I’ve spent the last week on the Oregon Coast, at a writing workshop. It’s actually been more business than craft, as I’ve been attending the anthology workshop.
After listening to six different editors opinions on 40+ professionally written stories, I can tell you that this post is absolutely true. You could have five editors all say, “Loved this story. Would have bought it.” Then the editor with the checkbook, who could actually buy the story, say, “Nope. Didn’t like it. Doesn’t fit.”
One of the things that was also very interesting was hearing an editor say, “I don’t like X in my stories,” such as carnival stories, stories where children are endangered, stories with magical snowmen, etc. Which would prompt me, the writer, to think, “Okay, don’t send that type of story to that editor.”
Then the next story, that editor would say, “I don’t like X in my stories. This one was so well done I would buy it anyway.”
One of the other interesting things was hearing stories about editors who reject a story, and then, two-three years later, receiving an email that says, “I just can’t get that story out of my head, have you sold it? Can I have it?”
So again, I agree with this post. There is no perfect story. You are never going to write a story that is a guaranteed sale to a market. For that matter, even if you are invited to write in an anthology, there’s still not guarantee that the editor won’t reject the story and tell you to rewrite it or submit something else.
But beyond the networking that I’ve done here, and all the things I’ve learned, one of the reasons I come to these workshops is because these people are my people. This is my family. I adore these people, and despite the exhaustion, they’re still clever and fun.
And that’s the inspiration part of this post. (See? I knew I could get there.)
Writers can be very witty. And at something like this, they generate inside jokes as well as lots of pithy sayings.
So I will leave you with a few of the key phrases that may or may not inspire some kind of story idea in you!
–Ringo Starr: Serial killer (Detective noticing connection between all the cities the Beatles toured and a string of mysterious deaths…)
–The Attack of the Lurking Theme
–Rejectomancy – Authors studying rejection letters to determine patterns in order to predict future behavior
–The Invincible Monkey Tailor
–Zombie Husband? No problem! Just break off the good bits.
–The Snark Muffin
–The Nicest Evil Dragon
–Strangling the Pink Rabbit