Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Character notes

Hmm. I'm getting back into writing pretty well and have a few stories bubbling up. But, sigh, most of the rejections I have been getting have to do with character. Either the characters are not well enough drawn for people to sympathise with or there are too many of them or

Character MapImage via Wikipedia

yadda yadda. It's all about the character. This worries me.

In some senses I don't think it should. Part of that is because I know that often the editors of many of the magazines I am submitting to are looking for reasons to say "no". They will seize on any deficiency so they can reject a story and clear a space in the slush pile. I've realised that it is not the best stories that get published but the ones that the editors like the most.

Plus I am not getting rejections on the basis of character from the pro-mags. Perhaps those smaller mags have higher standards. Perhaps.

Now that I have extracted the upside from this I need the downside. What I also worry about is that there is something that needs fixing. What?

Well, it has to be said that the last few stories I've written have been done in a more ad hoc fashion. I've avoided doing all that thinking and note making and just plunged in. The results have not been great. I realised today that the story I've written has almost no conflict, no resolution and almost no peril for the main characters. Not good. Maybe that is what needs fixing. The story I am about to write feels better already because I've done lots of thinking beforehand.

What I might try to do for the next story after this one is make sure that it is a character piece. Explicitly ensure that I know the main character and do all the things the book says to do.

Though this is tempered by the thought that if I do fix this lack then it may not lead to more acceptances from those mags.

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