Be Nice About Accepting Rejection

As someone who is nearing the phase where I’m going to start querying like mad, I’ve been madly reading articles about the industry and the process of getting an agent. 

bittttterrrrrnessssss, or not
One thing I’ve noticed beyond anything else is this: Bitterness.

If you Google “Embarrassing literary rejections,” you’ll find a wealth of articles explaining why so many agents and publishers should be crying about passing up on Harry Potter or Stephen King’s work. There are far too many blogs from unpublished authors that fire hatred and anger back over the rejections they’ve received (who is ever going to publish them now?). Heck, there are too many published authors that claim they’ve framed up their rejection letters just to mock those that passed on them.

I think its all hogwash.

Why feel the need to mock agents just because they didn’t want your work? Even if you’ve gotten a nasty review, why bother firing back? It’s silly and unprofessional.

Be nice when you’re rejected.

I mean, I get it. The work you’ve written is a part of who you are, so when you’re rejected, it feels like you’ve been rejected for who you are. And, you have been, in so many ways, however that’s no reason to write a thousand word blog over it. You don’t like everything you’ve ever read, and neither will an agent (especially them, lol). Heck, you don’t even like every person you’ve ever met.

Maybe I just don’t know how it is yet, because I haven’t begun querying.

I do know some things though: I am not going to frame my rejection letters. I am notgoing to make a dartboard out of them. I am not going to post rejections to my blog, crying about how evil they all are.

I am going to LEARN from them. Even if the rejection letter says, “Your book is trash, give up, you are a terrible writing,” I am going to find something to learn from it. I won’t take cruel negativity to heart, but I think there is something a person can gain even from mean people. If they’re being that blunt, then perhaps there’s something to it! Remember, Oscar the Grouch is an educational character. Haha.

Anyway, that’s that. I should get back to editing. I’m playing a game called Cut Any Fat From My Novel.

Random Facts About Me: A Facebook Trend (now blogged)

My number was Six Hundred Thousand and Twenty-two. I repeat, the number that was given to me was 600,022.

I like ice cream

I sleep with my toes covered

I have a very large freckle under my left knee

I prefer Colgate toothpaste

The reason I prefer Colgate is not for the taste, but the highly functional lid on the tube

For several months of my college dorm life, I slept halfway in my closet to save space

I own a very, very short Christmas tree

I am actually Andy Kaufman

I know how to yoyo

I'm currently in a rap feud with Dr. Dre

I know how to spell "definitely"

I have buried over 5 dead animals on a single hill in my backyard

I was rejected from joining the Xmen because they didn't think the power to instantaneously laminate any object was particularly useful

OKK THIS IS HARD. I hope this was interesting for you. I'll try to work on doing the next 600,009 tomorrow or something

Just post if you want your number given

Mowing The Lawn - Corporate and Class Suppression, the conversation

"I hate lawns. I feel like they're just another tool for suppression."

*Laughter* “That’s rich. You’ve really gone off the deep end with this one.”

“Don’t laugh at me, you don’t know my reasoning.”

“Lay it on me.” *Laughs again*

“Who gets paid when you mow the lawn? Lawn mower companies. Retail stores. You have to buy oil and gasoline, gotta remember the Oil Gods, right? Filters for the air compressor. Bags, if you use them. New chains when those break, and they’re bound to because lawn mowers are built to break. You can prove that to yourself by visiting the lawn mower isle at the hardware store. Thousands of stupid parts that should never break. Wheels. Gears. Blades. Pullies. Motors. Then there’s hedge trimmers. Hedge trimmer plastic lines. Don’t forget the yard waste disposal. Yard waste bins. New grass seed. Soil fertilizer. Mole traps. Lots of junk just to have a lawn. So, you have that corporate end, they’re all getting paid. Then, you’ve got the Neighborhood Council pricks sitting up on their thrones deciding what is and what isn’t aesthetically appeasing. Why do they care if your lawn is an inch above their regulated line? I’ll tell you. To keep out people they don’t want. People that can’t afford to pay for all the mowing junk or someone to mow. A single mother working two minimum wage jobs does not have the money or the time to adhere to all the little stupid regulations of the Neighborhood Council. So, she won’t be allowed to live there. And, if somehow she does manage to get a house in a nice neighborhood, her rich prick neighbors are going to have all the fodder they need to harass her to keep up with stupid aesthetic regulations. She might have two crying babies, but her neighbors are still going to report her for having paint chipping off the side of her house. All of that, and a mowed lawn isn’t even that great. I understand not wanting a jungle in front of anyone’s house… snakes and mice sucks and all, but weekly fucking mowing is absolutely ridiculous. But, that’s how they get you. You have to mow every single week, or else it all goes back to the way it was. The upkeep for a lawn is a struggle that is unrelenting until winter hits (then you pay for heating). You could keep out the pests by only mowing monthly, but you won’t keep back the regulations. And many neighborhoods regulate against rock-lawns or yards that are completely covered in gardens just for aesthetic reasons. Well, they claim aesthetics, but I’d call it suppression.”

“I like the look of freshly cut lawns.”

“How nice.”

I don’t understand the appeal of FPP (first-person, present tense).

I’ve just started reading a new book, and it uses this FPP style that is apparently a trending fad in teen fiction novel writing. I have to say this: it’s hard to read this way. I don’t know who or why anyone would enjoy this perspective.

It’s my understanding that books for children today have to be snappy and action-packed. We live in a world where YouTube is too long to watch; we need 7 (or less) second long Vines. Calling on the phone takes too long; we simply text. You can hardly find a website or blog that doesn’t use the “Top 10” formatting, highlighting bullet points over the actual meat of the article, to allow for ease of skimming for points rather than proofs.

This is our society today. We have no attention spans. I get that.

So, perhaps it’s arguable that first-person present is a culmination of that. Cut out the past-clinging words. Everything happens RIGHT NOW! Chapters are short. Action is heavy. Dialogue is simple (or non-existent).  

But reading that way is awful, friends. Simply awful.

In some ways, perhaps I feel this way because of it’s not what I’m used to. I mean, you’re looking at a guy who does a bi-yearly read of the Lord of the Rings. I love fiction that allows for pauses, description, and dialogue that carries a depth of interesting logic.

But, the logic of a book holds a place in my head. Why was this book written? Who is the narrator? Who is the narrator trying to reach by the narration? When was this narrated? These are questions that fill my head when I read, and FPP really boggles that up for me. Is the narrator of a FPP holding a flipcam up to their heads as they progress through the story? Is that why it’s being told as if it is happening right now? I suppose the trend of FPP in YA fiction and the increasing popularity of vlogs (video blogs) have a connection. FPP sort of reads like a vlog, doesn’t it? Only, when the narrator isn’t constantly holding a camera—say it’s set in medieval times—I feel pulled out of the text. The Hunger Games works in FPP, I’ll admit. But HG is a reality TV show narrative. It makes sense to have a FPP when the cameras are literally always on Katniss. There’s a logic to that. However, most other FPP narratives I’ve noticed don’t work whatsoever. If your FPP is set in a fantastic world, a farm, or a desolation without technology, then I would bet 9 times out of 10 that FPP is going to be a jarring way to experience your world.

The last thing I want to say about FPP is that it’s sort of a false way to make a book snappy and intense. I believe that intensity should come from what sort of events take place in a novel, not what perspective they are told in. If I’m feeling tense by reading about a character who is baking an apple pie, then there’s something wrong with how the story is being told. The best fiction knows how to create tension, yet give the reader places to breathe. FPP, by inception, is always intense. Everything happens NOW. Baking apple pie becomes something not warm and soul-refreshing, but snappy and jarring. FPP doesn’t allow the reader to take in the moments where I should be allowed to enjoy the surroundings, the environment, the character’s thoughts. FPP too often pushes past any would-be tender moment to get to the next action sequence.

EDIT: I just came up with a new observation.
Using past-tense creates a natural reading identifier between prose and dialogue, since people speak from the first-person and in the tense of their moment. I've noticed myself eying the prose as dialogue while reading in the FPP, and I realized its because when the book's perspective is FPP, the natural indicator of dialogue is missing. This goes for gender tags, too. FPP limits being able to easily identify characters using the "he says" "she says" because the narrator uses "I say." This is especially confusing in works where there is more than one narrator.

Thoughts? Tell me what you think in the comments!

Dime A Dozen, a poem

We're all just like candles,
we sit on the tables,
we light up,
we burn down,
we die.
We're all paranoid, yes,
we're all just pretending,
we're all just a grain in the rye.
We all need to rise up again, to seek what
we all need to keep in our minds. Forever
we learn or forever doth bring.
We're all for each other or no one at all.
We're dime a dozen.

Song Version
(written by me, performed with Brian Wood and Scott Weber)

Nintendo has an Imagination Problem

My favorite video game company hasn’t sold me on its new system, and that is a serious problem.

Why? Because I am the biggest Nintendo fan in the world. However, I never spend money without major justification, and so far, the Wii U isn’t a worthwhile purchase. You’re looking at someone who bought a Gamecube over the PS2. The Wii instead of the HD systems. The DS over the PSP. The Gameboy over the Gamegear. N64 over PS1. The SNES over Genesis. The NES over Atari.

I have them all… except the Wii U. 

This next generation, I am craving only to play the Playstation 4.

Nintendo, this is a serious problem.
Take this seriously! I am THE BIGGEST Nintendo fan I know. I am one of the only people in my group of friends to own either a Wii or a 3DS. My friends all own PS3s and 360s. I am your diehard supporter. Your most loyal customer. I am become death for you, Nintendo!

It all started a year or so after buying my Wii. I enjoyed it, don’t get my wrong, but I really wanted to play a little game called Oblivion. All my friends had played it, and I felt left out. So, I got a PS3.

No Vom Bre – Geno Cosplay, Halllow-hallow-ween, and David Ortiz

So, I went as Geno from Super Mario RPG for Halloween. Only a handful of people at the party knew who I was, but I had wanted to make this costume since I went to PAX Prime so I’m happy to have made it.

Super Mario… R! P! G! It is the only game just for me!

This was a great Halloween season, in general. I got to decorate the heck outof the yard, I went on hikes, went to three parties, finished editing the seconddraft of my novel, and went on a ghost-story telling tour with an old friend.

Life has been very good, actually. I’ve been enjoying the bachelor lifestyle. Playing video games without guilt. Spending no money whatsoever. Taking hikes. Horror movie marathons. Back in that post I wrote about divorce and stuff, I said I was excited about getting to date again. Well, to update on that, I have lost all excitement. I dated one girl for a while, and then I was done. I forgot how much work it takes to date someone, and, only being divorced a month now, I believe I have a right to enjoy a period of relaxed singledom. I disabled my OKcupid account, lol. I kept getting into conversation with girls that had a lot to offer and seemed to click with me, but I just had no follow-through whatsoever because I think I’m going through my apathetic phase. I just want to play Diablo 3 and have guy-type fun like that. I’m sure I’ll get over this, but… yeah. That’s the update on that account. 

We only got one group of trick-or-treators on Halloween. It was raining, so, it sucked. I had set up laser light machines and everything! Instead, I took the candy bowl to my neighbor’s house and offered her some M&Ms, which she took. Then she came out and handed me a little fun prize-bag filled with goodies. So, in that way, at age 27, I got to trick-or-treat. I realized that I hadn’t eaten a candy bar in a very long time. It was so good, especially after watching the movie Trick ‘R Treat (one of the best movies of all time). 

The worst part about moving back to Belleville was watching the Cardinals lose the World Series. How %$!%#$ sad! But, David Ortiz was absolutely amazing (he’s a Red Sox player, and his post-season batting average was like .799 or something). He would get on base and yell at his team to get them motivated. He smashed the crap out of almost every pitch thrown at him. What an excellent player. Even as a Cardinals fan, I have to give it up to him for being such a talented, spirited player. I wish he were on my team. But, the Sox outplayed us in the end. I have to admit that. They were on, and we were falling for their amazing pitching lineup.

Anyway, that’s my life for the past few months. Keep rocking!

Thanks for stopping by my blog!