Letter 1: The Rejection
It’s taken a while but I finally feel like a real writer. That probably sounds a bit weird for someone who has been blogging for about seven years, has written a sixty thousand word baby diary and has about forty other short stories up on the web (and one in print) at this very moment…but any writers reading this might just have an inkling where I’m coming from.
All of my work so far has been delivered in very safe environments.
Step 1 – Blog. Ultimate Safety. On my blog I am the master. End of.
Step 2 – Submit to a site with no rejection policy (repeat thirty odd times). Thanks Shortbread!
Step 3 – Branch out marginally and submit new work to a site edited by four talented and word-obsessed individuals. And one Welsh bloke who may or may not have a blog. Or three. And some stories on a no-rejection policy website.
Note: I have to be clear – my fellow LS editors would under no circumstances do me a favour and publish what they believe to be a sub-standard story just because I submitted it. That said, having their advice in terms of what to tweak and being privy to their collective knowledge about how to judge a story has helped enormously.
Step 4 – Submit the best thing you’ve ever written to a publication. Cherry-picking your back catalog is another safe route. I submitted two pieces to Firewords Issue 4 and The Adamant Carbonisation Of Henry Spiller (still my favourite title as well as my favourite story) got selected.
Step 5 – Submit your second tier stories to the same publication because despite all your efforts you ran out of time to come up with something new to put forward.
Thanks but no thanks.
OK so I have to say the Firewords guys are awesome and gave me the Carlsberg of rejections. My story Anniversary got on to their final selection round, my 400 word fiction piece The Water’s Edge was well received but came up just short and my conversation piece Good Night, Good Luck and Good Love was a great idea but had too much similarity of voice between the two characters.
Regardless, this was just what I needed.
In an odd way, had one of these stories got over the line I would have felt like a fraud. I wanted to submit them to see how they stacked up but I was furious at not getting a new piece done in time. Everything I’ve written so far has had an almost immediate outlet. I think I will be well advised to write more but keep some things up my sleeve.
Letter 2: Dear Father Christmas (c/o Snowy Village in the North Pole)
Rhys wrote his first letter to Santa today (with the help of his mum). It went like this:-
Dear Father Christmas,
I’ve been very good this year and would love some presents for Christmas.
I would like:-
– Spaceman Lego
– Some apple seeds to grow an apple tree
– A picture of you Father Christmas and you must say cheese and please
– A new racing track for the one I broke
– A magnetic fish pond and a catcher
– A little house to play with
– A bunny to stroke that’s real
Lots of love
Our dear, lovely, big-hearted boy was happy to stop at Spaceman Lego bless him but carried on with the list after some maternal encouragement.
He asked what all the xxx’s were at the end – and on finding they were kisses did his own extra ones on the envelope.
My heart is swelling just writing this down.
He was beside himself with excitement when, after leaving the letter in the postbox for ten minutes for the elves to collect, it disappeared.
I suspect an acknowledgement letter may need to be sent to him soon – full of encouragement and support.
Just like his dad got.