Thursday, April 15, 2010

Craving Rejection

I lobbed another one at the Bridport Prize yesterday. I cut Those Little Deaths (one of the stories in my anthology, Trailer Trash Confessional) down from about 6,000 words to 4,700 so I could meet the guidelines.

I WISH this was my writer's study

It's amazing how many extraneous words you can squeeze out of a short story. Though, in the case of Those Little Deaths it was more about culling entire descriptive sentences. I'm sure there are still LOTS of words to cut. (I kept a lot of the back story too, not sure how T. will feel about that.) And there are characters that are introduced once, briefly described/summarized and then bow off after one or two paragraphs.

I'm running into the same problem with minor characters in my latest (and still very rough) short story, Brave Sucker. I've got a lot of characters that make an entrance, are briefly sketched out by the narrative voice and then leave the stage. I'm not Charles Dickens, I don't know how to make every damn character important and thread them back into the story later on to underscore the climatic moral duel between the protagonist and the antagonist.

I also got my rejection from Missouri Review which has something like a 99.8% rejection rate according It was a form rejection and those tend to be real unhelpful as you don't even get the vaguest critique.

I do not understand why Duotrope is allergic to blind-submission contests that require an entry/reading fee. P. told me blind submissions were THE way to go and, judging from all the famous authors F&SF rejected, I think he's totally right.

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