Well here we are at Week 331.
Every now and then we throw in a few nuggets of wisdom about the site and what we look for. Or how we consider submissions in general, so with that in mind, I’d like to concentrate on fledgling writers and pass on a few bits of advice. I think any writer who has done this for any length of time will agree with most of these.
I think it is appropriate that I finished on thirteen!
1. You have to be thick skinned.
2. You can’t take anything personal.
3. Biggie number one – You can never assume that your work will be taken in the way that you intend. Words need to tell the story. None of us can mind-read.
4. You need to accept frustration and disappointment.
5. This is another biggie – You need to be realistic.
6. Not everyone can be wrong when you are right.
7. But you can be right when everyone else is wrong.
8. If you are right when everyone else is wrong – You may still get nowhere even though you are right.
9. No matter how skilful you are, you may still fail.
And sorry to all our American friends idealism. No matter how hard you are willing to work, you still may get nowhere.
10. Opinions matter.
11. Opinions don’t matter.
12. Opinions only matter or don’t when you agree with them.
13. Last biggie – Luck is more of a factor than it ever should be.
Following on from this.
If we are asked to send feedback or decide to do so because we see something in your writing.
1. We need to be thick skinned as we have been slaughtered for trying to help at times.
2. Due to number one, we don’t take anything personal.
3. We don’t always see what you are getting at. But if the three of us find there to be the same issues, then that does say something.
4. We know what rejection feels like. Sometimes it would be easy to say yes, but that doesn’t do anyone any good. Somedays we are sending out fifty rejections – That doesn’t fill us with any joy. (A wee add-on from that thinking – There are some unscrupulous people out there who will offer to write a report on your work. Most of it will come back positive. That way you don’t mind paying the hundred pounds or whatever for it!)
5. We will try and focus on positives as well as negatives. But the negatives are what need to be worked on.
6. We might be right and every other site wrong and vice versa.
7. You might not agree with our critique.
8. As long as your work has continuity and is technically correct, then we would suggest that you should send it out to as many sites as you can. But be prepared for more of the same.
9. We have on so many occasions stated that a refusal is a fit for site decision. Make sure you have done your homework on the site and the type of work it accepts.
10. Our opinions only matter for our site.
11. Our opinions don’t matter to other sites.
12. Our opinions are well received when they cause an acceptance or our feedback points to something that the writer hadn’t realised.
13. We wish everyone who sends out their work all the luck in the world – They’ll need it.
I really didn’t fuck about too much with those lists, the thoughts are genuine and I really do hope that this helps anyone who is starting out and happens to be reading this.
Onto this week’s stories. We had two new folks who we welcome to the site, two old friends and one of our lovely editors. (We have two who are lovely and one who has never been described as lovely for so many reasons.)
Topics this week include; bad news, a suggestion, a belief, stress and a tribute.
As always our initial comments follow.
First up was our first new writer.
Jo Robson’s story was ‘A Controlled Moment Of Light.’
‘Really great writing.’
There was some lovely word play like the spots falling off the dress.’
Our wonderful colleague was next up on Tuesday.
‘Tippleganger And Dozzle: A Feeble Fable Of The Fantasmagorical‘ was a story closer to the tonne for Leila Allison.
‘Brilliant use of Buckfast.’
‘The ghost is a wee tinker.’
And the week wouldn’t be a week without Yash Seyedbagheri. He broke the back of the week with ‘Push, Push, Push.‘
‘More than a musing but plenty for a story.’
‘Yash consistently writes with skill and clarity.’
‘Very well done!’
Tom Sheehan has been introduced close to one hundred and fifty times. I don’t think I need to say anymore.
‘A Psalm For Eddie‘ was published on Thursday.
‘Tom at his best.’
‘He does these so well, you feel his respect.’
We finished off with our second new writer.
Jennifer Walkup’s first story for us was ‘Bones.’
‘We can’t pass this one up.’
‘The tension was wound around the dialogue brilliantly.’
Just a couple of things to finish off with.
It was great to see Scotland at The European Championship – But we got humped as usual.
Talking about being humped – I always love to see a politician falling on his sword. And if married Matt Hancocks married aid hadn’t fallen on Matt’s sword, he may not have had to resign. She will now have to answer that never-ending question of ‘How could you?’
I maybe am a bit suspicious that this has came out now, after our beloved leader was said to have called the now ex-Health Secretary ‘Fucking useless’. Who released the footage? Why was there footage? Why was the footage allowed to become public?
Overall, I don’t give a shit! Although it does give me a bit of a laugh especially when I think of the lady as more a marital aid for a, hypocritical selfish little fucker who had no regard for his wife, his family or the people he has been dictating to. The two of them must be so proud!
I always have a look at Birthdays and Deathdays – I don’t know why. Maybe it is me hoping that there are a few politicians included!
I see that it was Mel Brooks birthday this week. I thought ‘Spaceballs’ was awful as was ‘Blazing Saddles’ but I loved ‘The Producers’ and one of my all-time favourites – ‘Young Frankenstein’!
I also saw that the lovely lady that was Joan Sims died this week in 2001. I think that the ‘Carry On’ films are my not-guilty pleasure. They are dated, sexist and childish but they were my childhood and I still watch them with a lot of fondness.
And dare we mention GG Allin who also died this week in 1993. When I read some of his lyrics I wonder how inspirational Shakespeare and Jane Austin were to him?
For anyone who doesn’t know him, look up the reference –
You are probably in for a treat or a shock depending on what Jesus Christ does for you.
Great post, Hugh. I think your list is spot on.
I am going to be honest and admit that I wanted, really really wanted to have a header with a close up of Hancock’s hand on that woman’s bum. It is all sorts of wrong. They looked like a couple of teenagers behind the bike shed. Nothing wrong with that much until you remember there were six children affected by this betrayal and the country were paying both of them for their time while they were grasping, groping and gasping. Anyway I thought we might get sued if I did that so I looked for something else. dd
19 thoughts on “Week 331 – Even Derren Brown Would Struggle With Some Of Our Submissions, At Least We Know The Words To Our Anthem And Yet Another Mad Tory Shagger!”
GG Allin was born Jesus Christ Allin. With that kind of thing happening, along with penchant for flinging his feces into the audience, it is surprising that he lasted as he did. His “performances” are as impenetrable as those of Darby Crash of the Germs. Who went the same way. I saw that Ned Beatty recently passed. It took courage to submit to what he did in Deliverance…”You is as soft as a lady” and all. Excellent post as always. I bet GG would have drunk Buckfast with heroin.
Thanks as always.
There was a film called ‘Southern Comfort’ that was ‘Deliverance’ watered down. I think that was the first thing I had ever seen Powers Booth in. And he was brilliant in Tombstone.
In one of my past jobs, if we were working in a certain village, as soon as we drove into the place we would start sounding out ‘The Duel Of The Banjo’s’ music for reasons that you can guess!
Maybe that tune should replace ‘god save her fae that big hoose doon in that there London’!!
Not a lot of what we call genetic diversity in Royal bloodlines. I bet they are web footed.
Enjoyed the list immensely. (It deserves the adverb.) Working hard on a story is ironic. You have to work hard on it so it appears you didn’t work hard on it.
So true. When you think on watching any tradesman, what they make look easy, never is.
Thanks as always my fine friend.
Great to see another submission in from you and there will be good news coming your way over the next few weeks!!
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Blazing Saddles: Awful?!? Say it ain’t so, Hugh! I’m crushed, crushed I tells ya! Oh, yeah, opinions and all that…
I think more folks love that film than hate it. I was fine until the end scene when the fight spilled over into the film studio!!
Thanks as always my fine friend.
Fantastic list and some fine Mel Brooks choices – I’m a huge fan of his History of the World Part 1 although I fear it may have aged as well as the carry on films. Still as a teenager in the mid 80s it was a classic. Great advice Hugh – and as someone who has been the recipient of your advice more often than I can count I’m extremely grateful!
It’s great to see you around the site!
A line regarding advice I remember hearing was from a comedienne (I can’t remember who)
They stated that a mother was talking to her thirteen year old daughter. She asked ‘Do you know what a penis is?’
The daughter blushed and nodded.
The mother said ‘Good – But never touch one!’
Ah…Advice – It works or fails in so many levels!!
All the very best to you and yours.
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Great list Hugh! The way you write about rejection is really encouraging in a weird way, and some of your points are so funny. Rejection stings but is a challenge to rewrite, let go of a story, or send it someplace else. You give writers insight about the pains you editors have to go through too.
Great point about idealism. On top of that we’re valued/identified by what we’re paid to do so it’s crazy making because even if published how many are paid? Therefore we have a soft spot for the underdog & cliches keep us pumped— keep on truckin’, write (dance, whatev the passion) like no one’s watching, take a licking and keep on ticking, give it 110 percent, hell, there’s always a small chance ‘dreams can come true’ as in Rocky, though Dr. Frankenfurter sang it best, ‘don’t dream it be it.’ Now that was a good movie but look what happened to him Lol! Anyway, thank you!
Hi Susan (I hope this is you, if not I apologise and will just say ‘Hi’ but my point will be the same!!)
Cracking comments and you are spot on with everything.
I think some folks think we take delight in refusing – We don’t. We all know what it’s like to write your heart into a story, only for someone to say ‘Sod off’ – You would need to be even more black hearted than me for that not to eventually get to you.
However – From the very early days of the site, we insisted on only accepting quality writing. So for anyone to be in awe of any of the writers, well, they shouldn’t be as we truly believe that every writer on this site is on a par regarding quality…We wouldn’t have accepted them otherwise.
That is what makes the rejections that wee bit easier. We wouldn’t be doing anyone a service if we ever watered down the quality of what we publish.
Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments!!!
“Young Frankenstein” still is extremely funny and clever, I’ve watched it at least four times over the years. I am also a “Blazing Saddles” fan… used to like Westerns as a kid and this is a fun parody of America. On the rejection front, it must be difficult for editors to have to reject so much work, many times they write back saying they liked the piece for various reasons but “we receive hundreds of submissions.” I feel lucky to have had a fair number of acceptances, 256 rejections overall…par for the course. haven’t been writing for the past four months, distracted by playing music, hiking, swimming and the summer, feels like I’m 17 again may as well take advantage of it.
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If somethings make you feel young – Then embrace them!!
I think my ‘funny’ cowboy film has to be ‘Cat Balou’ or ‘Carry On Cowboy’ to a lesser extent.
Fair comments on amounts. I think those who are rejected but carry on show a professionalism and a want that is a lot stronger than those who spit out the dummy after a handful of rejections!!
Thanks so much for the comments my fine friend.
I like the list for both sides of the spectrum as I have also experienced every element. Being a writer is f’n hard, as is being an editor. What we as writers need to understand is that the competition out there is staggering and amazing. On another note, if this reads like I’m being held hostage it’s because my co-author/editor, the coolest cat in Mexico, is holding my hand captive with his twenty-pound weight.
All cats are cool! (And a wee bit psychotic!!)
Great to read your comments.
Again, with what I have said before, anyone who gets published on this site should have a wee read at as many of the stories as they can. If they think ‘Man that is brilliant’, they need to realise that they are on a par with those writers who they think are brilliant. We wouldn’t have it any other way!!!
Thanks so much, lovely lady!!!
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So right about opinions. I think the story was “Three Planets” which combined two stories which appeared here. No verbatim, but “Brings up big ideas without follow through” rejection and something ;positive that I don’t remember and acceptance. I have no idea what the rejection referenced, but of course the acceptance was right.
My theory – there are few bad stories, but thousands of bad matches and tight quotas. Of six or seven hundred submissions, I’ve valued critiques two or three times. The stories are written as I want them written. Other than factual errors or grammar, it is subjective. I don’t value my opinion either..
Young Frankenstein good, Blazing Saddles better, laughing in the face of racism.
Thanks so much for the comments.
It makes me wonder is an opinion of an opinion still an opinion of an opinion on an opinion.
Man – Maybe someone should come up with a name for that.
Great point on being happy with your work. Anytime we are asked for feedback and we suggest any change, we always state for the writer only to do so if they agree with our suggestions. If they don’t and are happy, then they should leave well alone.
Great to see you around the site my fine friend.
It’s never easy to be rejected. Many writers consider their stories to be like their children. And hearing that the little one isn’t up to the mark is like a smack on the cheek and a dart through the heart.
How could they?!!
But then considering that the child/story may need some good conditioning and a little brushing up in form and conduct is never a bad thing to consider. After all, if a writer doesn’t create good stories then the future of the writing world is doomed. And we’ll just have a bunch of bad eggs on our hands.
No preaching or teaching is ever in vain. 🙂
It’s always a pleasure to see you around the site.
I reckon I would have a lot more patience with three thousand words than five minutes with a kid!
I hope that there will always be writers striving for what we do, that unique premise that no-one has thought of!
Thanks so much!!