Shannon Stacey
Short Wait vs Good Rejection

The husband occassionally asks about my fellow cohorts-in-crime and where everybody is in the flight pattern. He also knows that the correct answer for “What’s the average response time for H/S?” is anywhere from 2 days to 2+ years. Because he’s in a business where he has to jump or people don’t have heat, air conditioning, or light sockets that don’t curl one’s hair, it boggles his mind. (Surprisingly, more people get bitchy when they don’t have AC then when they don’t have heat.)

Anyway, he thought H/S’s move toward trying to ensure 3-month waits was a great idea. I disagreed with him, and every single time he asks about the compadres, we have this *cough-heated-cough* debate. I have explained to him in the past that the only way to consistently send out responses within the 3 month mark is to rely heavily on the form rejection letter.

I haven’t received a form rejection yet. Even the really, really crappy partial I sent to Leslie Wainger back when it was for the Yours Truly line (I think) got a few comments, and that was before I even know what POV was. For the Silhouette Romance bullet I dodged, I got a fabulous rejection. I waited seven months, but it was worth it. And the psychological effects on a writer who’s received detailed rejections, who then starts getting forms can’t be underestimated, either.

The husband thinks a rejection is a rejection, and he’d rather have it in 3 months. He doesn’t think the comments are worth it, because I put the ms under the bed anyway. When I explain that I can take those comments into the next ms with me, he just snorts, because he doesn’t think the comments were worth four months of my life.

And since we’re both too stubborn to agree to disagree, we’ll probably have the very same debate again soon.

Now I’ve got to finish editing my RTB column, and do some critiquing. And find the Doritos. The short kid ran off with them

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Adventures in page count, driving, and lack of sleep

Keifer Sutherland voice-over: The following takes place between 8:50 and 9:15am:

After dropping the short kid off at preschool, I head off in the direction of Dunkin Donuts. Having been up until 1:30 trying to get the writing in that I missed due to football (YAY!), I need the caffeine. Badly. I woke up with the same thought that I’d gone to sleep to. How can I have an entire scene in 2 pages? Then some moron decides he wants to be in my space in the road.

Now, normally I’d let him take it–when my kids are with me I’m the most passive driver on the road. But this morning I’m tired, caffeine-deprived, and trying to calculate page counts in my weary little head. It’s MY space, dammit. In the midst of the locking up tires, fishtailing truck beds, roaring engines, flying birds, and tailgating that ensues, I have a lightbulb moment.

For over three years I’ve been doing the Magic Word Count Formula. Set your settings, get 250 words per page. Bam. That’s it, and you never, ever have to think about it again. If you’ve got 4 pages, you’ve got a 1k. If you’ve got 320 pages, you’ve got 80k. Well, doh. The new manuscript is Book Antiqua 12, single-spaced, computer word count. Hello. The average is something outrageous like 497 words per page. That might explain it.

So I get home, ready to dive back into it, and the business phone is ringing. Did I mention my big, obnoxious truck is a rolling 4×4 billboard for the husband’s company? With the phone number written down the side in 8-inch numbers? Luckily, I’m the only one home.

“Yes, sir. I totally agree. She can’t drive and she is a crazy bitch, and I’ll recommend the boss fire her right away. Have a nice day.”

The moral: Never underestimate the power of sleep.

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Blogging while aggravated

It probably ranks right up there with posting to message boards and lists while aggravated, but I’ve already walked away from my computer and counted to ten so many times my children are getting worried. It’s not helping.

If you think I write morally-offensive books–Yee-freakin-haw. Then. Don’t. Read. Them.

(Okay, since none are actually published, you can’t read them anyway. Work with me here.)

I could go into what a boring, conservative person I am in real life, and point out that the couple in that book having hot monkey sex on the bar are fictional, but I won’t. If you can’t separate the author from her work, have the shrink adjust your meds.

Here it is–if you can put words on the page, sell them in today’s market, and please YOUR readers, I applaude you. Depending on your attitude toward me, I may not respect you, but I applaude you.

Worry about pleasing your readers, and I’ll worry about pleasing mine. You won’t find me on your blog/message board/list insulting you or your books or your fans. And that’s because if I don’t like something, I don’t read it. I certainly don’t seek out those who do in order to let them know how morally-offensive I find them.

The bottom line–“us people” who write “those books” are here to stay.

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Amusing myself with the RWR

The subject of the Up Close & Personal: Editor Profile in Feb’s RWR is Raelene Gorlinsky of Ellora’s Cave. (It just landed in my mailbox a few minutes ago.) In the intro paragraphs, Ms. Gorlinsky says:

“I’m waiting for someone to write my ultimate romance reading fantasy–a humorous erotic futuristic featuring a vampire/werewolf/psychic-human menage a trois.”

I’ll bet at least a few dozen aspiring writers are hunched over their plotting boards/sketchpads/Excel spreadsheets/snowflake charts right now, trying to fulfill this Managing Editor’s fantasy. At least 3 or 4 will have landed on her desk by next weekend.

“What do you get when a vampire–”

“I’ve already heard it.”

“How do you know? I didn’t even finish it!”

“I’m psychic, dumbass. And stop trying to get Type A out of the food replicator. It’s not working.”

“Dammit, Wulf, your claws punctured the condom again!”

“I knew that was going to happen.”

Another interesting tidbit from the same article, especially if your agent’s racking up the EC rejections for you:

“In fact, I’ve noticed that agented submissions usually do not follow our submission guidelines and are more likely to be rejected.”

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Plodding through plotting

So, there are my two methods. (The pictures, of course.)

I’m trying very hard to use the plotting board. My version is a scaled-down version due to space limitations, using sticky flags instead of sticky notes. And I just keep moving those puppies around…and around and around and around.

The sketchbook method came from a friend of mine. She said she used a sketchbook, so I thought at this point I’ll try anything. There’s a good chance hers is very neat and flow-charty, but this is what’s been working for me lately.

My new plan is to use the sketchpad for big, brainstorming stuff, and then, from that, list scenes I need to illustrate the stuff on the sketchpad onto sticky flags, then try to organize them on the board.

I think there might be a Mike’s Hard Lemonade in the back of the fridge left there by company two years ago or so. If I drink it with a straw, it might be enough to make me not care that I have two green flags, one pink flag, and one yellow flag in the first chapter. That means something.

I’m almost sure of it

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