In August’s round-up I mentioned having written a Sci-Fi short story titled Alexis 5-1-8 that I had submitted to a publisher. Alas, this was rejected. The publisher was unhappy that some of the content borders on dubious consent – dubious consent? moi? never! – which is actually a reasonable concern, although it’s an interesting ethical issue in relation to a sexbot designed and built to be used without consent ever being required. Anyway, that has now been submitted to another publisher and fingers are firmly re-crossed.
More exciting is that my other summer story, I Like It Hard, finally came back from the editor… First off, let me say that I think it’s awesome to have my story being looked at by an editor on behalf of a publisher. I usually do all my own editing, and I have my own preferences regarding grammar and so on, so that inevitably there have been points on which I do not see eye-to-eye with my editor. But grammar is a minor issue. I finally have someone to read my work critically and say things like:
This entire section is all telling and no showing. We’re just given an overview of what’s happening (as opposed to being “there” while it’s happening), and it’s interesting but not particularly engaging. You want the reader to want to keep reading, and this doesn’t really do that.
It’s valid criticism, and responding to such criticism can require significant modifications to the text – and I am someone who likes to get things right the first time rather than edit and edit to perfection. But having an editor point out the weaknesses in the story and the writing has forced me to revisit and revise. And, really, there were a number of significant issues, and I struggled with them even while writing. I Like It Hard is an odd story and some of the decisions I took while writing it have bothered me since submitting it.
Version 2 has gone to the editor now, and if nothing else the story has increased from 13000 words to 17500 words, which is a more satisfying length.
Last month I had a cheeky Pride & Prejudice haiku, and I thought you might like another one:
Wickham’s neighbour I
vie for young Lydia’s eye
and her sweet treasure
I feel I should point out that Whickham is a small town close to Newcastle upon Tyne (where I live and where Mr Wickham ends up in Pride & Prejudice).