Friday, November 11, 2005

Praises and Adulations!

I posted "Desert Muse" to my writer's group, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive!
All of them had good constructive criticism ("if you're traveling for three straight days, and the moon is full on the second day, the moonlight should still be bright for all three days", etc), but not before they told me it was "an enjoyable read, fantastic in fact", "delightful", "sure to be published" , "wonderful"...
Of course, I was inclined to disagree with some of the negative comments, but the rule for my Writer's Group (and I do think it is a wise one) is do not reply to criticism. In this way, writing is like production, and the reader is the customer, and the customer is always right! If the reader didn't understand that the tragic deaths on the desert voyage were not mandatory, and only the result of stupidity, then no amount of explaining it to them will take away their confusion at reading it for the first time.
Also, one should never use the "Well, what do they know? Their stories suck/they're not authors" excuse. It's crap. Who do you write your stories and books for? You don't write them for authors, necessarily. You write them for the average readers! So they should have just as much a say in how your work is doing than the six-figure-advance-flaunting best-selling authors.
Still, it's very vindicating to have my work praised to such an extent by total strangers. And don't take this as my excuse to puff up my chest in front of you. When I write, I have varying periods of deep self-doubt and insane self-confidence. When I read story magazines, or story anthologies, my ego shrinks to the size of peapod, barraged by thoughts that I could never write that well, how will I ever be accepted? I in no way even come close to the heights of their writing, so I should just quit now and take up gardening, instead.
However, when I actually send in my stories, my ego soars on the wings of my accomplishment of actually having the courage to send my work into a magazine that publishes stories that superior. I never expect rejection letters (until they actually appear in mailbox). I always expect a big fat "Oh my God, your story changed my life" letter, with a juicy $1000 check inside. I then expect to be asked to contribute said story to The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, and then I'll win a Locus Award and a Hugo, which will lead me off into a stunning career that will make me the youngest person to be named SFWA Grand Master at the age of 25.
Crazy, no?
But praise really helps my confidence, obviously. It's one thing to have your mother praise your work, because you're always going to suspect her of bias regardless of her promises to remain objective. But to have strangers (like the editor at Challenging Destiny) read your work, without knowing anything about you, and telling you it's good, well, that's something else entirely. It allows me to feel that I could actually pursue writing as a career, and not just as a hobby when I'm slaving away at some dead-end job.

Still, can you imagine the looks I'll get if I can put "Grand Master" on my resume?


  1. Anonymous3:21 PM

    I know you aren't being serious about this Grand Master business, but just so you know, the list of Grand Masters is on the SFWA site at

    You might have to wait a while. :)

    And about the fantasy group -- it's not always obvious who is the published writer. There are some pros in the workshop.

  2. It's still my dream to be Grand Master, and "if you shoot for the moon, even if you miss you land amongst the stars" etc. etc. ^_^

  3. Anonymous9:46 AM

    hi missis animejune. i saw ur post on teh workshop and came to see ur blog. i think it's cool that you want to be grand master, and i think we should all try the best we can, but i think that the anonymous person is right about that grandmaster stuff. see, i looked at the link he gave u and all the names are ppl like ursula leguin and harlan ellison and ppl like that. so it looks like grandmasters are all ppl who sell lots and lots of really good stories and books for fifty years, and not kids like u and me.

    but maye we'll be grandmasters when we get old too!

    --white lion

  4. I'm willing to wait, and write, write, write. ^_^

  5. Anonymous1:37 PM

    and i think that's what mr. anon was saying. so maybe we can't be gms when we're 25 like u said in ur post, but maybe we can when we're 75.

    hey, i heard something funny. i heard u have to write a million words of (bad word) before u write good stuff. i think that's scary. but i bet it's probably true. i know my first stories stunk even though i though they was teh best when i wrote them. and then i wrote stuff that my friends liked. i got better! and now i'm in workshops, and some of them are easy on ppl, and some are tough. the tough ones hurt but i think those are the ones that help the most. so maybe i only have to write 999,000 words of (bad word) before my stories are good ones!