The CWC’s Steampunk collaboration, Army of Brass, is underway and I got to make my first selection this week. Five writers sent me five very different chapters, and I had a blast reading them all. But then, the moment of truth. I could only choose one, and then I had to write rejection letters to the other authors and it has really made me think a lot about this notion of “rejection.”
My only parameter as the coordinator is to “choose the chapter that moves the story along the best,” but best is one of the most subjective words in the English language! In our case, being grammatically perfect definitely isn’t our focus, and every chapter that is chosen goes through a round of editing before it moves on, but I also know that as a student of the English language I will have to make a conscious effort to overlook mistakes. I also know that I personally prefer to both read and write scenes where dialog does the heavy-lifting, but stylistically this won’t always jibe with what our writers submit. This isn’t to say I would never choose a chapter that didn’t have dialog, but being aware of my own bias is also important.
I have received tons of rejection letters, and one of the most common phrases is “it wasn’t the right fit.” Before, I always felt like that was a non-answer, but I think I get it now. For this week’s chapters, several writers elected to introduce a new location and/or characters, but no matter how much I liked what they did with those characters I felt it was too early in the story to do it for the sake of the readers. This was a structural issue, and in no way a commentary on the quality of the prose I received. In short, they just weren’t the right fit at that time. Editors and agents receive so many submissions and there are so many different factors at play, that there are any number of reasons something might not be the right fit, and it isn’t at all personal. Now the trick will be to remember that the next time I get rejected… 😉
This is such an amazing project with so many talented writers, I know my job isn’t going to get any easier! But I sure am going to learn a lot.
If you’d like to keep up with the weekly mini-summaries of the project or to view our working world map, go to the CWC Facebook page and like to follow along.
A year ago, I posted about the first amazing Steampunk/Star Wars mash-up, Trial of the Mask. Now, sit back and enjoy the sequel!
That’s right! Voting ends today. If you’ve even had a glimmer of interest in the collaborative Steampunk novel I’ll be coordinating, now is the best time to sign up. We’ll continue to bring in new authors even after the project begins, but if you sign up now you get to help us decide what story we are going to tell!
Will it be a tale of a tinkerer and a cartographer saving their kingdom?
Perhaps a daring adventure conducted by a cadre of castaways?
Or even a trip through the very fabric of time itself!
Sign up here and get the password to read excerpts and full (unedited) starter chapter submissions!
“Steam Speaks All Languages
Steam Knows No Boundaries
Steam Is Universal”
I am usually more of a novel reader, but lately I’ve been both reading and writing a lot of shorter fiction. Figuring out the right amount of words to fully tell a story is both an intellectual and artistic challenge, but I believe editor Sarah Hans did a wonderful job of pulling together this anthology composed of fabulous stories. I’ve noticed a trend in the last year or two of agents and editors looking for non-Western Steampunk, and this collection was already on the shelves so kudos to all 19 authors and the publisher, Alliteration Ink. Each story is even accompanied by a beautiful black and white line drawing.
With 19 completely different tales to tell, I’m not going to even try to review everything in Steampunk World. I had hoped to dedicate a few days to it, but with Christmas right around the corner and this book so perfect for a last minute gift idea I’m just going to say that overall, I felt like this was a very strong book, both as a collection of short stories and a collection of Steampunk. It was originally funded through a Kickstarter campaign, but you can read all about the book and the authors at Alliteration Ink.
Multi-cultural Steampunk sound good to you? Check out their next collection, Steampunk Universe as well!
That’s right! The top three contenders for Project 7 have been chosen, and now it’s up to the people to choose which Steampunk novel I will be coordinating. Only people who are signed up for the project get to read the excerpts and unedited entries, but I do have permission to share a line from each story to whet your appetite…
– …They were a silent congregation of frozen warriors, just waiting for battle to come and call on them, the Army of Brass… (Army of Brass)
– … There’s only one time period it would have gone to, and we’re going to go back and stop it.”… (Temporalis)
– … The passengers on the beach froze, silent, staring into the trees… (Enigma Isle)
Any of them get your gears going? Sign up on the CWC’s website and we’ll send you the username and password you need to read the starter entries in full. There are only 30 spaces left in the whole project, and the more chapters you attempt the more chances you have to get chosen!
Origins In this world where we have had a rise in xenophobia and jingoism I’ve been thinking back to a peculiar trend in literature dating back to the 19th century here we have the story of Invasion Literature. Often the period of Invasion Literature covers from between 1871 to the outbreak of the First World […]