Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Well Written? and Bad News

As a writer, I read. It's part of the job, really.

It used to be that I would read anything--good or bad. These days, I'm considerably more discriminating because I simply don't have the time to waste on reading tripe. I just don't. There are too many excellent stories and books out there that can teach me, by example, how to write well, and not NEARLY enough time to read them all.

So when someone recommends a book to me as "well written," I don't necessarily believe them. And I NEVER buy a book based solely on a recommendation. Never. And just because a book is a monetary success does NOT mean it is "well written."

These days I know of a few reader friends whose book recommendations I would accept and act upon without batting an eye, and there are a few writer friends whose book recommendations would garner the same reaction. And there are a whole lot of other friends whose recommendations would require a test on my part.

That test is usually as simple as reading the first chapter of said book. You can tell a lot about a writer and his ability to tell a good story by reading the first few pages or even paragraphs.

And in the publishing world, that's what counts. Most book publishers--at least those few who still accept unagented work--want to see the first three chapters. Most short story publishers give the writer the first few paragraphs to prove themselves worthy of publication. An editor will only read the entire story if it's good--very good. And he'll only publish it if it's better than the other thirty stories he's received that month that are also very good.

Sad day.

I received a rejection letter from Realms of Fantasy on "Nightingale." Ah, well. I'm off to shop for another market. Submit, submit, submit.


Mary Robinette Kowal said...

Sorry to hear about the rejection. Submit away.

Suzanne Vincent said...

Thanks for the sympathy, Mary.

By the way, you're one of those writers and friends whose book recommendation I'd accept without a blink.

You ROCK!!!