On the writing front, I wanted to talk about a rejection I got for Merm-8, first chapter, that said that the manuscript needed a stronger voice and “less telling, more showing”.
And I thought “damn, I thought I had done that”. I mean, I really, really tried to not to tell anything, unlike in “Black Hole Son” or other previous works. I looked for any infodumping (I have some, but not in the first chapter, I think), and tried to make it all come out as dialogue or something more transparent. Like a dog treat in peanut butter. And it’s difficult to do that in science fiction because there’s always SO MUCH world-building information you need to get out in a short amount of time.
I’m pretty used to not taking rejections personally, and this one most definitely is not personal. Still it strikes to the heart of the work. Something that I didn’t see or thought I didn’t see. It’s so hard to look at your work objectively. I’m quite certain that if I looked at the manuscript again, I’d see many many places to revise and cut. There are parts that bother me, but if I kept trying to work on it forever, I’d never write anything new. I’d never move on.
And sometimes it’s more important to write something and get the practice/experience than consider it a failure if it doesn’t sell. The short stories I’m writing now all feel pretty stillborn. I’m hoping that’s just because they’re rough drafts, but still I think about them and say “This is an unoriginal ghost story. You just added strippers.” And I never can figure out how to take it to that next level. Maybe it’s a style thing.