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November 13th, 2007

Superstitions and dark days

I think I've mentioned before that I'm developing some writing superstitions as the years go by. In a year like this one - when I've been unable to sell so much as a piece of flash fiction since spring - my usual hardbitten skeptic's attitude goes out the window. There really seems to be no rational explanation for stories that I know are good being turned down repeatedly (especially when I read what these editors and agents are choosing instead). It's like applying for fifty jobs in a year, all of which you are supremely qualified for, and never getting hired, even though all the employers tell you they love you. You can change your resume, your clothing, your personal grooming supplies, and none of it works.

So, am I the only writer with personal superstitions? Here are my big three:

1) Never submit in the last four months of the year. Or at least never submit so the work is likely to be read in the last part of the year. There is some logical reason for this in regards to screenwriting, since most of the buying in that arena really does happen in the beginning of the year...but there's no explanation for it in prose writing (is there?). But all I know is I've never sold a thing from August on. I might send things out in late November, though, so they get read at the beginning of the new year.

2) I am subject to a particularly hideous cosmic balance. When I first started selling (screenplays, in my case), every sale was accompanied by the death of someone close to me. It got pretty weird after a while. It continued with my first few fiction sales. After a while there were enough fiction sales that it couldn't keep up, but when I received the Stoker this year, I actually thought - Uh-oh. This could be bad. I guess I should just be thankful that no one around me has died this year.

3) My sales go in clusters. This, of course, is tied into Whacko Superstition #1 - since I only have a few months to make sales, it stands to reason they all get clumped together.

Now excuse me while I go hibernate until all of this passes.