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ellen
Posted on Thursday, April 22, 2004 - 08:25 pm:   

I know I've mentioned this elsewhere but possibly not in my own topic. But in the past week I've had an extremely annoying email correspondence with a couple of jerks through my scifi.com account. (where I cannot cut and paste a form reply as one of them suggested).


1.People who don't read the guidelines before submitting manuscripts to me and thus:
a) single space stories
b) submit stories under 2,000 words
c) do not include a self-addressed stamped envelope for reply.


I have in the past few months received:

a)self-addressed envelopes without a stamp
b)one self-addressed envelope meant to go to a foreign country with that country's stamp instead of a US stamp
c)no sase at all with the instructions that I can email the submittor with my reply
d)much abuse from two different submittors to whom I tried in vain to explain by email why I would not read their mss unless they sent me an sase as is required by our guidelines

which leads me to
2. People who want me to buy a story then argue with me over my guidelines


It's exhausting. Sorry.

end of mini-rant
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ellen
Posted on Thursday, April 22, 2004 - 08:26 pm:   

Oh yeah, and paper cuts.
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Chris Dodson
Posted on Thursday, April 22, 2004 - 09:24 pm:   

Be strong, Ellen! With Gardner and David Pringle stepping down, We Need You, now more than ever!! :-)
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ellen
Posted on Friday, April 23, 2004 - 06:44 am:   

Thanks Chris. I'm not going anywhere--at least not of my own free will. I love editing and am incapable of doing anything else anyway. :-)
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pesky
Posted on Friday, April 23, 2004 - 07:33 am:   

Ahhh-hem. You forgot about power shopping. Never underestimate one's ability to power shop. A skill you have been honing for many a year, and should definitely fit on the resume.
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ellen
Posted on Friday, April 23, 2004 - 08:00 am:   

Hiya pesky. Unfortunately, power-shopping cannot support me and the kitties in the style we have become accustomed to.

Hmmm. Unless, I could persuade someone to pay me to take them power shopping--but I prefer shopping for myself and my friends and family to shopping for strangers.
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Richard Parks
Posted on Friday, April 23, 2004 - 08:33 am:   

Oh, yes. Abusing and arguing with the editors. As career-limiting moves go, that one has to be close to the top.
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Friday, April 23, 2004 - 11:46 am:   

I've never understood getting upset with an editor over submission guidelines. The editor is, after all, the First Customer/Reader, and gatekeeper. Seems to me, agree or not, it is the writer's job to make sure that they follow the guidelines as best as they can.

One might quibble over other things, like changes, specific things an editor is looking for (there is one publication whose "guidance" as opposed to guidelines give me a bit of personal heartburn but they are not to do with structural format) and if one has a quibble, it seems the writer can take their stuff elsewhere.

Why aggravate an editor during the marketing process? Just doesn't seem very bright to me.

Personally, I don't know how anyone can do it. Look at the piles and piles of stuff that comes in, of varying grades from Excellent to Crap, day in and out. My hat is off to anyone who loves it, but it would never be my cup of tea.

Do you need some band aids, Ellen? I can send some.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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ellen
Posted on Friday, April 23, 2004 - 05:05 pm:   

Yeah. It doesn't seem logical, does it?

S.F. nah--I always keep plenty of bandaids around ;-)
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Saturday, April 24, 2004 - 07:10 pm:   

Well, Ellen, glad to hear you've got band aids.

As for aggravating people, I do that well enough on my own without fiddle farting around with editorial guidelines.

Tell me though, do you ever get any manuscripts written in crayon?

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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ellen
Posted on Saturday, April 24, 2004 - 07:17 pm:   

Nah, that's a myth (at least I've never gotten one that way.
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Patrick Samphire
Posted on Thursday, April 29, 2004 - 02:38 am:   

Ah, see, Ellen, if you accepted esubs, you wouldn't get paper cuts. (You'd get eye strain and more hassle from psychotic authors, but you wouldn't get paper cuts...)

:-)

Patrick
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ellen
Posted on Thursday, April 29, 2004 - 09:05 am:   

Well, as it happens our telnet accounts have been down for almost a week now so I'm not getting any lip from nutters coming in through the site --only the submission in the body of an email from someone who had my real email address and a screenplay by mail from someone who thinks I something to do with making movies!!!
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ellen
Posted on Thursday, April 29, 2004 - 09:18 pm:   

All right my lovelies! Here's another problem I've seen with increasing frequency:
return envelopes addressed to ME rather than the submittor--this happened twice in a week. Be careful when preparing your mss for submission. I get tired of having to re-stamp something out of my own pocket when the mailman returns the rejection letter to me.
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Chris Dodson
Posted on Thursday, April 29, 2004 - 09:55 pm:   

That reminds me -- do you ever get any of those "I reject your rejection" letters? Back when I was 15 or so I sent one of those to Scott Edelman at SF AGE. Because I was young and stupid at the time, I thought it was uproariously funny, but four or five years later I saw Gardner say on the Asimov's board that he gets two or three of those a month.
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ellen
Posted on Thursday, April 29, 2004 - 10:31 pm:   

Not every often, luckily.
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Stacey Cochran
Posted on Friday, April 30, 2004 - 10:20 am:   

I just want to know how to get a manuscript past your first readers and into your hands. Aside from all the basics, that is.

Frustrated because I'm going to be homeless for the second time in six years come the end of May,

Stacey

PS we love you, though, Ellen; it's why we're all here
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Mark
Posted on Friday, April 30, 2004 - 11:22 am:   

Oh dear. I've had this imp on my shoulder for the past nine weeks nattering into my ear that I screwed up my submission. I know for a fact the IRC got in there, but now I can't remember if I put the right address on my return envelope...

I hope it's not my ineptitude that's causing you the grief, especially if you'd have to fork over postage yourself to send it back to Canada. Eurgh.

Damn this imp.
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JV
Posted on Friday, April 30, 2004 - 11:58 am:   

Here's a question. If I were to have a singing telegram company bring my submission to your door and sing the opening paragraphs and then deliver it to you on bended knee with an SASE, would that be irritating or refreshing?

Jeff
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John Klima
Posted on Friday, April 30, 2004 - 12:01 pm:   

I'd prefer it was a pizza delivery person with the opening line spelled out in toppings. The singing guy would just bug me. But Ellen is into theater....

JK
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ellen
Posted on Sunday, May 02, 2004 - 01:03 pm:   

Hi everyone. Just back from New Paltz, where I attended a very interesting (and small) fantasy conference run by John Langan.

Stacey,
Even if I don't read your work personally and if I recall correctly, I did read your most recent story submission myself) my first reader is Kelly Link and I trust her taste. Thanks for the support!

Mark, is your last name "Hand"? If so, Kelly just passed it back to me to put a stamp on the envelope (sorry).

Well Jeff, I've never received a singing telegram so that would be cool. However, you're taking chances finding me at home--I'm in and out all day--but really, I think I'd prefer you singing to me on bended knee by my door.

Pizza's good too. I do like anchovies. :-)
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Mark
Posted on Sunday, May 02, 2004 - 02:13 pm:   

Hi Ellen. Yep, that's the last name (no relation to Elizabeth, by the way).

Sorry to hear that my poor little story didn't make Kelly swoon, but hopefully it wasn't also something she shredded in a boiling fury before hurling it back, swearing about how she could've better spent the time trepanning herself with a jagged rock than reading it.

I'll admit now that it's the first story I've ever sent out to a real magazine, which ought to explain my amateur angst over screwing up the process.

Incidentally, I'm looking forward to starting my collection with your rejection, since (cough, cough) you're also the first market I sent it to. I figured why not start at the top and work down, you know?

And no apology is necessary, it's just good to know the status so I can print off a new copy and send it to someone else tomorrow. :-)
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ellen
Posted on Sunday, May 02, 2004 - 08:56 pm:   

Mark, now you've got to send me another story.
I almost asked if you're related to Liz but figured you'd say so if you are.
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Mkingsley
Posted on Monday, May 03, 2004 - 10:16 am:   

Your original message brings up something I've always been a little unclear on, and would appreciate some input.

I'm been planning on making a letter of inquiry to a Canadian address for a potential media guest at a local convention, and normally, I always include a SASE. Naturally, US stamps sent to a Canadian address aren't gonna do the trick. Would a request to reply by e-mail be acceptable in this case?
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ellen
Posted on Monday, May 03, 2004 - 12:44 pm:   

Michael, if you mean you're inviting someone as a guest then yes, certaqinly ask for a reply by email --although you should make sure that person has an email address first, if you can. In fact, you may want to check his/her website and possibly contact him/her that way (if it's run by the guest). If it's a fan run site you could still ask if the person is on email and the fans might know.

Or am I completely misunderstanding your question?
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jack skillingstead
Posted on Tuesday, May 04, 2004 - 02:49 am:   

"Here's another problem I've seen with increasing frequency:
return envelopes addressed to ME rather than the submittor..."

Ellen, I see I was one of the perps in this regard. Embarrassing. I apologize.
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ellen
Posted on Tuesday, May 04, 2004 - 09:22 am:   

Hi Jack,
Hey, it happens. I bet you'll never do it againg though :-)
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jack skillingstead
Posted on Tuesday, May 04, 2004 - 01:03 pm:   

It's the stupid computer's fault! Honest. And I'll definitely never do it again. To SCIFICTION, anyway, ha ha.
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Mkingsley
Posted on Tuesday, May 04, 2004 - 02:10 pm:   

Thank you Ellen, and yes, you did understand my question correctly. I'm actually sending it to a production company. Google searches have only come up with a Canadian postal address. There are several fansites I've found, but they all indicate contacting the production company or network is the way to go.
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Tempest
Posted on Saturday, May 08, 2004 - 09:40 pm:   

Ellen,

Don't know if this belongs in this topic but I thought I would give it a try. Sometime in the last few months you mentioned here or on the CW boards that you tend not to like far future stories because--and this is just me paraphrasing what I remember--you don't think people in the far future would be recognizable by people in the present. Is that the gist of what you said? Or did I get that completely wrong? Either way, would you mind expanding on that a little?
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ellen
Posted on Sunday, May 09, 2004 - 08:49 am:   

Hi Tempest,
I did say it somewhere, I don't recall where.

Aside from the suspicion that we humans will blow up or otherwise destroy our world within the next hundred or so years (so call me a cynic ;-)), if we do make it more than 100 years into the future, we will only do it by evolving into people whose emotions/behavior, etc we wouldn't recognize. Which doesn't mean a convincing story can't be written--it can be but it's more difficult than many writers can handle.

Too many novice writers use a made up slang that isn't any easier to use than the original expression in order to create a "futuristic" feel to the language.

It's a lot more difficult to create believable far futures (and aliens for that matter) that are both comprehensible to a reader and convincing in their extrapolation.

Does that help?
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Sunday, May 09, 2004 - 10:31 am:   

Ellen,

Over at the Asimov's Forum, we've been kicking around various SF cliched plots that have been over used. Are there certain types of plots and/or stories that you are tired of/can't stand?

Besides stories submitted in crayon, that is. :-)

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Tempest
Posted on Sunday, May 09, 2004 - 11:17 am:   

Ellen,

yes, it does. Thanks! The memory was nagging at me in relation to another discussion I have going on.
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ellen
Posted on Sunday, May 09, 2004 - 01:39 pm:   

Steven,
There are types of stories I'm tired of but every cliche can be made fresh by the right writer and right style.

However, I am tired of ghost stories, stories about dead or dying people, alternative histories, famous people stories. Those you may read on SCIFICTION are--in my opinion-- the very best of that kind of story I receive (or I wouldn't buy them).
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Sunday, May 09, 2004 - 05:42 pm:   

Alternate histories, good ones, I think are some of the hardest stories to write. It is so easy to find a chink in the armor, so to speak. I find myself going over such stories with a fine tooth comb, especially if the story is based on American or British History.

What are your thoughts on military science fiction? I've often thought that the standard military SF was rather unsatisfying. They often seem to be either video game shoot 'em ups or tactical procedurals.

I want to write military SF, however I find myself struggling not only with the issues above, but my own conflicted feelings about my own military service as well. I think there are plenty of stories to tell, yet I sometimes wonder if the short story market is amenable to military SF.

At any rate, I find I try to avoid writing in that field unless the Muse is really hammering at me on a particular idea.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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ellen
Posted on Sunday, May 09, 2004 - 07:33 pm:   

I'm not sure what you mean about military sf. Would you count R&R and A Walk in the Garden by Lucius Shepard military sf? It's about grunts in the middle of a war. If so, then, I have no problem with it if I like it. If not, then tell me more about what you mean.
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Sunday, May 09, 2004 - 08:30 pm:   

In fairness to Lucius Shepard, I've not read his two novels you've cited. I should, but I've not done it yet. From the reviews I've seen, I'd say they definitely qualify as military SF.

Your answer is fair enough, Ellen. I'd just hate to waste an editor's time with something they can't stand.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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ellen
Posted on Sunday, May 09, 2004 - 10:28 pm:   

Steven,
R&R is a novella. "A Walk in the Garden" is a novelette on SCIFICTION--in our archives.

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Bob Urell
Posted on Sunday, May 09, 2004 - 11:17 pm:   

Never one to pass up the opportunity to pimp Lucius, A Walk in the Garden.
By the way, you've had a particularly nice run lately, Ellen. Thanks for the diversions....
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Monday, May 10, 2004 - 07:04 am:   

Thanks. I'll have to give A Walk in the Garden a look.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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ellen
Posted on Monday, May 10, 2004 - 09:17 am:   

Glad you've been enjoying them Bob <g>.
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Moi
Posted on Monday, May 10, 2004 - 12:41 pm:   

Ellen,

I am the author you had a tiff over concerning, "no sase at all with the instructions that I can email the submittor with my reply." You failed to mention in your mini rant above that you got huffy and chrulish in responding "I don't see why I should have to explain why an SASE is required." Well those are your rules and that is fine. I just find it odd that you work at a "science (emphasis on science; forward thinking, advanced) fiction" publication that you can't give someone the thumbs up or down via email. I have dealt with top literary agents and pbulishers who have no problem what so ever replying via email.

It actually takes less time to say, "Sorry, not for me" this way than typing out a letter or folding a pat response. It strikes me as extremely sad that you have so---o much time to spend here (completely non-job related) but can't take the time to respond to a writer via email.

You must truly be a bitter, lonely and unhappy woman but with a little power over others and a house cat you probably think you're living the good life...
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Christopher Rowe
Posted on Monday, May 10, 2004 - 01:10 pm:   

Yo, jackass. I've got a pretty good idea why you don't give the names of these "top literary agents and pbulishers [sic]" who have the time to stroke your ego, but if you're going to come in here throwing shoulder and spewing word-vomit then at least have the stones to leave your name.
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ellen
Posted on Monday, May 10, 2004 - 01:12 pm:   

Moi. Gee, cute nickname. So which one are you? C'mon. At least be upfront enough to use your own name if you're going to be insulting.

Did I say the below?
"I don't see why I should have to explain why an SASE is required."

It doesn't sound like something I'd say. But reading the guidelines is the first step in being a professional and I don't care if you've dealt with top literary agents and publishers. Good for you. If I buy a story from you or have some other professional dealings with you I'd be happy to email you. But I want people like you to stay out of my email box thank you.

>>>You must truly be a bitter, lonely and unhappy woman but with a little power over others and a house cat you probably think you're living the good life...>>>

Wow! You really know how to stick it to someone don't you? I'm sooooo wounded. I guess you really don't want to be published, do you? I'll bet I'm a LOT happier than you are, sucker!



???
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ellen
Posted on Monday, May 10, 2004 - 01:14 pm:   

Hi Christopher,
You beat me to the punch (because my post was longer than yours :-) )
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Moi
Posted on Monday, May 10, 2004 - 01:23 pm:   

Yes Ellen, you did say that. Add it to the perchant you have for being rude. Call it "selective memory"

Let me remind you, I didn't start the name calling but if you'd like to continue (you know how to get in touch with me) lets leave this public forum and just you and I meet. Say at the Starbucks near your office. I'd love to see if you have the same dose of moxi in your split ends in person.
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Bob Urell
Posted on Monday, May 10, 2004 - 01:28 pm:   

Not that I WANT to feed the troll, mind you, but...really now.
I have dealt with top literary agents and pbulishers who have no problem what so ever replying via email.

Yeah. Sure you have.
It strikes me as extremely sad that you have so---o much time to spend here (completely non-job related)

Just taking a stab, but have you, perchance, happened to look at the roster of regular posters hereabouts? If you don't recognize any names, you really have some reading to do.
You must truly be a bitter, lonely and unhappy woman but with a little power over others and a house cat you probably think you're living the good life...

Honestly, have you actually met Ellen? Of course you haven't, you're just another bitter little boy playing dress-up in Hemingway's clothing. You can't fill the shoes, stud, not to mention the fact that you're the kind who masturbates to hate mail and you're too stupid to read script guidelines. With that kind of cerebral paucity propelling you along, you're bound to get a contract writing smurf/Dr Who slash fiction the minute you figure out how to unchain yourself from your leather daddy's fuck machine. Though you might want to put on something other than that latex chastity belt and matching ball gag before you deal with any more top literary agents and publishers, doncha think?
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Christopher Rowe
Posted on Monday, May 10, 2004 - 01:32 pm:   

What, are you going to challenge her to mocha lattes at sixty paces? You've got a "perchant" for the histrionic in addition to being stupid as a box of rocks, don't you? Anyway, sounds vaguely threatening to me, Ellen, so maybe you should get Sci Fi's lawyers to slap a restraining order on this mongoloid's furry ass in addition to shouting its name to the four winds.
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ellen
Posted on Monday, May 10, 2004 - 01:35 pm:   

Nah. I have the power to delete if he gets really obnoxious :-)

Running off to have some fun.
Later.

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Alex Irvine
Posted on Monday, May 10, 2004 - 02:20 pm:   

Fact is, Ellen shouldn't have to explain why an SASE is required. Those are the guidelines; if you want to send her fiction and have her read it, follow them. Simple. We'd all love to save ourselves 37 cents, but working yourself up into a self-righteous frenzy over something like this won't endear you to Ellen or any other top literary agents and publishers.

Dang. There I go feeding the trolls again.
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chance
Posted on Monday, May 10, 2004 - 02:21 pm:   

So Moi, assuming that Ellen did respond as you say she did, where exactly was the rudeness?

If I were to drop by Tor with my fabulous novel and ask Patrick N-H to read it immediately, he would be well within his rights to show me the door, forcibly if necessary. And he would be under no obligation to explain his decision to me. It's not rudeness, merely a business decision that you did not like (and given your conduct, I'd guess a wise one).

Ellen runs her slush the way she chooses and doesn't owe anyone an explanation of why she does things the way she does. (I can think of a bunch of obvious reasons why paper replies are preferable - the top one for me would not being chained to a computer.)

The funniest part is that she is always very gracious about answering questions from us newbie writer types, and if you had simply asked in her "Ask the Editor" topic in this forum, she probably would have told you why she prefers paper responses. (In fact she has answered this question, at least in part elsewhere in this forum. http://www.nightshadebooks.com/cgi-bin/discus/show.cgi?tpc=378&post=27116#POST27 116)

You, on the other hand were rude - by presuming to direct her on how she runs her business, questioning her refusal to change her guidelines to accommodate you, publically insulting her, and well, generally being a jackass. (Yeah, I know you can't help yourself since nature has given you such limited tools to work with, but really, you might *try* to rise above that.)

Personally, I like to get my rejections once a day - acceptances I'll take anytime.
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Tempest
Posted on Monday, May 10, 2004 - 06:34 pm:   

What is it with writer types who seem to think that, because an editor does not want to do things exactly as the writer type would have them done, the editor is evil and rude and unreasonable? And why is it every time this comes up there is someone saying "well, you edit a science fiction magazine so you should be using email!" I edit a magazine for weird fiction and I don't reply by sending Cthulhu to your door.

Is this an entitlement gnome thing? Why should an editor work to make YOU happy, Moi, when you have not done the very simple tasks that make an editor happy? Especially editors who are not making unreasonable demands. It's not that hard to include a SASE. Who cares if you want it in an email? You have shown no courtesy or tact, thus you deserve none in return.

If you were applying for a job and the listing said "Include a cover letter with your resume" would you just not include a cover letter? And, if you did not, would you expect to be interviewed for said job? Would you go to the company and call the HR director rude and chrulish [sic] and huffy for not even considering an individual who failed to follow clear, simple directions?

Good luck with that.

And hey, if you're still confused as to why you're getting the response you are, I will send an elder god to your door to explain the finer points.
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ellen
Posted on Monday, May 10, 2004 - 08:10 pm:   

Thank you all (guys and gals) for defending my honor.



I love ya all and I DO not HAVE split ends. Fuzzy hair but not split. (sniff)
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Tribeless
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 01:50 am:   

How did you do that eye/face thing?
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Patrick Samphire
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 03:03 am:   

My, what a lot of excitement. Yeah, nobody wants to have to use a stamp. Try living abroad and having to get hold of American stamps to put on your envelopes. It's a hassle. But it's pretty much standard practice, with magazine publishers, agents, and book publishers. You send off your story or your query. You put in your SASE. If you make a sale, you might get an email. If you don't, you get your envelope back. It's easy, clean, and efficient. Whereas emails just aren't.

Ellen was pretty kind to send you any kind of reply. Most editors wouldn't have bothered replying to you at all.

Truth is, no editor is under any obligation to read your manuscript. Their only obligation is to put together a great magazine. Ellen does both, and you should be grateful, not juvenile about it.
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 06:58 am:   

Seems to me, if the editor is the one with the checkbook, it behooves the writer to try and meet the editor's requirements.

Whether they like them or not.

Besides, the writer always has the option of not submitting to a particular editor if they really have some heartburn with them.

But why waste time getting pissy with one? One may as well go have an argument with Lucius if all you want to do is beat your head against a brickwall.

BTW, speaking of Lucius, I did look at his story and yes, it looks like military SF to me.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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ellen
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 08:03 am:   

Tribeless, do you mean the photo of me as an alien?

JK Potter did it with photo manipulation, although these days you can get weird contacts that you can actually see through--Greg Frost had them at the last World Fantasy Convention. So the thing is...how much money do I really want to spend for a joke? How often would I really wear them? Probably not too. :-)
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ellen
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 08:04 am:   

Steven, glad you checked it out and that it does fit the parameters of military sf--I really wasn't sure.

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ellen
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 08:10 am:   

By the way, the correspondence with Moi probably went something like this:

I get ms with no sase but there is an email address on it (or very rarely, only a phone # and if I'm in a really good mood I might actually phone the person).

I email and say my standard, "sorry but we can't read submissions without sase. If you want the story read please send one or we will toss it."

He gets on his high horse and says but "why? you're responding to me by email now? Surely you can reject my story the same way."

I say, no that's not the way we do it. Read the guidelines. (forcing myself, at least at first from responding: "This, bozo, is why I don't email rejections. I don't want to get into arguments with submittors about proper ms submission or the quality of their submissions).
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Patrick Samphire
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 08:35 am:   

Ellen, you're over-generous in responding at all. I don't know if it works the same way over there, but here, you could just stick the reply in an envelope and the guy would have to pay the postage when it arrived (plus a hefty fee). That's happened to me before when I've put insufficient return postage on an envelope.
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 08:47 am:   

Ellen, I don't know that there is a really set in stone military SF genre standard. Lucius' story definitely isn't a video game shoot 'em up. While I have a different take on the military than Lucius does, I think some of the stuff I do probably falls into the same football stadium.

The discussion we had over at Asimov's seemed to suggest that people who read hard core military SF (David Drake and the like) probably aren't reading any of the other SF or fantasy styles out there. Meaning that even though writers like Al Reynolds, Charlie Stross, or Nancy Kress have written on military themes, those hardcore types aren't going to be interested.

I guess the best thing for my stuff is just to slap them into envelopes and see what happens. Thanks.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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ellen
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 10:27 am:   

Patrick,
Hmm. I have no idea if that would work. If I didn't put a return address on it maybe it WOULD get to where it's going but OTOH more likely the post office would throw it into the dead letter bin (if there is such a thing any more :-) )
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Joe T.
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 11:20 am:   

Ellen,

I think tribeless meant how did you make that smiley face thing in your post. It's quite unusual.
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Tribeless
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 01:27 pm:   

Yes,that's the one! I haven't seen anyone do one of those.

Not earth shattering stuff, I know :-)
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Mark Hand
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 01:50 pm:   

Tempest just made my day.

I think I'd rather like to see Cthulhu showing up at my door. I'm sure I have some truly awful weird stories lying around that are guaranteed to merit rejection; some are so bad they might even deserve to have a tentacular monstrosity sent to do the deed.
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ellen
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 02:11 pm:   

Tribeless. Go to "formatting" above. THen scroll down to
Images, Attachments, and Clipart
and click on the link on Clipart and pick one. Then copy the coding, back track to your post and paste.
Voila!
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Tempest
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 03:03 pm:   

I once accidentally sent a SASE without the stamp (which makes it a SAE, much neater) to F&SF. I used to have them sent to my office with the return address being my home, just in case. but the envelope came to my office and no one asked me for postage due or anything. it wasn't until the next day that I noticed the lack of stamp at all since it came where it was supposed to.

I have come across a very few stories that deserve a personal rejection/appearance from Cthulhu. Oddly enough, they are usually bad Lovecraft rip-offs...
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Mark Hand
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 06:33 pm:   

I was about to say, "you mean there are good Lovecraft rip-offs?" but then I remembered 'A Colder War' by Charlie Stross, which makes Lovecraft himself seem like a bad Lovecraft rip-off.

Well okay, maybe not quite, but honestly: any story that has a congressman saying, "So you're saying we've got a, a Shoggoth gap?" will forever have a place in my heart.
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Adam-Troy
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 08:14 pm:   

Ellen:

Nicely asked, no heat: is there a reason you frown on disposable manuscripts, with e-mail reply requested?

Signed, one who was about to send you one.
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ellen
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 09:59 pm:   

Yes. Because I don't want to correspond via email. It makes it too easy for the writer to respond. I don't want to get into thousands of extra conversations over submissions.
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ellen
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 10:46 pm:   

Now read this: (name deleted and shown by ****)


I'm terribly sorry! Thanks for letting me know -- I'll get it in the mail for you asap. Thanks.

*****

>From: Ellen Datlow <
>To: *****
>Subject: sase
>Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 14:10:22 -0700 (PDT)
>
>Dear Mr. ****,
>I'm afraid there was no sase in the envelope with your submission. Please send one to the same address that you sent the story.
>Thanks
>Sincerely


I was so grateful that the guy didn't give me a hard time that I want to meet and hug him!
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Tempest
Posted on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 07:24 am:   

Mark,

Every now and then I run across a Lovecraftian story that doesn't make me want to wring a neck. Many of them are published in anthologies, tho ;) There was that one antho... Call of Cthulhu? ...recently. had Mieville's Details in it. It also had another excellent novella by Meredith Patterson that I liked. the title escapes me and I'm too lazy to Google.

And, I must say, last year's Clarion West class wrote some good Lovecrafty stories. Including one that we termed "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner -- with Cthulhu!"

I'll have to read the Stross one, tho.
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steve redwood
Posted on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 07:26 am:   

Hmmm ... I'm going to send Ellen a submission without an SASE, and then when I get the reminder, flagellate myself with expressions of regret...
So, what's wrong with wanting a hug?
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Pat Lundrigan
Posted on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 10:43 am:   

Ellen,
you might want to set up a hotmail or yahoo account for emails you never expect to reply to.
Just don't bother reading the inbox.

I use yahoo mail for dealing with mailing lists, internet transactions, and such, and keep my ISP email for friends and buisness.

I also have an account for my laptop, one at work, and a few spares . . . oh, never mind, it's getting too complicated.
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Ellen
Posted on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 11:41 am:   

Steve.
If you're ever at a convention with me, ask for a hug from me (just remind me why) and you'll get it <g>

Pat,
That's what the account through the SCIFI.COM website is for. Unfortunately, it's been down for a month now. I'm supposed to get a new account to access stuff from the website today (I'm in the office and brought my laptop with me). I don't know though, if I'll get the old mail from the last month. It's usually about 99% spam.

Besides, I don't feel I can just ignore people. It doesn't feel right.
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ellen
Posted on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 09:25 pm:   

Hooray, I can access my website's mail again. Only about five real messages out of 141 but still...

And now if I really want to I can go back and track "moi" --I think I know who he is. But frankly, who cares? I don't.
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chance
Posted on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 03:40 am:   

Some charmer sent me an email with the message "Your writing is awful" and a virus attached the day after he posted. (Which may be an amazing coincidence, but my money was on if being him.)

Alas, I would have hung on to it if I'd thought there would be a way to verify if it was him or not.
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 08:43 am:   

You know what I hate? There's this one writer who keeps sending in stories with no SASEs, and I've asked him repeatedly (at least four times now) to send an SASE with his submissions. Bad enough that he's ignoring our posted writer's guidelines (it's conceivable he's never bothered to look at them), but he's also just flat-out ignoring *me*.

But that doesn't really surprise me, as it seems like a lot of writers just ignore whatever advice I offer in rejection letters, including those who refuse to format a manuscript properly, despite all my efforts to educate them.
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ellen
Posted on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 08:48 am:   

Now, that I think is actionable (the deliberate sending of a virus) I think...
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Patrick Samphire
Posted on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 08:54 am:   

JJA, you need to ignore him/her, I think. I guess he figures that you'll reply anyway, so why should he bother. Still, stupidity on the part of such authors cuts down the competition for the rest of us.
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chance
Posted on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 09:16 am:   

I do wonder why someone wants to deliberately annoy the person who is going to read their manuscript. Not that you have to suck up, but man, why piss them off right out of the gate? (They say writers are insane, but I'm not *that* insane.)

I'm with Patrick, John -- you gave him plenty of warnings. I'd toss his manuscript on the lowest dustiest shelf and wait for him to query.

Re: virus. Yeah, I bet it is, Ellen. If I'd thought I could get a positive id on the guy by comparing the headers with an email clearly from him, I'd have at least gotten him dumped by his ISP.
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ellen
Posted on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 09:18 am:   

John, I assume you never read those submissions. If you haven't already, let him know (once) that all his submissions go unread into the trash.
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Celia
Posted on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 10:00 am:   

I've forgotten a SASE twice so far, for two different markets. The first time, I caught it (mailed the packet, moved a stack of papers on my desk, found the SASE), whereupon I wrote Ellen a note that I was sending the SASE out right away. The second time, I just blanked out and completely forgot about including one. Luckily for me, the market sent it back anyways. I'm condsidering being nice and putting an extra stamp in my next sub, but I suspect I'll forget by then.
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JV
Posted on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 10:21 am:   

The first time I dipped my toe into the world of submitting to magazines, it was to request guidelines. I was 14 or 15. I sent an SASE for said guidelines...and received back a form rejection letter. Clearly, an error had been made, but somehow it seemed an ominous portent...

JeffV
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Tempest
Posted on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 01:04 pm:   

Oh god, Jeff.. that's.... oh my.

JJA - do you find that it ever helps to inform submitters of the big mistakes they are making? Or is that guy you mentioned just an exception?
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Samantha Henderson
Posted on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 09:36 pm:   

Tempest! If I ever get a story in Fortean Bureau again, will you send Cthulu? Or maybe a Deep One instead -- they're so cute!
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Eric Marin
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 07:56 pm:   

I've heard of writers tearing into editors for bizarre reasons, but actually witnessing it in this forum of all places has been a surreal experience.

Ellen, I'm very impressed with your handling of this sad individual.

Oh, and if this strange person becomes physically threatening and he or she happens to reside in Texas, I'll be happy to suggest legal avenues you might pursue against him or her. (I'm not licensed to practice law in New York, just Texas.)
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ellen
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 09:09 pm:   

Eric,
Thanks for your kind words and your offer of aid. It seems to have subsided for the time being :-)
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Eric Marin
Posted on Monday, May 17, 2004 - 12:50 am:   

You're quite welcome, Ellen. If the problem arises again, my offer stands.
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Alex
Posted on Monday, May 17, 2004 - 12:05 pm:   

Heck, in Texas you could just shoot the guy, right?
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ellen
Posted on Monday, May 17, 2004 - 01:13 pm:   

Hmmm.
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Elizabeth
Posted on Sunday, May 23, 2004 - 01:03 am:   

When I submitted my first story to F&SF I neglected to use international reply coupons and instead, used Canadian stamps. Doh. GVG was kind enough to send me a rejection letter detailing that I should buy international reply coupons for the SASE instead of Canadian stamps. Imagine my double horror. When I read the guidelines, I had no idea what the heck a SASE was. Everyone used SASE but no website actually defined what it was. I finally figured it out, but lost it when it came to using proper postage.

Thanks, Ellen, for taking the time to answer our questions. I am learning so much just reading here.

I did want to re-ask a question that wasn't answered before: Do you prefer stories that feature "hard sciences" such as physics, chemistry, astronomy to "softer sciences" such as biology, and *cough* political science, psychology, etc.? I studied both and my writing combines both.
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Ellen
Posted on Sunday, May 23, 2004 - 08:55 am:   

Elizabeth, I hadn't thought that people wouldn't know what an sase is. Maybe I should spell it out in the guidelines. Let me think about that

I'm open to all the kinds of science in the stories I publish. If you've read through our archives you'll see that, I think. I haven't published much in the hard sciences and would love some well-written, character driven hard sf stories. (as would every other sf editor I know).
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Elizabeth
Posted on Sunday, May 23, 2004 - 01:40 pm:   

I just read a sf short story at *another* magazine that combined very metaphorical writing with really hard-core explanations of the physics of the piece. I personally found it jarring to read such (almost overly) lyrical prose juxtaposed to passages of infodump filled with downright hard quantum physics. It felt as if someone crammed together something by a poet and a quantum mechanics text and that the author was trying to prove s/he knew what s/he was talking about. I actually could have done without the detailed proof or justification -- I found the human story compelling enough and while I love reading hard science, I skipped over the sections with the exposition.

I wonder what your feeling is, Ellen, on the need for an author to justify the science in a sf piece. Is character and storyline more/as/less important than the believablility of the science? As a hopeful author of several hard science fiction pieces I'd like to publish, do I have to prove to the reader that I undertand string theory if my story touches on some element of it? I feel as though a few deft touches of science are far more important than a long exegesis on it in the middle of the action, but then, I'm not an editor. ;-) Yet.
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ellen
Posted on Sunday, May 23, 2004 - 03:02 pm:   

Your remark below encapsulates how I feel about story writing. I may ask for some more clarification of the science if I don't understand some of the terminology but I'll always ask the writer to go easy. eg. An earlier version of Christopher Rowe's "The Voluntary State" had some scientific references I wanted slightly expanded upon.

>>>I feel as though a few deft touches of science are far more important than a long exegesis on it in the middle of the action,
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Elizabeth
Posted on Wednesday, May 26, 2004 - 07:20 am:   

Hi, Ellen:

Another question for us newbies: how many unpublished writers have you bought stories from in the past year and what is the size of your slush pile in an average month? I looked around your board but couldn't find an answer so sorry if you've already answered this. I've read the stats from the Fantasy and Science Fiction message board and just wondered what my chances were at SCIFI.COM. I know - slim to none, but you can't win if you don't try!
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Patrick Samphire
Posted on Wednesday, May 26, 2004 - 08:15 am:   

There's a standard answer to the question of "chances": if your story is bad, your chance is close to zero anywhere; if it is brilliant, your chances are far nearer to 100% anywhere (within the assumption that you're reasonably close to the guidelines). Otherwise, the "chances" vary according to the quality of your writing and the editor's taste. The number of submissions is fairly irrelevant compared to that.

I suppose I should let Ellen answer the question though. ;p
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Ellen
Posted on Wednesday, May 26, 2004 - 09:26 am:   

I've rarely bought stories from upublished writers (although I have bought three in the past year or so) but I often buy the second or third story from writers.

But as Patrick says you have as much chance as anyone else--it's all in the writing.

My slush pile is about two feet high every given month -I know because it's picked up once a month by Kelly Link and that's about how high it is--how many mss that is, I'm not sure.
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Elizabeth
Posted on Wednesday, May 26, 2004 - 12:17 pm:   

Thanks, Ellen, for responding. Another question along the same lines.

I wonder if you consider purchasing stories for SCIFI.COM to be more of a "separating the wheat from the chaff" process or selecting stories primarily on the basis that they will please your readership? Are there so few really well-written stories out there that very few are worthy of purchasing, or is it more an issue of picking stories that you know will please readers?

I'm asking this as a person interested in editing rather than as a writer.
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Ellen
Posted on Wednesday, May 26, 2004 - 08:45 pm:   

I was going to say "I don't care about pleasing the readers" but that sounds a bit harsh. I buy the stories I buy because I love them and can only hope that the readers enjoy my taste--which has changed over the years--and that they (the readers) will come along for the ride.
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Elizabeth
Posted on Thursday, May 27, 2004 - 11:33 am:   

Thanks again, Ellen. I was reading some comments by MZB on why stories get rejected. I wondered if she spoke for all/most/few editors or only herself when she said that editors choose stories not because they are necessarily "good" but because they will give the reader a particular "reading experience".
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Ellen
Posted on Friday, May 28, 2004 - 11:20 am:   

Arghh. I hit the wrong button.
I choose stories that I enjoy reading. If I enjoy reading something I hope that my readers will enjoy it as well. I don't analyse my choices more than that.
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Matthew
Posted on Friday, May 28, 2004 - 11:47 am:   

I haven't read her books, but I remember hearing that the magazine that had her name on it was known for having stories that quite cliched. Granted that's just what I've heard.
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Elizabeth
Posted on Friday, May 28, 2004 - 04:23 pm:   

Matthew: I think her response was to a writer asking about why his/her story was rejected. I wonder if she wasn't trying to assuage the writer's ego by stating that his/her story wasn't rejected because it was necessarily "bad" but because it didn't have what she wanted for her readers, which was what she called a "certain reading experience". In other words, it didn't necessarily stink, just wasn't what I needed for my magazine.
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Matthew
Posted on Friday, May 28, 2004 - 05:10 pm:   

Yeah, that makes some sense.
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ellen
Posted on Thursday, June 03, 2004 - 10:03 pm:   

Sorry, I'm getting cranky again. <i>If you include a cover letter, it should have your name, address, phone #, and email address on it, along with the title of your story.
Thanks.
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Tempest
Posted on Saturday, June 05, 2004 - 06:21 am:   

I'm beginning to think we need to have some sort of intervention for people who submit to magazines.
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ET
Posted on Sunday, June 06, 2004 - 05:12 am:   

> I wonder if she wasn't trying to assuage the writer's ego

From what I've heard of MZB's rejections, I don't think she'd have cared about assuaging a writer's ego.


Ellen, as for the original post, and the "under 2000 words" issue, would I have to pad a 1700 word story to 2000 words so that it fits the guidelines? I recently asked Dave Gross, editor of (the new) Amazing Stories about stories under 2000 words (he has a similar limit), and he said that he's likely to overlook that if he likes the story (which implies it's not an automatic rejection), but I guess it's a firmer limit for you?

[I'm just wondering about that. It's not something concrete right now, but it might come to that -- some of my stories are at the short end of the spectrum.]
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ellen
Posted on Sunday, June 06, 2004 - 09:18 am:   

ET, Padding is NOT the answer to fit an editor's guidelines. THe reason I say I don't want stories under 2,000 words is that I don't usually find them meaty enough for me to want to take up the one slot I have a week to publish it. I'd rather have a story from you that is longer because it must be longer. In other words, to paraphrase what John Adams said in the F&SF topic the story should be the length it needs to be. Aside from the series of short-shorts I commissions from Michael Swanwick, I've published one story shorter than 2,000 words on SCIFICTION. It was by Jim Morrow.

But generally, it's an automatic rejection. Sorry.
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ET
Posted on Monday, June 07, 2004 - 07:10 am:   

I was just kidding on the padding. Well, maybe. Haven't actually tried padding a story, but in my experience the length can vary a lot between revisions, and if someone comments about something I feel is right, I might end up adding quite a bit to a story. So I can always just wait for the story to grow to 2000 words. :-)
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Marguerite
Posted on Saturday, June 12, 2004 - 07:51 pm:   

"Sorry to hear that my poor little story didn't make Kelly swoon, but hopefully it wasn't also something she shredded in a boiling fury before hurling it back, swearing about how she could've better spent the time trepanning herself with a jagged rock than reading it."

Mark, that made me laugh out loud. I may use it in polite conversation at work. Or when I discuss movies. ;)

--Marguerite

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Marguerite
Posted on Monday, June 14, 2004 - 03:29 am:   

Hey, Adam-Troy, you got an eats, shoots, and leaves question up there, about the disposable manuscripts. You mean, Ms. Datlow doesn't want "disposable manuscripts with email reply requested" not "disposable manuscripts, with e-mail reply requested."

:D
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ellen
Posted on Monday, June 14, 2004 - 09:17 am:   

And to clarify because some people obviously don't understand. I'm delighted to get disposable mss but there still must be an sase for reply only.
Marguerite, thanks for bringing this up again as it came up in an email to my corp. address.
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Marguerite
Posted on Monday, June 14, 2004 - 05:45 pm:   

Oh, Ms. Datlow, that would be me. I wanted to bring up any moronity I possessed in a private arena. ;)
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ellen
Posted on Monday, June 14, 2004 - 07:36 pm:   

Oops. Sorry Marguerite--so it was :-) Well, it doesn't hurt to reiterate here.
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David Marshall
Posted on Friday, June 18, 2004 - 06:29 pm:   

For my first (and so far only) story submission, I very carefully read the guidelines...and very carefully misunderstood them.

Because I misunderstood, I did not send a SASE.

A little bit more research on a few other magazine websites, and I realised that I had screwed up.

So I sent a SASE and an apology.

I promise to get it right next time.

(I just have to spend a bit less time on the internet, and a bit more time beating a couple of other stories into submission) :-)
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David Marshall
Posted on Saturday, June 26, 2004 - 04:11 am:   

Oh, and on the subject of authors demanding an email reply because you are the editor of a science fiction magazine, may I suggest a response along these lines:

Dear Author,
I'm afraid that I must inform you that email is not science fiction. It is science fact. Has been for years. Please do try to keep up with these technical advances.
If you wish to receive a science fiction-type reply, I will sent it promptly...

...via Star Trek-style transporter.
Did you receive your reply yet? If not, maybe you need to reverse the polarity of YOUR transporter. (What? You mean to tell me that you're a science fiction writer and you don't have your own transporter?)
Yours sincerely, etc. :-)
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ellen
Posted on Saturday, June 26, 2004 - 04:52 pm:   

David,
Great suggestion! ;-)
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David Marshall
Posted on Sunday, June 27, 2004 - 11:13 pm:   

Thank you Ellen. Glad you liked it.


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Tracy Taylor
Posted on Monday, June 28, 2004 - 03:58 pm:   

Quick question ... what is Sword and Sorcerey and Space Opera? I think I know what the former is (high fantasy, Lord of the Rings, Shannara series stuff), but I am at a loss about the latter.
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ellen
Posted on Monday, June 28, 2004 - 04:05 pm:   

You're right about S&S. The term "space opera" is (to me) superficial space adventure. Now, the "space opera" has supposedly made a comeback but to me these are not space operas at all but something entirely different, with depth of characterization, thematic complexity, etc. Does that help?
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Tracy Taylor
Posted on Monday, June 28, 2004 - 04:27 pm:   

It does, thanks.

Tracy Taylor

PS. Reading through all the posts on writers guidelines, I'm of the opinion that the editor can ask for whatever guidelines he or she wants. If you want to see all the mss on canary yellow paper in bold Gothic 12 point type, then thats what we, the writers, need to adhere to. Getting our stories published is a priveledge(?) (much like getting that dream job), not a entitlement. To treat it otherwise, seems just a tad arrogant to me.
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Matthew
Posted on Monday, June 28, 2004 - 06:45 pm:   

I know what you mean Ellen, but to me space opera means a "wide-scream" science fiction adventure story. For me the term doesn't have anything to do with literary quality. It could mean Star Wars tie-ins or something of quality from Frank Herbert and Alastair Renyolds.
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Patrick Samphire
Posted on Tuesday, June 29, 2004 - 02:01 am:   

>Getting our stories published is a priveledge(?) (much like getting that dream job), not a entitlement. To treat it otherwise, seems just a tad arrogant to me.

Actually, I don't see it as either a privilege or an entitlement. It is a business. We write the best stories we can. Ellen publishes the best stories she can get hold of. Business transaction, pure and simple. Because of that, an editor who asks for mss on canary yellow paper in bold Gothic 12 would be acting unreasonably, just as a writer who demanded non-standard treatment.
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Tracy Taylor
Posted on Tuesday, June 29, 2004 - 04:16 am:   

True it is a business. But I see it more like a temporary or contract job posting. During the process, there is an inherent assumption that the employer (in this case Ellen) knows what they are doing and has a reason, one that does not have to be immediately apparent to the employee. My point is, asking the employer to change their protocol (regardless how outlandish it might be - providing it does not personally offend, mistreat, or demean anyone of course) is out of line, and probably the best way of ensuring you do not get hired.

As a perspective employee, the writer always has the option of saying "No way, that's just silly," and not applying for that position. They can even go so far as to say, "I would have submitted to you, except ...", but I do not agree with "I will work for you, but first you have to ..."

Just my opinion.

Tracy
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ellen
Posted on Tuesday, June 29, 2004 - 07:37 am:   

Patrick and Tracy, I agree with both of you. Publishing is a business. But there's also a personal interaction between author and editor that goes beyond business.

Very few editors I know make unreasonable rules for submissions. There are generally good reasons for why the procedures are in place.
Canary yellow paper isn't as easy to read as plain white.
Double spacing is easier for reading and for editing.
Gothic type is not as easy to read as times roman or courier.
Same with 10pt type vs 12 pt type.

See? there's a pattern here. An editor reads a LOT of mss, and when a submission is hard on the eyes it's just asking to be tossed without being read.
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Joseph Paul Haines
Posted on Tuesday, June 29, 2004 - 08:23 am:   

I was at a workshop this last year where one of the exercises put an editor's job in a whole new light. We were required to compile an anthology overnight from a box of manuscripts (faux slush) comprised of trunk stories with fake names plus some of the stories written at the workshop.

It quickly became apparent why manuscript formatting requirements exist. I found myself barely skimming the subs that didn't meet SMF. First off, they were hard on my eyes. Second, the quality of those stories rarely met the quality of the subs which were in SMF.

(I also learned quite a bit about what NOT to do as a writer. For example, don't provide a great hook and then think it's okay to spend the next three pages on back-fill. Ick! It was something I used to do on a regular basis. No more.)

You can't help but develop an innate prejudice against manuscripts that aren't formatted correctly when ninety-five percent of them are of an inferior quality. I don't want an editor to pick my ms. only to think, "Strike one." Even if your story is golden; the best ever written, do you want to create an association with lesser stories?
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MaryRobinette
Posted on Wednesday, June 30, 2004 - 09:15 am:   

I have to read a lot of applications for scholarships and internships, which have guidelines similar to manuscript submissions. The guidelines are a simple way for us to weed out the people who aren't taking things seriously. It's a simple, very low hurdle, but some people just will not pick up their feet and step over it.

I haven't sent anything to SciFiction.com, (no appropriate stories yet) but when I do, I'll convert it to Times New Roman. And include a SASE.
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MaryRobinette
Posted on Wednesday, June 30, 2004 - 09:32 am:   

I have to read a lot of applications for scholarships and internships, which have guidelines similar to manuscript submissions. The guidelines are a simple way for us to weed out the people who aren't taking things seriously. It's a simple, very low hurdle, but some people just will not pick up their feet and step over it.

I haven't sent anything to SciFiction.com, (no appropriate stories yet) but when I do, I'll convert it to Times New Roman. And include a SASE.
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MaryRobinette
Posted on Wednesday, June 30, 2004 - 10:45 am:   

Sorry. Here I finally decide to come out of lurker land and accidentally post twice. Sheesh.
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GThorne
Posted on Thursday, July 01, 2004 - 08:27 pm:   

must it be Times New Roman or can one use the Courier fonts?
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gthorne
Posted on Thursday, July 01, 2004 - 08:29 pm:   

ah.

question answered in earlier post.

never mind.

=)
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Tracy Taylor
Posted on Friday, July 02, 2004 - 02:42 pm:   

I think I already know the answer to this, but I'll ask anyway ... if, after a story is rejected by an editor, you decide to do some major rewriting/editting but still keep the title and theme in tact, is it a bad idea to resubmit the story to that same magazine?
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Jer
Posted on Friday, July 02, 2004 - 03:02 pm:   

Ellen, there's something I've been wondering --

Is it a hard limit imposed by higher ups that you can only publish one story per week? Because I think it would be neat to see a couple of weeks a year where instead of one story, you published two or three shorter pieces of fiction at the same time. For example, if you got a few really neat stories right at 2,000 words or something like that. Maybe have one or two months a year where you were open to submissions under 2,000, etc.

What do you think?
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ellen
Posted on Friday, July 02, 2004 - 09:47 pm:   

Tracy: if the story is completely overhauled after an editor said she liked it but though it needed work then query the editor. Usually, unless I specifically ask to see a submission again I don't want to.

Jer: I have an annual budget that allows me to publish a certain number of stories a year. That's why we don't publish a fifth Wednesday of fiction--to save money.

If I ever do a group of short-shorts I would commission them around a theme as I did at OMNI.
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Some Guy
Posted on Sunday, July 04, 2004 - 06:16 pm:   

I have a question.

Since you're swamped with subs, necessitating the use of form letters, how are we to know what negatives kept a story from going the distance?

I doubt you'd be happy with the flood of e-mails you'd get by saying "Just drop me a line and I'll explain."

But, if it's something fixable, it would be good to get SOME feedback.

Maybe a checklist of some sort?

I dunno. I'm no editor. I'm sure there are very good reasons for why the current process exists in its current form.

Just asking.

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Some Young Guy
Posted on Sunday, July 04, 2004 - 06:32 pm:   

^It's a tough market, so be like me and only send your cream.
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ellen
Posted on Sunday, July 04, 2004 - 08:22 pm:   

SYG, if my reader likes a story from the slush well enough to pass it on to me, then she saw something in it worthwhile. In that case, I respond personally. When I respond personally to anybody --published writer or not, I try to be honest about my feelings about a story. Often I just say I don't like it enough. I can't remember which thread it was in but Maureen McHugh brought up the idea of that indefinable something that makes the editor sit up and take note.

I'm not a teacher. I'm an editor. A teacher's responsbility is to give feedback on everything she sees. An editor's job is to find stories to publish and to edit them. I don't have time or energy or interest in critiquing every story that I receive. When I have something specific to suggest to make a story better I suggest it.

There is a story coming up in a few weeks that was passed on to me from the slush pile and is a first sale.
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Melissa Mead
Posted on Monday, July 05, 2004 - 07:13 am:   

So there is hope! ;)
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ellen
Posted on Monday, July 05, 2004 - 08:13 am:   

Of course there is! :-)
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Melissa Mead
Posted on Monday, July 05, 2004 - 08:50 am:   

Careful-you're encouraging me to keep sending you stories. ;>

(At least now I know to do it in TNR ...)

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