A little of this and a little of that

So, I got me another rejection . . . but, it felt pretty good. 

“Why?” 

Well, Bob, I’m glad you asked. I got me another somewhat personalized rejection. And, you know what; it even had a hint or two about the writing and the reason they didn’t pick it up. 

The story in question is Stopover. Note: that’s a protected post. The subscribers who read my fiction (all six of them) have already read it, but if anyone else wants to read it, just leave a comment below and I’ll email you the password.  

Anyway, here’s the feedback I received:

~ ~ ~

Thank you very much for submitting “Stopover” to {redacted}. We enjoyed reading it, and it was well-received among our staff. However, it’s not quite what we’re looking for right now, so we’ve decided to pass on this one.

We have to reject many good stories for a variety of reasons unrelated to their quality. We wish you the best of luck in finding the right home for this one, and we look forward to reading more of your work in the future.

We thought this was a lovely first-contact story with an engaging protagonist, but for our tastes, it relied too much on dialogue that sometimes felt expository, and we sometimes have trouble with stories that work by hiding the narrator’s thoughts/beliefs from the audience.

~ ~ ~

So, here’s the thing . . . first and foremost, I’m pleased they apparently liked it. Perhaps that’s a form letter, but it’s not like previous rejections I got, so perhaps it’s one of many form letters . . . but I’ll take it as at least semi-personalized and that second sentence is enough to make me happy because they are, after all, in the business. 

The rest of the first paragraph and the whole of the second are standard rejection letter fare. 

The third paragraph is where I find gold. It points to two issues with the story; one is that the inner-monologue of the main character is probably not the best way to do exposition. The second issue is one I frankly did not realize until I parsed what they said (and it took me a good ten minutes thinking about it). 

Namely, the protagonist withholds information from the reader. I did that so that I could employ my favorite feature in writing; the twist ending. But, they’re right; I put the reader in the character’s head but then I lie to them. It’s a lie of omission, but it’s still a lie.

I did it because I was focused on the payoff at the end and didn’t realize that I was sort of cheating. A valuable lesson that. 

After things settle down here (another week or two) I’ll give some thought to a serious revision and then send it out again. It’ll go to a different market because they didn’t ask for a rewrite. Still, valuable feedback. This is what I would like from all the places that reject my stuff; one or two lines pointing me in the right direction. I realize editors are busy, but to a writer trying to get published, those few hints can really help things along. 

Anyway, as I said a few posts ago, pretty busy here with stuff. I’ve been perusing other blogs when I have a few minutes but I know I missed a few posts. Also, when I relax, I’m finding drawing stuff really takes my mind into a nice place. Sadly, no one commented on the sketch I included in the last post. I mean, it has a mouse instead of a cat, but still . . . cute furry mammal holding a sign. 

Oh well . . . perhaps people like something different. I drew this next one last night as I was waiting for sleep to claim me. 

The gravity-defying web could have been better executed but I don’t mind that . . . plus, you know, there’s also a joke. 

Eh . . . it’s probably not for everyone. 

Finally, Topaz Studio has a few new adjustment modules that I’ll probably find useful. The first is Digital Frames. 

Some of you might remember my sort-of-tutorial for adding frames to a photo (HERE and HERE). Well, With Topaz, the process is literally a few clicks of the mouse. This short video is a quick intro to the feature.

So, you know, I had to try it . . . 

First up, yesterday’s drawing . . . 

Hmm . . . the Black and White subject is difficult to frame. How about my latest drawing?

Not bad, but I think the colors are off . . . 

I like that (probably not everyone will agree). I also like that you can play with the depth of the photo/picture so that it looks like it’s either behind the matte or floating above it. 

The other plugin is one I mentioned a few posts ago and it’s the AI ReMix adjustment. To me, it looks a bit like Deep Dream program I played with a few months back (HERE).

So, I only have one example because I need to do other stuff. 

Here’s a photo I adjusted (with one click) using Topaz Studio:

I thought the program did a pretty good job. It took me — literally — all of ten seconds and that included opening and closing the program.

I then opened that same photo again and fired up AI ReMix and Digital Frame. Here’s the result:

Obviously, tastes differ. Some might like it, some not. But, there’s a lot of flexibility in the tools and Topaz promises continued additions to the textures and engines for both options. 

Topaz continues to impress me with their innovations, ease of using their tools, and the free upgrades for life policy. Honest, unless you die a few days after you buy their suite, it’s a pretty good deal, especially when compared to every other software package that either in a perpetual upgrade path or that dwell in the subscription business model. 

If I sound like a fanboy, it’s because I am, and no, I don’t get anything from them . . . other than great products at a reasonable price. 

OK, got to get me some relax time in. 

Here’s a recent phone photo for your viewing pleasure. 

Say, here’s something I see every day on the way back to the condo . . . it always reminds me of Dr. Seuss and one of his characters . . . 

Here’s a closer look . . . 

. . . and a B&W rendition . . . 

How about this photo?

It wasn’t planned . . . I put the cup in the sink, turned on the water and ==>> instant photo op.

Here are a few variations . . .

OK, I really have to go now. Here’s a gallery of the above photos. 

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

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