Always great to open the email and find another rejection for a story. Today, I found that Waverley, which is a sort of nostalgic/aliens/pied piper tale, didn’t make the cut. Again. It is one of my more personal and unusual pieces, so it wasn’t a big surprise. Reading tea leaves? It took three times as long for it to be rejected as is typical for the pub. (Great information supplied by one of my favorite sites, Duotrope’s Digest.) Of course, maybe the editor just got busy.
Last night, things went a bit better. I went to the drama group again. There are some heavy hitters there, and I saw the first act of another piece by the star of the last session. It was a death row story from two different viewpoints. Not my sort of thing, but the dialogue was so good, it was irresistable. I had my own work read by real actors, which was fun. This was for the “six lines.” I had to be humiliated first. I had got the assignment just the day before: “You don’t know who I am.” In my rush to complete something, I actually wrote seven lines, so I had to be told I was not going to be allowed to present, etc. etc. They relented, and there was some appreciation for the twist at the end. I’ve put the whole thing below. See what you think.
Lastly, I’m working on version four of an SF story for Baen’s Universe. They have an online workshop for newbies. The good and the bad of any critique group is there, but I am working hard to make my work less “distant.” This is a real problem with my work. (Years ago, an editor described my work is third person, over the hill, in the next county.) I have dug into the discussions in the workshop, and I think I finally, “get it.” Version 3 had encouraging results. Version 4, I’m hoping will be closer. And I’m going to take what I’ve learned and see if it will help Waverley.
Look, Buster. I hope you’ve gotten an eyeful because it’s time for you to move on. Take your monobrow, your fat butt and your cheap shoes over to the snack table. You’ve got a better chance with the clam dip than you’ve got with me.
Nice. Nice. But I’m going to give you a second chance. I may not look like Tom Cruise, but I am Valentino, reborn. Five hundred years go, I was Don Juan and I gave pleasure to a thousand women. Two thousand years ago, I was Marc Antony and Cleopatra died for my embrace.
Well, no one is dying for your embrace now. They’d prefer to be dead. You’ve got a less than zero chance with me. Now go satisfy yourself with a bowl of nachos.
I like you. I enjoy the thrill of the chase. It heats things up, you know? The other women here will just have to wait in line. I’m all yours tonight.
Do you see that rather big man near the door? He works for me. Once I saw him pick up a jerk, a jerk much larger than you, with one hand and stuff him into an aquarium. I’ll call him over here.
Call gorilla over if you must. I’ll keep trying. There is a tie between us that transcends time and space. Our hearts are linked. Through all of history, we have known each other. Insults and threats can never keep us apart. You will be mine.
I didn’t want to say this. You’ve forced me to tell you the truth. This will hurt you. I know that you have been a great lover throughout all of history. The greatest! And we have met, the two of us, over and over again. You always love me. And I always love you. You know… a mother always loves her son.