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.



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