Friday, March 23, 2007

Sent: "Golden Opportunity"

To Fantasy Magazine. I checked out their online copy of Cat Rambo's "The Dead Girl's Wedding March" and really liked it. I also enjoyed her disturbing update of The Little Mermaid (the real one, not the lovely but unfaithful Disney version) in Strange Horizons' "Foam on the Water." Plus, I mean, Cat Rambo. What an awesome author name! Gives the reader a little jolt, like Max Power ("It's the name that you love to touch! But you mustn't touch....").

Anyhoo, "Golden Opportunity" is, I believe, the second of this year's Creative Writing Class stories I've submitted (the first being "Parasite: A Love Story" - and "Whiff" was written in last year's class). "Tear for a Rose" has potential, once I clean it up and find a title that doesn't sound so embarassingly florid (Gossamer Obsessions, anyone? The only reason I've kept that name is to remind me of how with every story I am trying to use less purple prose...). "House Hunting" still needs fixing, although it's taken an interesting turn in the rewrites (I've added a wedding!) that might require me to do a little more worldbuilding.

But now I have two stories "in the mail," as it were - and this time I paid attention to format! I went to the SFWA website and found out exactly how much I had been doing wrong. Urgh! My problem was that while I always followed the submission guidelines mentioned by the magazines themselves (double-spaced, once-sided, ragged right margin, etc.) I never considered that there might be standards that are apparently so standard that I never knew of them until I looked them up. Like underlining instead of italicising (no big deal - it's the same for MLA format), and putting my address on the first page of the manuscript (I figured the address on the coverletter and SASE to be enough - stupid me!) and putting the title of the story in the centre of the first page.

It's kind of a bummer, to tell the truth. I'd hate to think that some of the rejections I've received might have been partially due to bad formatting. I had the basics, right? Right? While it might not have been enough to merit the story's immediate banishment to the wastebasket, it certainly might have biased the reader against acceptance, and that kills me. I know, no use crying over spilt milk or improperly formated short stories. The best I can do know is to keep sending them out with the right format and hope my luck changes.

No comments:

Post a Comment