Rejection and Victory

Well at least you succeeded in SOMETHING during your miserable life!

Well at least you succeeded at SOMETHING in your miserable life!

So I received another rejection letter, although this one was from Every Day Fiction.

To my surprise however, they gave the story I submitted three full reviews by three editors. The reviews were extensive enough for a 700 word flash fiction story involving a game at the office.

The reviews arrived at relatively similar conclusions. They all seemed to enjoy the beginning, the overall idea and the humor. But at least two out of three editors took issue with the overall reaction of this one character against the setting. As I read their reactions, I came to realize that the rejection letter is far, far more valuable than the story itself.

You see, a story that is successfully published is like a hypothesis confirmed. It’s ideal, but doesn’t really teach anything or lead to any new discovery, like a writer’s weaknesses. Many publishers do not bother with full reviews like this one, which often leaves large numbers of befuddled and anxious writers.

As I read the review, I understood what they were getting at. The idea itself is gold, but the execution needs work. Based on what I gathered, I suspect that my third story, a spiritual/religious pagan piece, will probably be rejected on grounds of being confusion. However, the second story about a guy on a date probably still has a chance to succeed.

For now, I’ll put this one on the back burner and try to re-cultivate the idea into something that better fits the setting. It shouldn’t take long, but once finished it’ll have to be resubmitted and go through another two and a half months of occupying the slush pile.

On the flip side, the internet meme above relates to a victory I took from a friend in a game of table top Warhammer 40k, using only 17 words. How, you ask? Well, to understand you’ll have to read the following dialogue.

He2etic: “And someday soon, I will kill you all at the BLL and Gamesday with my Black Legionnaires.”

Shadowhawk:  “I don’t have any army anymore so that might be a bit difficult. :D”

He2etic: “I WIN BY DEFAULT!”
Chaos. We take victory anyway we can.

In the Beginning…

Chain swords cure everything.

Chain swords cure everything.

Started a new blog. I considered using Rots Your Brain for my writings as well, but I defined the scope of that as being for movies and television. To change its focus would be undesirable given its focus for mainstream appeal. Warhammer 40k isn’t mainstream, at least not yet… the attention that Space Marine is getting could really begin to change all that. Still, I hope the attention doesn’t go to the creator’s heads. It’s the hardcore fan base who will always be loyal, long after the more fickle fans have gotten over whatever caused the surge in popularity in the first place.

Anyway, I started this blog to keep my writing flowing. Many of the other Boltholers do the same, Pyro, Narry, Shadowhawk. But I need a spot where I can vent to myself the musings of the day, random thoughts and reactions to developing events within and about the 40k universe.

Recently, the submissions window closed after I had pitched three short stories and a novel submission. Of them, I’d say two of the short stories are decent. The last short story was surprisingly intensive, and I honestly have doubts that I could fit the full context of the story in less than 8,000 words. But then again, I think about what The Dark Knight was like or Memento, and recognize that there is a lot of story going on there as well (I am also biased as a huge Christopher Nolan fan). Then again, so did Spider Man 3. Still, I would venture to say that it is better to have too much story than too little, because no one would want to read a snooze fest.

Almost immediately after the contest ended, I went on a reading binge. I read A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, and posted a comparison of it against Gav Thorpe’s The Last Chancers. I completed reading Robinson Crusoe by Daniel DeFoe (not to be confused with William).  I slayed Zombieslayer by Nathan Long and am working my way through Nemesis by James Swallow. I’m trying to mix up my fiction with non-fiction, and also mix some more classic reading on top of that. Part of me is trying to avoid becoming an easily satisfied reader, when simply finishing a book automatically makes it worth reading in my opinion. That’s not always the case. Not every book is amazing, and adding another notch to my book shelf is nothing to be proud of.

My hero.

My hero. ❤

But reading the classics like Robinson Crusoe and A Clockwork Orange has the benefit of allowing me to identify and craft stronger themes into my work. It’s… easy to get lost and simply write what some call “warnography”, when the writing is produced simply to satisfy a person’s craving for action. An excellent story should do that and much more. Still, I suppose as long as the reader is entertained, the job is done.

Who inspires me? In the Black Library crew, my favorite authors are Nathan Long, Gav Thorpe and C.L. Werner. What’s amusing is that these three have veered more towards the Warhammer Fantasy than the 40k universe, but Nathan Long’s plot crafting skills are second to none. CL Werner’s enthusiasm for Robert Howard draws me to him every time. And Gav Thorpe’s story telling… The Last Chancers remains my favorite work in the Black Library despite how old it is. Outside of the Black Library, Christopher Nolan and Darren Aronofsky influence what I want to see. George Orwell, William H. Keith Jr and Robert Howard the other works.

I like to think that reading non-fiction can improve your fiction. When you understand the functions of political-economic structures, I feel you can construct more elaborate worlds within the 40k universe. Dan Abnett does so beautifully when he devises the structure of a hive-city’s political scene. It’s a talent that makes the world more complete, more realistic than the predictable black and white, evil vs good concepts that have little more to offer than the physical struggle against the other half.

Besides, it’s not like there’s any side I would call “good” in the 40k universe. To quote Darth Helmet, “So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good… is dumb. “