Sweet rejection

Oh well, I got my first rejection today since deciding to try and write professionally again.  (Witch’s Boy went through 15 of them).  This was for the reworked ‘90% Proof’.  In the interests of anyone thinking of submitting their own stuff for publication, I thought I’d post it here so you can see what sort of things to avoid 🙂

Author seems to have a good grasp of the historical research needed for
this story. However, the premise to the story is not very compelling (boy
loves boy who loves another boy who loves a girl). The writing needs help.
There are lots of run-on sentences (paragraphs of them in fact). It would be
a lot of work to fix. There are lots of flowery descriptions of the ship,
the port, etc. but no character descriptions of the main characters,
although there is a delightful one of a woman one of the characters meet for
lunch.  The author also doesn't consistently refer to the characters by
their first or last names...so had an awful time figuring out who was who
throughout the entire reading." 

I actually agree with a lot of this – I’m a martyr to the run on sentence 🙂  And picking one name and consistently referring to each character using it is certainly a way to minimize confusion.  I wasn’t so sure about the ‘character descriptions’ of the main characters, as I always thought it was considered bad style to info-dump everything about a character the moment they’re introduced.  (Also I thought my description of Miss Kent was a little over the top!)  But it’s all fairly easily put right, and it’s great to have such a helpful rejection.  In fact they say I am welcome to submit it again if I rework it according to the above guidelines, which is good  🙂

I thought I was not particularly bothered, but I seem to have wasted the entire day since, eating cake and moping, not writing at all.  Clearly my methods of coping with rejection have not improved since The Witch’s Boy ten years ago.  And this was a nice one!

Never mind.  Back into the saddle tomorrow!  And at least I’ve developed a sudden fascination for Maecenas, (Octavian’s negotiator and poet/patron of the arts) that promises to lead me into some interesting research.

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girluknow
girluknow
13 years ago

Do you mind if I ask which publisher sent you that rejection?
It’s one of the more helpful ones I’ve ever seen.

alexbeecroft
13 years ago

But it _does_ (I sound like Galileo)—in both Google Web and Google Blog.

Put this string into the search-terms window for either Google Web or Google Blog:

“hms gruntleship” “alex beecroft”

Or use just

gruntleship beecroft

Ah, but I’m thinking ‘suppose someone wants to find my blog without knowing that it’s called ‘HMS Gruntleship’ – they’re going to google for my name. So it makes sense, however boring it is, to have the blog be called by my name. It keeps everything simple, at least 🙂

alexbeecroft
13 years ago

Do you mind if I ask which publisher sent you that rejection?
It’s one of the more helpful ones I’ve ever seen.

It is good, isn’t it? I almost feel fortunate to have had it 🙂 That was Dark Eden Press:
http://www.darkedenpress.com/

Leigh Oats
Leigh Oats
13 years ago

Dear Alex,

Girluknow’s asks you: “Do you mind if I ask which publisher sent you that rejection? It’s one of the more helpful ones I’ve ever seen.”

And you reply: “It is good, isn’t it? I almost feel fortunate to have had it 🙂 That was Dark Eden Press [. . .].”

Is that the outfit that criticised a manuscript of yours for having too many run-on sentences? At the top of DEP’s front page in the wilful woolly web is this grade-fivish run-on sentence:

“Dark Eden Press takes credit cards, please select PayPal IPN when you checkout.”

Do as we say, not as we do.

And note DEP’s misspelling of the verb phrase “check out”.

alexbeecroft
13 years ago

Do as we say, not as we do.

And note DEP’s misspelling of the verb phrase “check out”.

LOL! Oh, you do wonders for my confidence! Thank you 🙂 Also, your pointing out sentences joined together with commas is doing wonders for my editing. So thank you twice!

Leigh Oats
Leigh Oats
13 years ago

Dear Alex,

You say: “LOL! Oh, you do wonders for my confidence! Thank you 🙂 Also, your pointing out sentences joined together with commas is doing wonders for my editing. So thank you twice!”

That reminds me: Three of your earlier statements—“I’m a martyr to the run on sentence”, “I strongly suspect there are a number of run on sentences in Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, for example”, and “I expect a certain level of run-on sentences in a Regency, just to give the right feel!”—suggest to me that till my hint about your habit of trying to glue two sentences together by dragooning a comma into service as a full stop you didn’t know what the rest of the world (including Dark Eden Press) regards as a run-on sentence and you thought that it was simply a perfectly good sentence that contains two or more clauses. (You’ve just witnessed a perfectly good multi-clause sentence of mine—apart, perhaps, from a tug-of-war to do with my unedited verb-tenses.)

The crime of run-on sentence is explained pretty well here:

http://ace.acadiau.ca/english/grammar/runon.htm

Let’s see whether WordPress’s system allows me to mention that URL. What’s the emoticon for “fingers crossed”?

Leigh Oats
Leigh Oats
13 years ago

Dear Alex,

When I wrote . . .

_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/

The crime of run-on sentence is explained pretty well here:

http://ace.acadiau.ca/english/grammar/runon.htm

_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/

. . . I hadn’t read the whole of that page. I now see that it’s good at detecting _the crime_ but bad in _the department of corrective services_. For instance it suffers from butphobia, a psychological condition that often presents itself in the same breath as howeveritis.

Anyway, I’m sure you’ll find some better corrections if you look for “run-on sentence” in what the leader of the free world calls the innernets.

Leigh Oats
Leigh Oats
13 years ago

Another oops moment:

I apologise to Girluknow and Alex for posting this drivel in message 16:

_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/

Girluknow’s asks you: [. . .]

_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/

As an editor who was making do without an editor my self-proofreading was on the nose.

alexbeecroft
13 years ago

Three of your earlier statements—”I’m a martyr to the run on sentence”, “I strongly suspect there are a number of run on sentences in Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, for example”, and “I expect a certain level of run-on sentences in a Regency, just to give the right feel!”—suggest to me that till my hint about your habit of trying to glue two sentences together by dragooning a comma into service as a full stop you didn’t know what the rest of the world (including Dark Eden Press) regards as a run-on sentence and you thought that it was simply a perfectly good sentence that contains two or more clauses.

That’s absolutely right 🙂 The thing is that, in general, my sentences do not suffer from the problem of being two sentences joined together by a comma. I’m extremely grateful to you for pointing that out because I was ignorant of it. But I don’t think that I tend to do it very much in my writing. I don’t know about you, but my style of expressing myself in comments is very different from my actual written style. Much less polished for a start!

I have been going through the story in question recently, trying to beat it into shape in order to submit it somewhere else. Although it does contain any number of very long sentences with complicated subclauses, it doesn’t contain very many run on sentences in the ‘stuck together with a comma’ sense.

Added to the fact that they use the comma splice themselves, this leads me to think that when they say ‘run-on sentences’ they mean long sentences with subclauses.

However, having said that, I am absolutely delighted to have learnt this new grammar rule! Thank you ever so much 🙂 One of the perils of my progressive education is that I was taught no grammar. As a result I am sometimes so ignorant that I don’t even know that I’m ignorant.

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