I spend a lot of time talking about all the “interesting” and “quirky” things writers do when they submit to us so for the sake of fairness and in the interest of full disclosure, I will confess the writerly sins I have been known to commit. Gather round, friends.
I do not always read (regularly) or subscribe to magazines unto whom I submit my writing. I do my due diligence and if a magazine has content available online I try to read a few back issues but I do not get intimately acquainted with every single magazine where I send my writing and I’ll tell you something else–I don’t feel guilty about that. I know all the fancy writers only submit to magazines they love and respect and so on and that’s nice, but I’m a cheap date. I’ll send you my writing even if I simply like you.
I don’t have an extensive drafting process. Most of the time, I write a story in one or two sittings, let it mellow for a day, then submit it to a few magazines.
I have been known to send an editor a revised version of an accepted story. This is a shameful transgression, I know but in my defense, it is very difficult for me to let a story be, even after I have sent it into the world. My revising process, you see, takes place after I submit a given story.
I tell more than I show. I don’t even really understand what it means when an editor says “show more than tell.” It has been so long since I was kindergarten.
I can overwrite an ending. I think of The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and how there were like seven endings, each one more ridiculous than the last and I try to channel that into my writing so that every loose or frayed end is neatly tied up.
I read Clive Cussler and Dan Brown and John Sanford and Danielle Steele (when she actually wrote her books) and other mass market pablum and I don’t consider such reading my “guilty pleasure” reading. I pretty much love the hell out of that kind of thing and feel not a single solitary ounce of guilt about it. Â Now, Clive Cussler’s books pretty much suck these days but in the 80s and 90s, his books were amazing and full of deep sea adventure and as a kid, I had the biggest crush on Dirk Pitt with his green eyes who is kind of old now and married and has these adult children, a boy and a girl who are twins who also work for the NUMA, the spawn of a romance Dirk had with a character in a much earlier book and it is all very complex and absurd but still, there is a fondness for Pitt’s adventures, you see. I also read People Magazine and Entertainment Weekly and ABC Soaps. I read smart stuff too but it’s the celebrity and soap opera gossip that bring me peace and joy.
To that end, I watch TV and movies more than I read. There’s just too much televisual greatness. Not only do we have the networks, there are the cable channels now putting out awesome shows and there’s the reality dreck like Jersey Shore that is so compelling and cannot be ignored. I am only human.
The saddest part of my Monday was realizing I forgot to record the new season of The Bachelor. I will rectify this oversight by watching it online on Tuesday.
I don’t always keep track of where I’ve sent what. I try to keep track of everything on Duotrope, but I am prone to submitting between 3 and 5 am and sometimes, I don’t have my wits about me and I fail to update my Submission Tracker.
Sometimes, I send an editor a new submission immediately upon receiving a rejection. This is a habit I have mostly broken myself of, but there was a time when I was so eager as to behave inconsiderately. I am deeply ashamed of having committed this particular sin again and again and seven days later… again.
There are times when I take rejection personally even though I know it’s not personal. I sulk and pout and stomp around my apartment like a petulant child. I rend my garments and shake my fists at the sky and make declarations (to my stuffed animals and my unfortunate friends) about how my genius is misunderstand. I vow to never send that editor my work again. Then I wake up in the morning, forget my sorrows and contradict myself.
I take acceptances personally too. Acceptance feels good. Â I mean, it’s not like my self-worth is tied up in acceptance (she says, lying through her teeth) but I do get a bit of a thrill.
I am now going to go read submissions with nary a complaint as penance. Please accept my confession.