Writing Update and Cruisers X – The Details Part I

I’ve not started editing my NaNoWriMo No. 3 (a. k. a. NNWM-2K15) because I’ve been busy with other stuff and because I’m still letting it simmer. 

I have, however, been sending out a few things. So far, I’ve had three rejections for my short stories. Two from Asimov’s Science Fiction and one from Clarkesworld Magazine. I’ve not yet heard from Analog SF/SF and Tor. Of the fifteen agents I queried with my 2014 NNWM, ten have either declined or their stated maximum response time has lapsed by multiple weeks, and hence can be considered as not interested. 

None of the rejections were of a personal nature. For them who don’t know, I’ve worked out there are three types of rejections.  

  1. The “how dare you even contact us” is characterized by a lack of response. When you submit, you’re often informed that “if you don’t hear from us in X-number of weeks, you can assume we thought your stuff was crap and we are amazed you had the audacity to query it”. The ‘X’ varies from four weeks to as long as six months.  
  2. The “form letter rejection” is self-explanatory and falls into two camps. The first I call the “it’s not you, it’s us” camp and says something like “thanks for wasting our time with stuff we don’t need at this time”. To their credit, the wording is a little more polite that that, but I know what they mean. The second I call the “it could possibly be you” camp and it says something along the lines of “we did not connect with your submission, and by the way, here are some helpful links about the craft of writing”. I don’t know . . . I assume they are trying to be nice, but it still sounds a lot like “wow, we’ve not seen drek like this since grade school, and speaking of which, perhaps you should consider going back to one”, you know, suggesting I should go to a trade school. Into welding, perhaps. 
  3. The “oh, so close; keep trying” takes the form of a more personalized letter explaining in detail what they hated about your story. From reading the oracle that is the Internet, I gather this is the desirable form of rejection. Apparently people like reading that what they thought was their best work is not quite there yet. I guess I’ll see how I feel if I ever get one of these. 

Now, I get that everyone is pretty busy these days, what with Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and all them other wonderful tools designed to improve one’s efficiency and productivity.    

Still, it would be nice if agents and editors would have different types of form letters they sent out. That’s what I would do in their place. I’d have X-number of pre-formatted letters where ‘X’ is ten.  

So, for instance, Number 6 might be something like:

Thank you for sending us your hard work. We understand you put your soul into this (unless you’re Disperser; he’s soulless), and it was not bad. However, your story did not sufficiently distinguish itself from the other submissions we received. We want you to know there’s nothing wrong with your writing, and it’s maybe a cut above the rest, but you need to be more creative with the characters and/or story ideas. Thank you for the opportunity to see your work. 

That lets the writer know they have what it takes as far as writing, but need to work on the story content. 

On the other hand, Number 4 might read something like this: 

Thank you for sending us your hard work. We understand you put your soul into this (unless you’re Disperser; he’s soulless), and it was not bad. However, while this was a unique and interesting concept that held our interest, the writing itself is not up to publishing quality. Were we a charitable organization, or if this were the 1950s, we would work with you to clean up this mess and get it publishable. Unfortunately, it’s 2016, and there are literally tens of thousands of writers who are farther along in their craft than you are, so we have no incentive or interest in nurturing whatever talent you might have. Thank you for the opportunity to see your work.

Just to bookend this thought exercise, Number 1 might read something like: 

Holy crap on virtual paper! Are you Disperser, by any chance? We ask because this has no soul, and we understand he’s soulless. Seriously, dude! What were you thinking? Did Fred in Marketing put you up to this? You tell Fred I’m going to get him for this! See what you did? I’m using exclamations point! AARRGH!  

Number 1o might read something like: 

This was a joy to read. The characters had our hearts swell with our love for them, and the plot was like a gentle breeze filling the sails of our souls. We’ve not seen anything like this and doubt we will see the like again in our lifetime. We would like to offer . . . Wait . . . You’re that soulless dude, Disperser, ain’t you? Never mind.  

Anyway, I’ll keep submitting. From what I understand, perseverance often counts more than talent. I guess the whole point of the exercise is to keep submitting stuff until you break their will to live. I can do that. 


Cruisers Update X – The Details Part I

Continuing with my late reporting of the June 14, 2015, Tri-Lakes Vintage Car show.

After I got done photographing nearly each car at the show (I ignored the more modern cars, a.k.a. classics-to-be), I went around again taking a bunch of closeups. Some call them ‘macros’, whatever that means. I say that because it seems to me ‘micros’ might be a more appropriate term. I suppose one could assume it’s derived from making small things appear large, but English not being my first language, I can’t say. 

14JUNE2015 Tri-Lakes Car Show

By the way, there is a SmugMug Gallery (HERE) for this, past, and future posts about this show. Also, you can click on the photos to open a larger version of the photo in a separate tab or window. Go ahead; try it.

Some might argue that first shot is not much of a macro. OK, I’ll give you that, but I can’t help if the name was all stretched out across the back. OK, OK, I’ll keep the rest more in the realm of ‘macros’.


Now, some people will be positively giddy at seeing the shallow depth of field. Good for them. 

Me? I was not happy when I saw these. I prefer my stuff in focus, so I consider many of the macros big failures flags waving in Force 12 Gale Winds. Then again, I ain’t a pro, so I’ll cut myself some slack.


Other fudge cracker! That sucks! . . . breathe . . . breathe . . . OK, I’m alright now. 


Grand danish, that’s bad. Oh well . . . 


That’s more like it! In fact, I like it so much I’ll do a B&W version.


Here’s another Mustang closeup . . . 


And here’s the corresponding B&W . . . 


As a change of pace, I’ll give you the B&W version first and then the color original. Ain’t I a pistol?



Lest some color purists are cringing at the thought of an endless series of B&W photos coupled with their color counterparts, not all color photos lend themselves to a B&W conversion (some may differ in that opinion). 

This next one most certainly does. 


But, I did not do one.


Some might recognize that emblem as two flags waving. If you can’t see it, try leaning back on your chair (or move the phone farther from your face) and squinting. 

Here is a more reasonable “Pontiac” badge that possibly still qualifies as a macro.


As I walked around and concentrated on the various details, I tried envisioning the end product. Some say I have an eye for photography, but it’s actually a Nikon. The Macro lens is also a Nikon. 


Notice that I’m not identifying any of these, proof positive that I’m not anywhere close to being what anyone might consider a car guy. 

This next one looks like one of them Aztec emblems. I didn’t know they made cars. 


Tsk, tsk . . . visible screws. Those Aztecs have a thing or two to learn about aesthetics. 

But, they sure made purty wheels. It stands to reason; some think wheels were man’s first invention after porn, so we’d had lots of time to perfect them.


Now, I bet you think I forgot all about doing monochrome conversions . . . not so. Witness!



What is unique about that shot is that it has a reflection of me taking the photo. I tried in earnest avoiding such mishaps, but sometimes it cannot be helped.

I assume this next shot is from the same vehicle as I can’t believe there would be two cars with similar logos. 



However one feels about old cars, one has to admit to a fair amount of character evident in the various adorning badges. 

Even when fairly simple, they could still be classy.


You could even label them as elegant once transformed by the magic of monochrome.


Some badges have an inherent power that has nothing to do with how they look and more about what they invoke. 


Of course, I maintain a decent B&W conversion can only help. 


But, yes . . . even unadulterated, the mere sight of the badge can evoke memories of rampant optimism and the very air choked with the lead residue of high octane fuel. 


I’m not sure which German division this was, but I’m sure it instilled fear in the hearts of its enemies. 


20150614_DSC9918_1_DSC9918-2_DIGIThis next badge if tame in comparison.


It has kind of a dainty ring to it, don’t it?

Our first car was a 1965 Impala, and hence, I’m still partial to the shape of these tail lights.


Here’s another classy hood and grille combo . . . 



. . . and yet another . . . 



I kind of miss this next type of hood ornament . . . I mean, if you’re making the effort to hit a pedestrian, you might as well have something on the hood that can easily rip them open. 


Sigh . . . those were the days. 

It’s not just hoods that were adorned with classy badges. I’ll end this short post with a shot of a trunk release handle. 



And now, as I hit publish, I’ll marvel at getting a couple of “likes” within a minute of this post going live from people who could not possibly have read any part of it. 

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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