31 May 2010

Rejections: To Be Or Not To Be...

I consider myself a good story teller. I am not so sure that carries over to being a good story writer or a good editor. I can easily count up the number of rejections I have on my stories because every one is in a folder on my computer. Then there all the implied rejections that float in the dust of silence. I don't like the rejection part of being a writer.

A sudden shift in some warp drive left me open to accepting an internship as an acquisitions assistant editor. That is reading query letters, synopses, and manuscripts. The key is internship, I believe, and it is very hard work for no pay. On a professional basis it could lead to paying positions in the future if I wanted to stick with it. It is a line item that can slip into a resume and bear some weight. Yet, on a personal basis I am not sure I'd want to expend the time needed to fill a full time position where my words are dashed off in short notes that end up dashing the hopes of other writers.

On day one I received a synopsis and first chapter and thinking I was reporting to the editor and publisher wrote up my comments. Other than being completely oblivious to the active voice and passive voice, the former not used and the latter overused, to which the publisher roundly chastised me, my comments were used as the rejection letter to the editor. Yes, mine. I was the one who yanked the cord that released the guillotine. There was enough to the story that the offer to resubmit was extended but the rejection was still tangible. I know the feeling as I have felt that slap many times.

On day two the file sent to me was a manuscript for novel. The publisher wanted my thoughts on whether they should make an offer. So I read nearly 30 chapters of a romance novel. My initial feeling was that it is only the first full I've done for the publisher so surely I'm merely being tested and will receive instructions as a response to my comments. Now, I am not the typical male reader who has never even touched a romance novel. I have, in fact, read a great quantity of them. Unlike many romance novel readers I also read just about every other genre instead of burying my face in a never ending stream of romance novels.

So I am well read and think I can adapt to the task of reading whatever is submitted to the publisher. I may learn otherwise, but have started out with two rejections. Any mistakes in a manuscript should not show up in a simple spell check. In this case a quick spell check disclosed several incorrectly spelled words. This immediately indicates the work has not been polished. Did I like the story? Yes, but it didn't grab my interest enough to make me want to finish reading it. However, I did read it completely and I noted a number of ways the tension could be increased, methods to add more bite to the conflicts, perhaps even refined resolutions. The resulting response to the publisher passed on to the author: As it is we don't want to publish this story, but if you choose to work it over, and polish it, we would be pleased to take another look at a submission.

So what have I done? I have begun inflicting rejections upon authors who share the same shoes I wear, who wear the same hats I change rapidly. They receive those emailed rejections that I dread to see pop into my incoming folder - only now those notices contain my words.

Since the words are mine and come from a publisher does that mean I am now a published author?

21 May 2010

(Book) -- Kaliac...

(Sneak preview...seeking publisher...excerpt...send links to friends...by Daniel J Hay.)

...Smoky grey wisps curled in gentle waves as great wings beat through the clouds with each resting stroke slicing through vaporous layers.

Far below, along the mountain trails, keen eyesight would have noticed a speck in the sky. Only a speck. In dawn’s glow or evening’s dim the speck would seem to be muted hues floating through the clouds. Obviously a bird of prey circling overhead. An active mind would have wondered about how high in the sky the bird was, as it would appear to be far, far, above the highest mountain tops. Most birds of prey would find it hard to stay above such a high mountain peak, but then, most observers wouldn't have been aware of the distance between themselves and the creature just barely in view. More rightly, most viewers, not having keen eyesight, wouldn't even know that Kaliac was above them - the distance so great that human vision would fail.

And then, in the bright of day or the dark of night no human eye would ever discern the wings, talons, or the great feathered tail, as it slithered up and over roiling couds. Each dive pulling apart the vast billowing clouds to drift unseen below.

Kaliac watched the trail through Trader's Pass with some interest. The movements of humans would spook the grazing markhor. Despite being both more massive and more agile than domestic goats the markhor would bound higher and further from the lower grazing trails seeking solitude in their efforts to protect their fawns. Each doe swiftly guided triplets away. The bucks would fan out looking for danger and family groups would disappear up thin winding trails. Elusive creatures. Few hunters saw markhor even though the downy wool, superb hides, and massive spiraling horns were considered valuable. Soft downy fur, pale white and muted amber in individually unique patterns were sought by the wealthy. Sheer crags, deep ravines, plunging trails and finely tuned senses kept the markhor far from most people.

Movement was good. Exposure. Dinner. Suddenly, with speed like lighting, Kaliac plunged. Wings and talons pulled far back he plunged beyond sight of the humans, feathers wind-plastered to face, head, and body. A twitch of tail, and in owlish silence he veered across the face of the mountain and struck with killing momentum. The buck died before realizing he had taken a stance upon a high rock that exposed him to the silent death. No mere mouse; and then they were gone. Kaliac shifted the slight burden to one taloned foot and soared into the clouds before heading home into the far reaches...... (the rest is hidden in the book...)

16 May 2010

Clip Art...

I am not sure what time it is at this moment; surely somewhere between the time I should have gone to bed and the time I normally finally, with great effort, fall asleep. Every so often I actually write material by hand. Whether it is text for the blog, or stories to add to my growing unpublished collection, or even more music - but what I don't do is draw, sketch, paint, or any of the arts in those areas.

I wish that I did because I often have need of art work. In fact, to follow through on my efforts to independently publish some of my children stories I need art - but its not coming from these hands. To create more interesting covers for the music issues I am publishing of my own music compositions I need simple musically related art; simple like in clip art.

Many hours have been spent in perusing the clip art I find on the Internet, and very little of it is usable by me, or for me, and still being free to use. At this time I don't have the budget to allow purchasing art work, graphics, clip art, or hiring an artist. So I keep wasting time trying to find the art work that I can use.

As an example: I am working on the cover for the http://danielhay.magcloud.com issue of "Susan's Concerto" which is for Violin, English Horn, and Bassoon. Can I find usable graphics that both look nice and blend well together (since I haven't yet found one image of all three, or any two of them, together)? Nope, I haven't. Where possible I would like to show an image of the instrument the music is written for - so much better than just a solid color cover with text on it.

It appears that I have to somehow evaluate the available music related art work in a royalty free paid service. Unfortunately I have been unable to find one, yet, that appears to have anything I can use.

So I go back to searching and searching just for the simple pre-made music graphic material; and can't even get close to figuring out a way to get illustrations for my children' fiction. I think I may have to quit working on my projects and get fully employed so I can afford to get the art I need. Somehow that just doesn't seem to fit my schedule but I guess I need to provide income to other people so that I can progress on my own projects.