Sunday, September 27, 2009

A break from web searching

I am sitting in my apartment, with Beethoven on the stereo, and the rain outside. It's lovely. And I'm trying to navigate the impossible world of magazines/publishing/where to send my pieces. That world is so big and I get lost in it so quickly. It's very disheartening. I wish there was a sarahgohereforallyourwriting/ website. Everything I and I alone need to know to get my pieces read.


If only all things were that easy.

Life would be boring.

I finished "The Hour I First Believed" by Wally Lamb today. I teared up more times than I can count during the time I took to read that one. He weaves such deep characters and multi-layered stories that it pulls you into the soul of the book. There were several twists I didn't see coming. And it was a very deep story when it came to the history of the characters and where they came from. You go to know generations past of this family. Wally Lamb's second book "She's Come Undone" is in my top 10, and this isn't far behind. I think I should pick up his first one, "I Know This Much Is True".

I'm mostly blogging here to give myself a little break from looking at websites and through a magazine market book I have for places to send my stuff. It is so overwhelming and I don't know where to begin. I wish I had a counselor like in college, telling me that this magazine is a good fit and that one is not. But I'm all grown-up now and need to figure that out on my own. Perhaps I'll just open up this book "Best of the magazines market for writers" book I have and just pick one of the many many places I have post-it noted and say "This is the magazine for this try." Kind of a literary roulet.


  1. Hey Riley,

    First off, I am actually impressed that you already have your first rejection letter. No, seriously! It takes a lot of determination and willpower just to finish writing something, and then have the confidence to send it off to strangers? I envy that! You even have a writer's market book. Awesome. As far as getting your stuff picked up, have you read "Slushkiller", by Teresa Neilsen-Hayden? She's an editor talking about why she rejects some--well, a lot--of unsolicited manuscripts. Same as any editor. It won't help you weight the literary roulette wheel, exactly. But knowing the rules of the game will help you make smarter bets and maybe charm the croupier. If you can see the world as they (editors now, not croupiers) see it, you can take steps that will make your pieces more likely to be accepted. (Even then, though, the publisher just might not be in a position to buy your work at that time--and now that you know that's a possibility, the sting will fade more quickly too.) Anyway, Slushkiller is like five years old and contains lots of internet links that have been dead for some time, but I liked it a lot and I think you'll at least get something out of it.

    I also liked John Scalzi's Utterly Useless Writing Advice; he goes into the actual business of being a writer, as opposed to the creative bit.

    It's terribly rude to offer unsolicited advice and I hope you can forgive me. I also want to buy an issue of the magazine that publishes your first article!

    Sincerely, Joel-from-work

  2. Thanks a bunch, Joel! That actually helps me a bit. I'm so lost in where to send my pieces and all that comes along with it. So any bit of advice will help!

    And also thanks for reading. I'm never really sure who comes here and reads my stuff. So I'm touched to know that you do.