Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Heinlein's Rules

Time out to assess where I am according to Robert Heinlein. From his 1947 essay "On the Writing of Speculative Fiction."



HEINLEIN'S RULES FOR WRITING


1. You must write.
I have close to one hundred short stories in various stages of development and three unfinished novels. Okay, so I write. Unfortunately I've been slacking recently. It's time to get back on target.

2. You must finish what you write.
To date I have finished about one third of the short stories I have started. Must get cracking on the other two thirds.

3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
Okay. I am guilty of tweaking the odd story when it turns up in my rejection box. Who wouldn't? Sorry Robert, I sometimes fail here, but I am learning to let go of my babies.

4. You must put the work on the market.
Check box. To date I have submitted 33 stories to 82 different markets.

5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.
15 acceptances.
88 rejections.
8 submissions lost in the ether, probably never to be seen again.
12 stories pending response.

What is the use of a story that is not told. What is the use of letting a story rot away on the hard drive? Time to set a goal. I'm not going for numbers here. I'm going for persistance, because what Heinlein is saying is clearly that if you are persistant and keep throwing it, some will stick. From today, I will be more persistant in my efforts to get my stories out there for the world to read.
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