Rule One: You Must Write
Rule Two: Finish What You Start
Rule Three: You Must Refrain From Rewriting, Except to Editorial Order
Rule Four: You Must Put Your Story on the Market
Rule Five: You Must Keep it on the Market until it has Sold
Rule Six: Start Working on Something Else
Heinlein’s Rules of Writing
Sunday morning was submissions morning this week. I haven’t had anything one the market for a couple of months, taking a breather after Cthul-You perhaps but I also had been forgetting rules three and four and telling myself I would re-write a number of stories before sending them out. Wrong. once you have finished you need to draw a line, get things submitted and start on the next project or you never move forward.
Talking of ‘Cthul-You’, I have sent an enquiry to Postscripts magazine to see if they are interested in taking on the print rights following its production by the BBC. Postscipts is blazing a trail for contemporary horror fiction (they are responsible for bringing Joe Hill to us, a name you will all know well soon) so this would be a big win. ‘Chaser’ went out to Transmission Magazine, a non-paying market based in Manchester. I’m not sure whether they accept reprints so we shall see. They have a wonderfuly polite rejection letter so I don’t mind reading it again (for the 5th time if so). I’ve also sent out ‘Circe’s’ to Chizine, an online pro-market that I’ve enjoyed reading for a while now. And ‘Horizon’ becomes my first submission to Asimov’s magazine, after two years spent causing trouble on their web-forum. I have had ‘Horizon’ on the shelf for six months since it narrowly missed out on Hub, but its time to get it back out into the world.
Now I just need to start getting really strict about Rule Two. Its one thing to finish stories and have them rejected, its another to leave work mouldering half finished and then on the day you die have some supernatural being of ultimate judgement say to you ‘Yes, that would have won the Hugo and Nebula and topped the NYT Bestseller list…if only you had finished it.’
Do you have stories lingering on the shelf that should really be under the nose of an editor? Tell me about them and I’ll shout at you until you send them off, and maybe try and suggest a market. Comments below.