that you’re getting anything at all is promising. IMHO. Relative to the OC.

Yep.

BK.

PS, Could someone define what “ambitious” means when referring to a short story?

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