Publications, Upcoming, Writing Exercises

Rejection and Write-a-thon

TLDR: I received a rejection letter. I intend to apply to Clarion West’s 2019 summer program. I joined Clarion’s Summer Write-a-thon.


I received my first rejection letter of the season. This stings more than I’d like to admit. I love the story. It’s certainly something I would be delighted read and, I believe, matches the quality of the publications I’m submitting to.

I plan on doing one more revision by reading the story out-loud to better ferret out awkward phrasing or word choice. Then I’ll find another publication and send it off.


I’ve been aware of Clarion West for years, but I’ve been too chicken to consider applying. I looked into the program. I intend to apply for next summer.

While on their website I found out about the Write-a-thon so I signed up for it. Here’s my profile page where you can track my goals.

My goals are:

  • Finish* 3 short stories
  • Revise 8 chapters of my novel
  • Write 2000 words in the novel that I’m pantsing
  • See what other write-a-thon writers are up to

* Finish – Meaning I have a draft that starts at the beginning and flows continuously through an ending. It doesn’t have to be “good”. Whatever good means.

Definition of pantsing – I’m writing “by the seat of my pants”, in other words, without an outline.

Lastly, here’s a copy of the writing sample I put on my profile. I love this intro I wrote. Too bad I don’t yet have a clue where the story is going:

Marshall woke up five kilometers above sea level. The ride up the space elevator wasn’t quiet, but at least it was smooth. Burson met Marshall at one of the starship docks extending like spokes from the hub at the top.

“You’re looking chipper,” Burson said.

Marshall pushed his cheeks into a smile with his fingers, said, “why’d you wake me up?”

Burson told him as they boarded a Jawarah security shuttle out to a rusted barrel-shaped hulk of a refugee ship floating in orbit.

Marshall pinched his nose and tried to blink himself alert. “Not to sound crass, but since when does JaSec waste time on immigrant-on-immigrant violence.” The floating barrel was one of dozens orbiting the Jawarah in the Denebola system.

Known as the jewel of the Lion’s Tail, Jawarah was the most Earth-like world yet discovered. That combined with its welcoming government meant that nine out of ten refugee ships out of the hot, putrid, bog Earth had become were headed for Jawarah despite the distance. Those that survived the “Unlucky thirteen” as the thirteen parsec journey was known, then had to wait their turn as Jawarah struggled to process and move them to the surface before their food or life support failed. Conditions on board the refugee ships were cramped and tense. It wasn’t unheard of to find a body full of knife wounds. That was called natural causes by some.

Burson swept his eyes over the shuttle, but the immigration bureaucrats were even more tired than Marshall. No one was paying attention as Burson took something out of his jacket and pressed it into Marshall’s hand. Burson whispered in his ear, “JaSec wastes time when the killer was found taking this off the dead guy.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s