Aiming for clean writing

A while ago I received a rejection for a short story.

The rejection criticised a word I used, saying it had come to its present meaning through abuse of its true meaning. The word was ‘livid’ and I had used it in its sense of referring to whiteness. I thought this was quite unusual and I liked the way it sounded and felt within its sentence.

The feedback said my use was not also incorrect but, in the form I used it, lazy. Ouch.

After I had licked my wounds I wondered, ‘what happens when the people holding the reins know no more than us. Or, heaven forbid, less!’ Heck, I’ve seen short story markets that insist ‘Do not send us work with typos in’ on pages with typos in.

But the truth is that there will always be people ‘up there’ holding the power that allows us to be published, or enjoyed, or revered – and perhaps, sometimes, they will be mistaken. And sometimes they will not. (That’s when they will lavish me with praise, of course.)

The panel of readers also advised that my story didn’t flow well in places, and it is this solid advice that I have concentrated on as I have rewritten.

I’ve also dispensed with ‘livid’ – it’s possible I only used it because I was trying to be clever.

Marketing your words

I hate marketing myself. Sometimes I ask myself if my best work is destined to be nothing more than 140 characters about myself.

My present marketing consists of dredging my thoughts for what of the writing process might be interesting to others. Yet everywhere I look I see others saying the same things back at me, til we make infinite mirrors of words.

How do we sift through the words and find the sentences that stop a breath, make a heart beat faster or a throat constrict? It’s essential to be selective – or drown in mediocrity. I want to surround myself with astonishing writing in the hope that I will become even the tiniest bit awesome, because for me there’s nothing more thrilling than writing something wonderful.

So, while I’m marketing myself I’m also searching for writers who want to hold hands, share and support, inspire and be inspired, and write breathtaking stories. Then we’ll all have something to tweet about.