Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for November 12th, 2010

Writers of the Future bounces 3rd quarter story.

with 4 comments

Folks, some nights are beyond frustrating, and this is one of them.

The story I sent to WotF in the 3rd quarter is a Joey Maverick tale set in my late husband’s universe, with mostly his characters — this is the second tale, and for this one I’d added a great deal of things (more plot layers, a few new characters, deepening of the characters already there, some internal monologue).  And were Michael alive, it would’ve been Michael who’d sent this in (providing he wrote all this in, of course), and I’d have been the one checking the MSS — meaning I’d have caught stuff that apparently got by me this time.

All I was told was that my story (based on Michael’s “Maverick” universe) “didn’t go in double-spaced” (I thought it had; I know they want traditional MSS format, which is what I use constantly) and I noticed on the page they sent back (which indeed wasn’t double-spaced, though I haven’t a clue why at this remove) that it had the wrong header — which I know I fixed.  I was on my Mom’s computer at that point, not mine (Mom has air conditioning, and I don’t), and I know Mom’s computer can do some odd things to formatting.  That’s probably what happened to the headers  (I checked, but probably saw what I wanted to see; this is a failing).  But as for the double-spacing, I haven’t a clue.  Because I do know better.

At any rate, this is probably the best story I have ever sent them, and because of these two things, the story itself wasn’t considered.   I don’t blame them for this, because they get so many stories, they’re going to have to kick stuff out however they can — they once bounced “Trouble with Elfs” because they said the “protagonists’ ages (were) too young,” because they were teens, even though I’ve seen stories about teens in the WotF anthology before and probably will again.  That one frustrated me even more than this one, because it was perfectly formatted; fortunately, the story eventually sold in 2007.  (I sent it to WotF in 2004, long before Michael passed away.)

I sent them something for the September 30th ending quarter, but I have no hopes for that story (which means it’ll probably be the one that finally breaks through, right?) — this was the one I had the hopes for, not that one.

It frustrates me beyond belief to be thought of as someone who didn’t do her homework; I always double-space my manuscripts, from the start, and when I got the print-out off the printer, I looked at it — I’d checked.  It printed out double-spaced fine, for me.   I still have the copy I printed out, for comparison; it is double-spaced throughout.

Mind, I believe I will place “Joey Maverick: On Westmount Station” quickly, so all is not lost. 

But for a writer who’s doing her damndest to be professional in all her dealings, stupid crap like this bugs me.  It truly does.   And the only good thing stuff like this does is to remind me to check the formatting four or five times in short stories, and perhaps wait on the story a day if I have that time; you can call this a hard-won insight if you’d like, though I’m still mad as Hell at myself for not seeing this when I sent it in.

Written by Barb Caffrey

November 12, 2010 at 7:23 pm