Folks, there's nothing wrong with using software features such as Track Changes in Microsoft Word when you are writing the manuscript.   However, when it comes time to submit to a magazine or book publisher, if you send in a copy that has all of those markups turned on...it looks bad.  Kind of like showing up for your job interview in a T-shirt and shorts.  

Would I personally reject someone based solely upon an oversight like that?  No. But it starts you off in a hole that you're going to have to climb your way out of to get me to pass that submission on up the chain.  And for heaven's sake, don't make that hole deeper by not adhering to the guidelines which state standard manuscript format. 

My advice?  Please open up your attachments, and look them over carefully before you attach them to that email and send them off.  Look at it this way, would you print out a document, and stick it in an envelope without giving it a once over if you were submitting to a paper only magazine?  No?  Then do the electronic equivalent.  To put it plainly, just because a market accepts electronic submissions does not abrogate your responsibility to make your submission meet the formatting standards set forth by that publication.  If you can't be bothered to check the file before you send it to make sure it's in the right format, and that your actually sending the right version, it says to the receiving editors that you don't care about your work.  That isn't the message you want coming across.   Because there are markets that would reject you out hand for that kind of error.  

This all falls under the part of things that are under your control as a writer.  No, you can't control whether I'll connect with your story or not.  You can't control whether or not I just got a story with a similar theme or idea as yours, and it was so awesome that it makes yours look pale in comparison, and anyway, I sent that on up and Gerard and Hildy loved that one so much they bought it immediately.  But you can control how your words are presented on the page.  You can control whether you want to take the extra time to double and triple check everything you are sending is correct before hitting the send button.  Why make it harder on yourself than you need to?


Folks, there's nothing wrong with using software features such as Track Changes in Microsoft Word when you are writing the manuscript.   However, when it comes time to submit to a magazine or book publisher, if you send in a copy that has all of those markups turned on...it looks bad.  Kind of like showing up for your job interview in a T-shirt and shorts.  

Would I personally reject someone based solely upon an oversight like that?  No. But it starts you off in a hole that you're going to have to climb your way out of to get me to pass that submission on up the chain.  And for heaven's sake, don't make that hole deeper by not adhering to the guidelines which state standard manuscript format. 

My advice?  Please open up your attachments, and look them over carefully before you attach them to that email and send them off.  Look at it this way, would you print out a document, and stick it in an envelope without giving it a once over if you were submitting to a paper only magazine?  No?  Then do the electronic equivalent.  To put it plainly, just because a market accepts electronic submissions does not abrogate your responsibility to make your submission meet the formatting standards set forth by that publication.  If you can't be bothered to check the file before you send it to make sure it's in the right format, and that your actually sending the right version, it says to the receiving editors that you don't care about your work.  That isn't the message you want coming across.   Because there are markets that would reject you out hand for that kind of error.  

This all falls under the part of things that are under your control as a writer.  No, you can't control whether I'll connect with your story or not.  You can't control whether or not I just got a story with a similar theme or idea as yours, and it was so awesome that it makes yours look pale in comparison, and anyway, I sent that on up and Gerard and Hildy loved that one so much they bought it immediately.  But you can control how your words are presented on the page.  You can control whether you want to take the extra time to double and triple check everything you are sending is correct before hitting the send button.  Why make it harder on yourself than you need to?


This roundup is late.  It's late at least because I just kind of wasn't excited by the idea of reporting a pretty dismal month.   The month itself wasn't dismal.  Just my progress as far as any kind of writing.   Work is crazy busy, and well we've got stuff going on at home, including some remodeling to add some comforts.  (IE a new bathroom, and some re-arranged space to make living more enjoyable down there.   It's pretty disruptive in physical terms, but in the long run there's no question that this is a worthwhile endeavor.

Writing:  If I managed 1,000 words on several non-starts I'll be shocked.  I had ideas a bursting, but come time to put butt in chair and type, I managed to miraculously find all sorts of ways to distract myself.   Even editing really got away.  I'm going to start instituting some new measures to work on that.  

Submissions:  A "long lost" submission returned.  It's a second re-write request for the same story.  The editor gave concrete clear advice as to what she would like to see in order to make the grade.  I'm forcing myself not to rush in, as I'm pretty sure it'll either be third time's the charm, or three strikes your out. 

Slush:  Wrapping up the last bits of slush for Space and Time for this reading period.  At least, I think it's the end of the pile   (And even as I type this, I'm imagining a horde of stories storming my inbox.)  It was an interesting experience, and I hope that it works out so that I can keep on with them.  

Reading:  ~4 books.  I say approximately, because I read all but like one short story in a collection.

The Secret History of Moscow,  by Ekaterina Sedia.  I don't recall exactly when I first saw a promo blurb about this book, but ever since I did, I've been looking forward to it.  That of course could be a dangerous thing, like looking forward to a movie, you impart more emotional investment into something unknown and that gives, I believe, much more room for disappointment.  However, in this instance I think the novel delivered and then some.  The story grabbed me from page one, and  held on such that every spare moment I had, I read, until finished.  (Including staying up a good hour and a half past my normal bedtime two nights in a row!)  A masterful handling of layered stories, made up of the very personal tales of unique individuals whose stories defined and contrasted the breadth of the city that is the center of the story.  Not unlike Victor Hugo, these stories coalesced into a deeper more complex tale that combined a marvelous stroke of the fantastic that took this somewhere into the realm between magical realism and urban fantasy.   If I hadn't been hooked by her short stories, this novel would have made a dedicated fan of me by its conclusion.


The Bad Beginning, by Lemony Snickett.  I'd seen the movie, which from what I gather encompassed the first three novels.  My wife has read and enjoyed the whole series, and I decided to pick one up and give it a whirl.  There were some things about the book that impressed me.  A strong consistent voice, and a well defined tone.  Something that, to be honest you don't always see in adult literature, with the prevailing modern sensibility of just existing as more like a camera in a movie watching the story unfold.  Here we have a narrator, and that narrator is a character in the story.  Enjoyable, but I fear it may have been a bit spoiled by having seen the movie first.  As time permits, I will probably make my way through them all.

Driven to Distraction, by Edward M. Hallowell, MD and John J. Ratey, MD.  If you want to understand AD(H)D, this is a good book to start.    The authors themselves have this condition, and so they speak not only as Psychiatrists, but as people who inherently understand the issues and effects of the condition.  I'd heard Dr. Hallowell speak on NPR's the Parent's Journal and the way he discussed the topic made me want to read the book.  It's a subject you hear a lot about these days, and I think there's a lot of either disinformation or misinformation floating around.  It's good to get a point of view that covers it both from a clinical side, as well as a personal one, often relayed through the stories of many of Dr. Hallowell's patients.

The Metamorphoses and other Stories, by Franz Kafka.  Does it make me Emo if I like Kafka?  Does it help if I mention I was an English major?  Okay, fine.  I just like a good freaky story.  And Kafka does that, rather well.  From The Metamorphoses, to The Hunger Artist, to an array of other shorts.  A bit more than half I'd read before.  But the stories were entrancing anyway.  And in a way, this was the kick start that got my brain thinking in terms of short stories again.  Something I needed.  So thanks Franz.

That's a wrap on January.  Here's hoping February fares better.
 
This roundup is late.  It's late at least because I just kind of wasn't excited by the idea of reporting a pretty dismal month.   The month itself wasn't dismal.  Just my progress as far as any kind of writing.   Work is crazy busy, and well we've got stuff going on at home, including some remodeling to add some comforts.  (IE a new bathroom, and some re-arranged space to make living more enjoyable down there.   It's pretty disruptive in physical terms, but in the long run there's no question that this is a worthwhile endeavor.

Writing:  If I managed 1,000 words on several non-starts I'll be shocked.  I had ideas a bursting, but come time to put butt in chair and type, I managed to miraculously find all sorts of ways to distract myself.   Even editing really got away.  I'm going to start instituting some new measures to work on that.  

Submissions:  A "long lost" submission returned.  It's a second re-write request for the same story.  The editor gave concrete clear advice as to what she would like to see in order to make the grade.  I'm forcing myself not to rush in, as I'm pretty sure it'll either be third time's the charm, or three strikes your out. 

Slush:  Wrapping up the last bits of slush for Space and Time for this reading period.  At least, I think it's the end of the pile   (And even as I type this, I'm imagining a horde of stories storming my inbox.)  It was an interesting experience, and I hope that it works out so that I can keep on with them.  

Reading:  ~4 books.  I say approximately, because I read all but like one short story in a collection.

The Secret History of Moscow,  by Ekaterina Sedia.  I don't recall exactly when I first saw a promo blurb about this book, but ever since I did, I've been looking forward to it.  That of course could be a dangerous thing, like looking forward to a movie, you impart more emotional investment into something unknown and that gives, I believe, much more room for disappointment.  However, in this instance I think the novel delivered and then some.  The story grabbed me from page one, and  held on such that every spare moment I had, I read, until finished.  (Including staying up a good hour and a half past my normal bedtime two nights in a row!)  A masterful handling of layered stories, made up of the very personal tales of unique individuals whose stories defined and contrasted the breadth of the city that is the center of the story.  Not unlike Victor Hugo, these stories coalesced into a deeper more complex tale that combined a marvelous stroke of the fantastic that took this somewhere into the realm between magical realism and urban fantasy.   If I hadn't been hooked by her short stories, this novel would have made a dedicated fan of me by its conclusion.


The Bad Beginning, by Lemony Snickett.  I'd seen the movie, which from what I gather encompassed the first three novels.  My wife has read and enjoyed the whole series, and I decided to pick one up and give it a whirl.  There were some things about the book that impressed me.  A strong consistent voice, and a well defined tone.  Something that, to be honest you don't always see in adult literature, with the prevailing modern sensibility of just existing as more like a camera in a movie watching the story unfold.  Here we have a narrator, and that narrator is a character in the story.  Enjoyable, but I fear it may have been a bit spoiled by having seen the movie first.  As time permits, I will probably make my way through them all.

Driven to Distraction, by Edward M. Hallowell, MD and John J. Ratey, MD.  If you want to understand AD(H)D, this is a good book to start.    The authors themselves have this condition, and so they speak not only as Psychiatrists, but as people who inherently understand the issues and effects of the condition.  I'd heard Dr. Hallowell speak on NPR's the Parent's Journal and the way he discussed the topic made me want to read the book.  It's a subject you hear a lot about these days, and I think there's a lot of either disinformation or misinformation floating around.  It's good to get a point of view that covers it both from a clinical side, as well as a personal one, often relayed through the stories of many of Dr. Hallowell's patients.

The Metamorphoses and other Stories, by Franz Kafka.  Does it make me Emo if I like Kafka?  Does it help if I mention I was an English major?  Okay, fine.  I just like a good freaky story.  And Kafka does that, rather well.  From The Metamorphoses, to The Hunger Artist, to an array of other shorts.  A bit more than half I'd read before.  But the stories were entrancing anyway.  And in a way, this was the kick start that got my brain thinking in terms of short stories again.  Something I needed.  So thanks Franz.

That's a wrap on January.  Here's hoping February fares better.
 
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