Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Welcome Aboard!

As you may have noticed, we have some "new" smiling faces here at Write1Sub1. Please join me in welcoming Erin Cole, Alex Shvartsman, and Jeff Chapman to the team as fellow site administrators. You'll be seeing their names more often next year as they join the monthly rotations moderating Write1Sub1's posts and updates. Check out their bio blurbs on our "About Us" page to learn more about them, and be sure to visit their blogs. You'll be glad you did.

W1S1: How long have you been a W1S1er, and what induced you to start?
Erin: I joined the W1S1 weekly challenge at the beginning of 2012. I thought that increasing my output was the best way to better my writing, as I’ve heard numerous times. Finish one, move onto the next. But so much easier said than done. 

Alex:  I've been a member of W1S1 since its inception in 2011. I learned about the challenge on Stephen Ramey's blog and was instantly excited about the motivational possibilities it entailed. 

Jeff: I joined the first year. I found the idea of a self-imposed but "public" deadline intriguing, and the idea fit with my desire to produce more stories. When Milo told me there was going to be a monthly option, I was in.

W1S1: What have you appreciated the most about this challenge?
Alex: For me, submitting stories isn't a problem. Writing them, on the other hand, is. Setting myself a goal of completing one story a week in 2011 and one story a month in 2012 helped me produce more words than I would have otherwise.

Jeff: The sense of community with the other W1S1 writers has been amazing.
Erin: Learning that I was able to produce many good stories, more than I had expected. Also, the support of W1S1 members was crucial for me, seeing other writers I admire go through the same struggles, disappointments, rejections, and successes made me realize that I wasn’t so different and that every writer goes through similar trial and error to get published.

W1S1: How has W1S1 affected your writing?

Jeff: I'm writing more and that means I have more stories to submit. Hopefully, writing more means that my writing and story creation skills are improving.
Erin: Instead of waiting for story inspiration to come to me, I’ve learned that it can also be developed. Many of my 2012 stories started out very small in plot, theme, and/or character. I just kept adding and threading in ideas. Sooner or later, something clicked and the story began to take on a solid form. I’m getting better at this.

Alex: I always like to say that writing is half about talent and half about craft. And no matter how much talent one might have, craft is something one can only master with practice. Writing a lot and constantly is the only surefire way to improve, and W1S1 has helped me to consistently produce new words.

W1S1: What keeps you motivated to write?

Jeff: I don't know. Something deep inside me insists that I create. W1S1 provides structure to channel that desire into consistent work.

Alex: I love to tell stories and the feeling of sharing them with the readers is what keeps me going. I don't plan on ever trying to make a living from my writing, so the financial aspect of it isn't a major deal for me, but I also love the challenge of breaking into the difficult markets and winning over the slush readers and editors. After all, they're readers too, and they happen to be the toughest/most critical readers one is likely to find!

Erin: My muse has a really big knife. Actually, I enjoy writing, and so that is most of it. But beyond that, on days when I feel lazy or uncertain, I know that I will never reach my goals if I don’t get behind that keyboard and write. Writing is not always fun, can be very difficult and frustrating at times, but that’s part of the process. Great stories take great effort - that's my mantra.

W1S1: Inquiring minds want to know: What's been your best/worst rejection?
Erin: My worst rejection for my story, “Simon Shoeberry’s Pet Sanitarium” to a ‘said professional publication’: “I can see some of the strengths mentioned above, but I'm afraid the plot seemed childish and the writing a little amateur to me.” My best rejection for my story, Jen-6 to a ‘said professional publication’: “I want DESPERATELY to love this. Really I do. It plays to all my reader cookies (sci-fi, social awareness, near future, robots, moms, life in the future same but somehow different.) But I agree. It takes entirely too much effort to read and I LIKE SF and am prepared to expend the effort. This takes more effort than that. We wish you the best of luck finding a home for your story elsewhere, feel confident of your success in doing so, and hope to receive submissions from you in the future.”
Jeff: Most rejections are impersonal thanks but no thanks notes. The worst rejection I received was for "The Hand with the Knife." The editor told me what she thought was wrong with the story and concluded by telling me to buy a book on writing. I had already sold a few stories at this point so I found that a bit insulting and unprofessional. A few days later (after I cooled off), I made some changes to the story based on the feedback. The next editor bought it. I will never submit to the first editor again and I already have some books on writing.

Alex: Worst: I once had a senior editor at a SFWA market whom I respect deeply write to let me know that the story "didn't make any sense" to them. That one stung a little, but I've gone on to get much nicer rejections from them since. Best: I've had an editor reject a story from the anthology I submitted it to, but offer to buy it for another project she was involved in. I've also had an editor at a SFWA market reject a story that was already rejected by his predecessor and go on to accept another story I submitted there just four days prior, in the same email. I'll take those kinds of rejections. In spades!

It's great to have you on board for W1S1 YEAR THREE. I'm looking forward to what 2013 has in store for all of us!


  1. It's great to see some familiar faces joining the W1S1 team!

    1. Ain't it cool? They're going to be great.

  2. Looking forward to W1S1 2013! It's going to be a fun and prolific year.

  3. Welcome to the fun house, my fine quill-bearing friends. Let's make 2013 the best year yet.

  4. Fresh blood, a new look, very nice! Good luck you guys in your new role. 2013, here we come!

    1. Glad you like the new theme -- we're going for medieval epic-ness.