Arbitrary Eberron Arbitration
or "My name is #25."

So we should be getting our rejection letters soon. The longer it takes, the better, since the "near miss/write a story for our anthology" letters will be personalized and take longer to produce. I think credit goes to Kam for ferreting out this information, but I could be wrong.

Anyhow, net-rumor says that 24 lucky folks get the callback letters. 276+ of their best friends get the photocopied "thanks, but no thanks." Having lived through the Maiden of Pain open call, I look forward to seeing the talent stirred up by this competition. In all likelihood these will be some of the people writing the 2nd and 3rd generation Eb novels.

But what about #25? Was she/he demonstrably less of a writer than lucky #24? I find that hard to believe. And yet it isn't hard to imagine #24 going on to fortune and fame, and #25 deciding to give up the ghost.

Now, I know that won't happen to any of you. I know that you'll all stick this one out and slam the next open call. But if you do happen to get a "Dear author" photocopy slip, you have to promise that you'll disregard it. Take a week to mope, catch up on the Simpsons, then come back meaner and leaner than ever. Get hungry. If it means you'll write better, get angry. Submit to the White Wolf call, start querying random shared-world lines, finish that original novel you've been working on. Start a new one.

Because it isn't a rejection of you. It isn't a signifier of future performance.

It is just an arbitrary line drawn in the sand.

Cthulhu Lives! ... In Hollywood!
These folks have done some amazing work. It feels like it is half again too long, but that is only because the first half rocks so much. Can't wait to see the entire film.


At 3:13 AM, Blogger SnakeOil Sage said...

I think I'm fit in the "go out and keep working" department.

I took three months off of working on my Frontier project to finish a novel, and I'm still working on the Frontier now.

Got myself covered. *Chuckle*

At 6:21 PM, Blogger Jeff LaSala said...

Eb: Umm. Yeah. All of what you said!

Cthulhu: I wouldn't call it Hollywood, but it's better that way. I'm a supporter of the HPLHS. After all, I did buy the Cthulhu Christmas songs this year.

At 12:45 PM, Blogger Kameron said...

Like the new look, H.

At 3:37 PM, Anonymous Laurie said...

If I'm not one of the lucky 24 for Eberron I'll hardly be down, but I might take a break from shared world open calls. I saw the White Wolf one, but I can't get myself to out and buy another sourcebook, read through it like crazy, and then come up with a sample. (WW is generally more gritty than my tastes run too.) Instead I think I'll just concentrate on my original work.

At 8:19 AM, Blogger Lara said...

Eb: Got my form letter. Not as disappointed as I thought I'd be way back when. What an odd feeling!

At 8:29 AM, Blogger ec said...

It makes very little sense to pursue a project that doesn't suit your tastes and sensibilities. Time is too short to write something you really don't like, and most likely, if you don't care for a particular style or setting, the result won't appeal to the people who DO. Smart decision, Laurie, and good luck with your original stuff.

Good post, Harley--you hit most of the bases. If I may add one thought: Another thing to keep in mind in open calls is the element of luck and personal preference. Perhaps a proposal was terrific and the writing solid, but by that time the editors had already read twenty submissions that had some point of strong similarity. (While reading for a zombie anthology, Jim Lowder received over a dozen submissions entitled "Working Stiffs." ) Or maybe the editors have some particular vision in mind, and they're picking the writers who come closest to that mark. You can do your homework, know the setting, and follow the directions to the letter, but you still can't be aware of all the elements that go into the selection process.

Not long ago, I submitted a short story to an anthology of humorous tales. Humor is very, VERY subjective, and this story, which was very quirky, wasn't what the editor was looking for. She was looking for laugh-out-loud funny, while this one dealt in irony, absurdity, and a bit of satire. Bottom line: not a good fit. That happens, more often than we'd like.

Obviously, you can take this too far and start to rationalize rejections. It's important to try to figure out WHY your submissions were rejected. That's the only way to improve. The trick is finding that line between learning from a rejection and driving yourself crazy over it.

At 1:36 PM, Blogger SnakeOil Sage said...

I had a similar experience when I wrote a humorous shortstory for an anthology about the "humorous" side of hell.

The story was about The Devil being a popular Talkshow Host whose audiences were the newly arrived souls of the damned, and he'd answer a few questions about where they were before going on to the day's topic (like "You slept with my husband's corpse").

The editor said she liked it a lot until the second-half of the story, in which the over-worked Devil returns home to find his wife having an affair with "Bob," has to deal with it. In the end the Devil kind of comes out as a good guy, and it didn't sit well with the editor, who want more ridiculous talkshow antics.

Everyone's a critic, I guess? :D

At 2:05 PM, Blogger Ian Kappos said...

That's awesome, Mike. Ever seen the South Park episodes with the gay Satan? That's what I was immediately reminded of when I read that.

At 2:35 PM, Blogger SnakeOil Sage said...

The inspiration certainly came from Southpark's version. I always saw Hell as a hotter, more brimstone-ish version of Hollywood, so I gave Hell the feel of everyone's worst fear - an over-commercialized television-oriented culture.

At 2:50 PM, Blogger ec said...

Wait a minute--the notion of the Devil coming home from a hard day's work and finding his wife in bed with another guy is OVERWORKED?

Geez, cliches are getting more exotic every day.

Mike, you'd probably enjoy a similar short story in BOOK OF MORE FLESH from Eden Games, edited by James Lowder. Entitled "Dawn of the Living Impaired," it's a parody of talk shows and political correctness. A perky (but professionally ruthless) Katie Couric type interviews people who want to rehabilitate zombies with job training, wardrobe tips, and appetite control through a patch marketed as "Necroderm." It's a hoot.

At 2:53 PM, Blogger ec said...

Mike, it sounds as if we might have submitted to the same anthology. I forget the name of the project, but it was something on ralan.com that caught my eye.

It'll be interesting to see what sort of stories end up in the anthology.

At 3:48 PM, Anonymous Laurie said...

Thanks, ec. :)

Well, I got my generic "you are not a winner" form letter from WotC yesterday. Alas. But I got two shorts published in between submission and rejection for Eberron, so that takes out some of the sting. I'll just keep truckin'.

Anyone else get a number on their envelopes? Someone wrote "82" on mine. I don't know if that meant I was #82 read, ranked #82 out of 300+, or somebody just ran out of scratch paper. :)

At 3:54 PM, Blogger SnakeOil Sage said...

Cliches are hell. Hence the use.

I saw it on Ralan.com, myself, but it was last year, so I can't remember any particular details past my own shortstory.

At 5:54 PM, Blogger SnakeOil Sage said...

Curses. My own generic Eberron reject came in.

Ah well. Eberron isn't my cup of tea. Too "depressing highschool goth" for my liking.

MY d20 RPG however... *Lightning strikes*

At 6:12 PM, Blogger Zombie_Flyboy said...

Hi. I just found your blog, and have found it to be very interesting. Catch ya later.


Post a Comment

<< Home