Every now and then, I get some good advice from the editors who reject my stories. Just recently, Glimmer Train said no to my submission about a poor soul stuck in a time loop—but they included some helpful pointers with their form letter:

1. Focus on the writing itself

2. Words should be consciously chosen

3. Find and use the right verb

4. Avoid overused expressions

5. Create evocative images

6. Read stories aloud to determine their flow and rhythm

7. Something important must change in the story

At first glance, I thought, “Well, duh. Of course. I’m already doing all of the above.” But alas, that was the immature hemisphere of my brain processing thoughts at the time. Giving it a second glance, I realized I had much to glean from these seven succinct admonitions.

First of all, I don’t always focus on the writing; I focus on the story. I have (what I think is) a cool idea, interesting characters, adequate conflict, and a climax with some kind of a “twist.” I often revise as I go, tightening things up and choosing more expressive words as I do so, but it’s definitely an area where I can improve. I’m getting better at picking the right verbs (instead of using muchos adverbos), yet clich├ęs often crop up in my writing. I could blame my beloved Nana and say it’s in my blood . . . but I won’t.

Anyhow, thanks to Glimmer Train, the revision of my time loop story turned out to be better than the version I submitted to them, and now it’s up to Weird Tales to recognize it as such: no longer a diamond in the rough, but a pearl of great price. (Mixed metaphors are something I inherited from my beloved mother.)
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