Sunday, February 16, 2003
This just in from Lance Smith: It's probably not fair to judge a movie by its trailer, but it looks like
the movie version of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is going to be as bad
as the movie version of the Sandman might have been. (And might still be for
all I know.) The fact that they're referring to it as LXG is quite ominous.

You can see the trailer here:

And I got a phone call from Mark Askwith today to say (among other things) that if you go and see Daredevil you will never get that two hours of your life back again.

Hi Neil,

This may seem a kind of embarrassing question (though I don't mean it to be), so up to you whether you want to answer this one...

As a writer (unpublished) I've read a lot of reassuring things in various places to the effect that 'When you get rejection slips/letters, remember that published authors get them too. Even famous, successful ones. Honest.'

Do you? And where from?

(Like I said, you don't have to answer that, but there are probably a lot of writers out here who'd be grateful, and might feel slightly better about the large brown envelopes with our own writing on that keep falling through the letterbox, if you did...)

Sarah C.

Actually, what happens when you hit "famous and successful" tends to be that you run into a completely different problem, which is not knowing if something should have been rejected. I'm quite grateful to a number of early rejection slips: they mean that things that weren't really good enough weren't published. I learned a lot from them. (In one case I learned that if you give a story back to an editor that he read a few months ago, and assure him that all the problems he had with it are now fixed, without actually doing anything to to it, because you're pretty certain that it was okay, he may print it). There are stories in boxes -- there's even a whole children's book -- that I'm happy (now) that I got rejection slips for. Having had them published would have been worse. (There's a reason why three early short stories that were published remain uncollected to this day. And probably will remain so forever.)

These days the odds are pretty good that if I've written a short story with a beginining, middle and end and it has my name on it'll be published.

So then I get to worry that everything's really unpublishable, and they're only taking it because it has my name on it, or to be kind. So then I don't really breathe out until the story's in a Best of the Year anthology, when I figure it was probably okay after all. But even so, between sending in the story and hearing from the editor, I'm normally still on tenterhooks, convinced that it will be rejected -- this despite the fact that with one exception every story I've written in the last decade has had someone waiting to publish it, which meant someone had already come to me and said "I'm doing a contemporary pulp anthology and would you write an M.R. Jamesian ghost story for me?" or whatever. (And the one exception, a story called "Other People" which I wrote on a plane trip to New York a couple of years ago, rather to my surprise, I sent to Gordon Van Gelder at F&SF, because I knew Gordon vaguely and liked him and thought it felt like an F&SF sort of story. And was convinced he'd say no to it until he said yes.) Which proves that writers worry too much, probably.

Does that help?