inasmuch as it concerns Selling My Soul:
"Psst! Wanna buy a story? Hot new manuscripts, exclusively yours to publish! First American, First Serial, E-rights and reprints! Get 'em while they're hot!"
the cure for the imperfection blues
A little while ago, I found that my use of Habit RPG was exacerbating the imperfection blues. Improvising upon them, you might say. Writing new verses. Singing them incessantly. Giving me, in fact, an earworm.
The imperfection blues is that self-defeating feeling that if you can't be perfect then why even try at all? If you were to give them lyrics and sing them over a three-chord progression, they might go something like this:
I got so much stuff to do today. But I can't get past thing one.
Oh lord, I got stuff to do today. And I can't get past thing one.
I done failed at thing number one, so I know I ain't gonna get nothing done.
But today, oddly enough, Habit RPG cured those blues. Temporary cure? Permanent? I don't know and I don't care. It got me through the day.
The cure for the imperfection blues might be lyricized like this:
So sometimes you can't do it all
And that can make you sad.
But I bet you can still do this!
So it ain't all that bad.
This bit of hopeful doggerel, like so many other song lyrics and most Emily Dickinson poems, employs common meter and thus may be sung to the tune of "Amazing Grace." Sorry about that.
The real-world application of this was to realize I could still do my morning pages even though it was nine o'clock at night. I could still earn the right to check the little checkbox and get rewards for my little 8-bit avatar. And then I could go ahead and submit the phantom phone story to WOMEN DESTROY FANTASY! and check off that box (and get rewarded for it). And then I could check off the "1 hour of writing" sub-item under the "5 hours of writing" daily item and thus minimize the overnight hit point loss.
By rewarding me in-game for doing individual tasks, Habit RPG encourages me to appreciate my accomplishments, however small, and not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. And even though there are days when I can't seem to summon any emotional buy-in for that appreciation, the game mechanic serves as a sort of "fake it 'til you make it" device.
It's really kind of genius, this game.
And now I'm going to check off the "post to 'actually writing blog'" item. Maybe I'll get a random drop! I hope it's cotton candy. My pet wolf cub is hungry!
march's overflowing plate of doom
- 1,699 wds. long
- 3,400 wds. long
OK, so I mentioned in a previous post that "My plate is already full to overflowing for the month of March." Tomorrow is when that plate's contents start slopping over onto the carpet, making a huge mess under the dining room table, and generally becoming impossible to ignore.
Tomorrow is March 15, which is when the two-week (ish) submissions periods for Women Destroy Fantasy! and Women Destroy Horror! begin. Those periods end on March 31. I've got my submission for Fantasy! ready to go: the phantom phone story currently titled "It's For You" was declined by the last place I sent it to, so it's available and ready to hit the slush. But my hopeful for Horror!, the snow apocalypse in June story currently titled "The Impact of Snowflakes," is in the process of revision and is really digging its heels in about it.
Also this past week has been depressingly unproductive. Put it this way: I've lost an embarrassing amount of hit points over on Habit RPG. Today's especially gonna hurt; I spent most of the day running around trying to figure out how to make the best of bad skates while my good skates are unusable thanks to broken plates and the new plates don't arrive until Monday. Also cleaning bearings. Very old-school bearings, with solid cases and no way to expose the interior. Very filthy old-school bearings. Oh, roller derby, you eat up so much of my life, with your constant demands for time, attention, energy, and functional equipment.
And that's before we talk about yet another submissions period I want to get in on. I should very much like to send my funny snow-glue apocalypse story, currently titled "Anything For A Laugh," to Unidentified Funny Objects #3 before their March 31 deadline. And I haven't even begun the revision process on that sucker. I have a rough intuitive sense that it will be less harrowing than that required by "The Impact of Snowflakes," but I'm not optimistic about the accuracy of this non-observation.
(A friend who critiqued both "Snowflakes" and "Laugh," noticing the similarity in theme, asked me, "What's up with you and snow?" Without missing a beat, I answered, "I don't like it." Which is roughly true. But I had entirely failed to notice that I was building a sort of track record with snow apocalypses.)
Next week is a whole new week. This is what I keep telling myself. And it's true! The sun'll come up tomorrow, and all that. Nevertheless, the fact remains that there aren't a lot of whole new weeks left March.
So now you know what I'll be working on next week. And why the whole "doom" thing above. Although it must be said, everything's better with doom. Or chainsaws. It depends on your aesthetic.
stuff of mine that you can read right now this second
- 6,000 wds. long
We interrupt this week of (non)productivity reports to bring you more news from the realms of publication, those fabled fields to which we make far too few visits and to which we always strive to arrive with more frequency. That news is this:
You can now buy and download the e-book version of NAMELESS Digest Issue #3, in which appears my story "Lambing Season". If you like physical copies, especially great big hefty ones that look more like an anthology than a magazine, you can buy that here.
One- and two-year subscriptions are also available. People who produce magazines love it when people subscribe.
Editor Jason V Brock, accompanied by a Liz (a Lizard of Some Distinction), will give you a five-minute video tour of the table of contents. I watched the video last night at the kitchen table where John and I were working. John looked up from his computer and made happy-hands gestures when Jason namechecked me.
(Just so's y'all know, though, it really is actually "Luh-BUFF". At conventions, I hand out little home-printed business cards that say "It ryhmes with 'I write stuff'". That tends to get a chuckle, and also to be memorable.)
If you're interested in a very wide range of what might be considered "horror", head on over and get yourself a copy. As for me, I'm watching my mail like the proverbial hawk, because there will be a contributor copy in the box any day now. And with it a contributor's check. This will be my second sale ever to a professional-rate market; finally having the print and spendable evidence of it in my hands will go a long way towards reassuring me that my first such sale wasn't a fluke.
the hoped-for thing occurs in the space one makes for it
I have good news! I have sold a story! For publication! Where you can see it--or, at least, hear it! Not yet, but soon!
That's the short story. Now, clear the way, 'cause here comes the long version.
This year I set out to be a more reliably productive writer. I set myself daily goals both in terms of a checklist of particular writing projects and hours spent writing at all. Thus far, at least overall, I've succeeded.
Now, success for a working writer can be tricky to measure. The stuff that's visible to people who aren't me tends to be beyond my control. Getting a story published, for instance, requires the cooperation of an editor who wants to pay me for the rights to print my story. And then there's the matter of my improvement as a writer, which is totally within my control but, to a large extent, not really mine to judge. Not reliably, anyway. Not objectively. So I have to measure my success in terms of those things I can both control and objectively measure: time spent writing, projects in which I make tangible progress, pieces finished and ready to send out into the world.
One of the items that's on my daily checklist and which counts towards hours spent on the clock is submissions procedures--activities surrounding what might be termed the "business end" of this gig. Sending a piece to a market, for instance, or logging a market's response to the submission. Rediscovering something of mine published during college and considering whether it has reprint potential, and, if so, where at. Something along those lines needs to happen every day.
This has resulted in greater success than I've enjoyed for some years now in terms of a particular objective metric: the number of individual pieces of short fiction that are out on submission, i.e. in slush, a.k.a. marked "Pending Response" over at the Submissions Grinder, at a single time. At one point that number was seven. That's small beans compared with some writers, but for me it's personal high.
The amount of stories I currently have out on submission is a number I can control. The amount of stories I have sold for publication is not. But these two numbers are not without causal connection. Even the most cynical writer must agree that your chances at publication go up based on your frequency of manuscript submissions--well, assuming a certain base-level quality of manuscript, of course, and a certain amount of common sense in deciding where to submit what.
Which is taking the long way around to announcing that, attributable at least in part to being determined this year to increase the number and frequency of my manuscript submissions, I've made my first sale of 2014. My sad, sisterly science fiction short-short story "Other Theories of Relativity" will be read aloud during an upcoming episode of Tina Connolly's podcast Toasted Cake.
I'm just tickled all rose-hued about it. I've never had a story of mine podcast before. I've never had a story of mine read aloud to the public by anyone other than myself. I'm excited and also, truth by told, kind of scared about it. There is no rational reason for being scared about it, but I am, a little. It's related to the same mild terror I experience from the time a send a story out to be workshopped right up until the moment I get the critiques back. And, just like I do after I've heard all the critiques, I know I'll feel all glowy and happy after I've finally heard the podcast with my story in it. So I guess what I'm mainly looking forward to is that moment after hearing it for the first time.
I'm also excited because this is my first sale of a Weekend Warrior (WW) story. WW is one of the annual contests hosted in the private online writers' community Codex (which you should check out--if you qualify, if you even think you qualify, do not hesitate to apply, because Codex is awesome). The contest lasts for five weeks. Each Friday, a handful of prompts is posted. You spend the weekend writing a short story from one of those prompts. It must be no longer than 750 words. Winners are determined by averaging all of the contest participants' ratings of each others' stories. Participants also give mini-critiques of each story. (Participation is anonymous until The Big Reveal after the contest is over.)
Between the half-formed stories that came from noodling around on the prompts and the actual stories I ended up submitting, there's a wealth of material from my participation in WW 2012. "Other Theories of Relativity" and, in a roundabout way, "When the Bottom Dropped Out of the Soul Market" are the only pieces from that supply that I have submitted anywhere. (On the same day Tina got back to me offering to buy "Other Theories," I also got the form rejection from the Flash Fiction Chronicles contest for "Soul Market"--not one of the finalists, alas.) There is a hell of a lot more story potential waiting for me in that same pocket of my hard drive. All I have to do is dig it up, revise it, polish it, and send it out.
I hope to have happy reports along those lines later on in the year. Later in the year. My plate is already full to overflowing for the month of March. About that, more later. Probably tomorrow.
assembly lines in no particular hurry
- 3,400 wds. long
- 566 wds. long
With recent deadlines behind me and unstructured fiction time ahead, I'm working on "The Impact of Snowflakes." This is another story that has been through the critique mill several times; most recently it received the attentions of my current neighborhood group.
I'm developing a process for this. It's a gradual process, an unhurried process, a process involving itty-bitty bites at a time, a process above all involving very little pressure upon myself. Revision is not a task I approach gleefully. Any strategy I can use to Not Scare Myself Off is a good strategy.
Anyway, it's how "It's For You" got revised and ready to submit, so I'm doing it again. It goes like this:
First, the scribbled-upon hard copies get three-hole-punched and popped into a three-ring-binder. Yesterday I made this process More Fun by acquiring color tab dividers (to separate story from story) along with sticky tabs in fun quilt-print patterns (to separate copy from copy).
Next, the story finds a home in a new Scrivener project using the short story template. An RTF copy of the story gets pulled in under the "Critiques" folder.
Then, I annotate this critiqued draft by entering each critic's feedback as linked comments. Linked comments can be created in any color; I assign one color to each critic. If the critic left me any general comments, I'll type that into a new file that lives folder-wise inside the critiqued draft.
(Here is where I complain a little about Scrivener for Windows. The manual claims that Scrivener remembers which color you used last in a linked comment, such that it will automatically create the next linked comment in that color. LIES. Every single one comes up in default yellow. So it's Highlight text, hit Shift-F4, hope like heck I didn't hit CTRL-F4 instead, type in the comment, right-click on the comment, select "Purple"... and repeat.)
Lastly, I begin typing in the new draft. I use a horizontal split-screen layout so I can reference the critiqued copy and its comments below the split while I type in the new draft above. The new draft, of course, goes in the "Draft" folder, either as one file or many depending on whether I work the scenes out of order.
Right now, I'm in the annotation stage. I'm giving myself permission to go through a single critiqued copy per day. This means that the work goes very slowly. But it also means a certain amount of composting--that background-level "thinking about things" process--happens too. Each person's feedback gets a day and a night of subconscious chewing-over. Hopefully that means that by the time I begin working on the new draft, possible solutions to the problems raised in the workshop are beginning to bubble into consciousness.
And oh boy are there problems in this story. The main thing I'm wibbling about is the isolation of the main character. I mean, yes, you get somewhat isolated when you live alone and the Snowpocalypse is shutting down the world little by little, but there's phones and internet and TV and stuff, and emergency personnel with their vehicles with their flashing lights and sirens. This is not an intimate two-person story like "It's For You." This is a worldwide crisis story. Which means I have to populate the world in which it occurs.
When wibbling, it's so very helpful to focus in on small, bite-sized tasks. Nibble-sized tasks. Tomorrow, I don't have to worry about populating the whole world. All I have to do is annotate the critiqued draft with the feedback scribbled on the next copy in my binder. I cannot begin to tell you what a relief that is.
In other news, Lightspeed has already declined "Other Theories of Relativity" for their Women Destroy Science Fiction issue. Which means that story is free to go knock on another editor's door. And because it's always easier to knock on a stranger's door if you've got a buddy, I sent along "The Day the Sidewalks Melted," who's seeking a first reprint home, to keep it company.
The two stories are oddly similar. I'm trying to consider this a plus. It's not "oh, dear, not one but two stories about broken relationships and loss and disaster written in a sort of Second Person of Direct Address point of view, hasn't this author any other tricks?" No. It's "My, what a lovely diptych of microfiction this is." Yes. That's exactly what it is.
mother may i
- 2,850 wds. long
If last week moved slowly, still it finished up where it needed to be. "Other Theories of Relativity" and "It's For You," both much transformed from the previous drafts, both went out into the wide world. And then, just for grins, so did "First Breath" in hopes of seeing it in reprint.
This is my second time sending it out as a reprint. The first time, I had the unmitigated chutzpah to suggest it might be appropriate for the VanderMeer's feminist spec fic anthology.
About which, I hasten to add, there is nothing wrong. An author needs unmitigated chutzpah to believe her writing worth others' reading at all. And this was a story that at least one editor had judged worthy to pay pro money for and press between hardback covers in a table of contents alongside some pretty awesome authors, so its quality wasn't in question.
However, I had some moments of crawling insecurity about it. One the one hand, the VanderMeers' anthology was to survey feminist speculative fiction from the 1970s onward; did I really think this little story could stand up in that kind of company?
Obviously, the proper answer to that question was, "Don't deny the editors a chance to decide for themselves. Send it in."
But on the other hand, there was the much more devastating insecurity having to do with not having published nor even finished another story since then. Did I think that having made this one sale, I was done? Was I just going to try to milk those 2,900 words or so for all I could get out of them and call it a career?
Well, no, of course not. But all those demons of the family Imposter Syndrome were jeering at me about it. Or shaking their heads sadly. Or just asking, in a tone of grave concern, whether I thought I had the right to try to reprint this story when I hadn't sold any new ones since.
So I sent it anyway. And it was not chosen for the anthology. And that was fine and good and about how these things generally go. (What was chosen? I do not know. A brief search has not turned up news on the anthology. I presume it's still in production.)
Flash forward to yesterday, when I sent it out again. Whole different story.
For one thing, far less pressure: The market I submitted it to is quite respected, but it's just another market. It isn't trying to be a piece of literary history. So that made things easier.
What made it even easier was knowing that it was one of seven pieces I had out in the slush. Seven! Two reprint submissions, one unpublished story on its eighth trip out, and four stories that were Brand Spanking New, Never Before Submitted, Never Before Seen By Editorial Eye, Setting Foot In Slush For the First Time! Seven. And by the end of the week I'll have sent two more reprint submissions out.
That's more stuff simultaneously in slush than I've had since, oh, 2006 or so. I think that's a dandy measure of the success of my new day-to-day work routine.
Now, it can't be overstated that my little fearing monsters' concerns that maybe I hadn't yet earned the right to try to reprint "First Breath" yet were--there's no way to say this gently--total bullshit. Well-intentioned bullshit, true, but bullshit none the less. You earn the right to reprint a story by having the rights of a previously published story of yours revert to you. Simple as that. There's no additional mechanism required and no further permission that you need.
But having what feels like a shit-ton of other writing out on editors' desks really helps.
Yes, this has been an "I feel like a writer!" blog post. Yes, I'm still doing those from time to time. Kinda pathetic, I know. Hey, we get our affirmation where we can, right? And the best kind of affirmation is the kind we can make on our own. Behold: I am a self-affirmation-making machine, my friends. A veritable one-woman factory cranking out the stuff.
Which will no doubt comfort me later on in the week when I'm trying to individually position grains of salt and pepper on the soup of the next short story in the revision queue.
not quite like athena
And then yesterday didn't happen. But look! Today, I finished a thing and I submitted that thing. I submitted it to Lightspeed. I am helping to Destroy Science Fiction!
*pats self on head*
The opening line I posted earlier? Didn't end up using it. It now lives in a file in the "Deleted Scenes" folder of the story's Scrivener project, along with a few other false starts and removed verbiage. This is because the story went in a different direction than it did during that first draft, which makes it an entirely different story. Which means the story that the first draft was pointing toward could yet happen. You never know.
Writerly observation of the week: Write it down, no matter how little or incomplete.
Unpacking that: Sometime this week, probably during a drive to or from Longmont (tomorrow night will be my first night all week not doing anything derby-related), I got an insight for the story. In the stalled-out draft, the Caroline-type character has just said a thing to the Louise-type character, and her voice sounded very calm and clear despite the situation. In my head, the Louise-type character makes an observation about her sister's voice, how it reminded her of other times her sister had whispered audacious ideas in her ear and led her into trouble. That's it. That's all. Just a small observation that added a small amount to what little I knew about their history.
I spent far too much time turning that over and over in my head. "OK, but so what? What does that mean? How am I going to use that?"
Today I said, "All right already," and took that tiny insight and added it to the draft. And that's when the draft changed direction and raced headlong toward its brand new goal.
I keep rediscovering this: Stories cannot be completed inside my head. They will not erupt from my skull fully formed and with gray eyes flashing. No, sadly, there comes a point where they simply hit a brick wall in there. And yet, magically, once I give in and just write down what I've got so far, that physical act of writing it down (and also the visual act of reading it) sparks the next idea that I'd been straining for in vain thus far. It's like a small plant that's gottne root-bound in its seedling cup; it needs to be transplanted into the wider world. Only once I put it on the page does it finally bloom.
Also, here's another writerly observation: Drop one name from a classic novel, and it's a literary allusion. Drop two names, and you risk your story looking like fan-fiction. This is not ideal if you're trying to sell the piece to a professional market.
Anyway. Here's hoping tomorrow's rewrite project goes as well as today's did.
but then they make you do it all over again
Today was a raging success. Behold:
Finished, had critiqued, revised, and submitted my 243-word entry to String-of-10. My friend and colleague Julie was also entering the contest, and suggested we exchange critiques. We spent some time on the phone tonight helping each other revise, and then we also navigated Flash Fiction Chronicles's Submittable interface together. "What do you suppose they want in that text field?" "I don't know, but my best guess is..." "Oh, OK, that sounds plausible."
We're a team!
Also researched, finished, proofed and submitted my first Demand Media Studios article since November. I have this stupid mental block about working for DMS. Logically, I know that I should be milking the heck out of this gig. I somehow got approved to write articles for LIVESTRONG despite my absolute lack of any fitness or nutrition background at the time--which is weird, considering I have a friend who makes his living as, among other things, a fitness coach, but his application got rejected. WTF, DMS?!--so now I get to write minimally researched 500-word articles for $30 each. This is easy money. I should take better advantage of it.
But somehow my soul sort of rolls over and dies when it contemplates working on an article. Even a softball topic (for me) like "The Crossover Technique on Roller Skates" puts me in a mindless procrastination trance for a week.
Well, the dang thing was due today, so finally around 8:00 p.m. I knuckled into it. I'd already pulled up some useful Derbylife articles and a fantastic tutorial video from Naomi Grigg (a.k.a. The Neutrino, rostered with the Rat City Rollergirls team "Sockit Wrenches") the week before, so really I just had to do exactly what I did last time I led Phase 1 training: Explain the crossover.
I submitted the article towards the end of the 10:00 hour. 11:30, I was perplexed that it wasn't showing on my Work Desk under "recently submitted." This turned out to be because it had already been accepted. That's got to be the shortest amount of time an article of mine ever spent on an editor's desk at DMS. (The editor left very nice comments for me, too.)
Today also featured "finally got around to it" accomplishments enabled in part by McGuckin Hardware. The tube of E6000 epoxy restored the handle to the lovely little Japanese teapot that Avedan gave me some years back. The tip of a bamboo skewer dipped into a tube of gold acrylic paint added just the lightest touch of color to the job, kintsugi style. (Very, very light. These are not actually the right materials for kintsugi, and I didn't want to risk diluting the epoxy too much.) The Elmer's Glue-All finally got me to complete a long-planned project of whimsy and childhood nostalgia: converting an old miniature dry-erase board into a black felt storyboard. I also replaced the roll of gold duct tape that needs to live in my skate bag.
Lastly, I finally processed about a half-inch of the Pile Of Papers That Need Dealing With. Those things that required more than filing--bills to pay and stuff like that--got put in my brand-new wall-mounted inbox for dealing with on the morrow. My brand-new wall-mounted inbox is, very simply, a bit of folded and taped cardboard that I impaled on some of the nails coming through the naked wall in the office.
I'm just resourceful like that.
Thus, today was awesome. And now today is over. Tomorrow looms. It seems dreadfully unfair not to get a little time off between making today awesome and being expected to make tomorrow awesome. I shall have to file a bug report about that.
i think it's a story
- 1,300 wds. long
It got finished. It got submitted. I'm not entirely sure I'm happy with what I ended up with, but that's life with what's essentially a very polished first draft. It's 1300 words with a beginning, middle, and an end, which means at the very least it is a story.
I feel very bad-ass when I spend a sustained number of hours bringing a story draft to completion. I also feel exhaustion. Endurance was never my strong suit, but I'm working on it.
In logging my submission on my personal database, I had occasion to notice I hadn't logged my previous rejection from The First Line ("Anything For a Laugh," which has recently been critiqued by my neighborhood group). In correcting this lapse, I had occasion to reread the previous rejection letter. It was a form rejection, very brief, but appended just beneath the signature was an even briefer personal note: "Fun story, Nicole. Just missed. Try us again."
I think I failed to notice it before. I don't recall feeling this encouraged at the time. It made me grin, reading it today.
So I have tried them again, and intend to try them more often. Writing to prompts is fun! The next prompt, with a due date of May 1, is "Please, Sylvia, give me a moment to think." (Why am I flashing on the Doctor Who 2005 riff on The Weakest Link?)
Tomorrow: Working weekend continues, as I get my 250-or-fewer words in order for the String-of-Ten contest.
back in the slush with you
- 2,986 wds. long
Dear universe: My complaints about not having submitted anything last week were not, I repeat, not meant as a request that a manuscript I had out in slush get rejected so that I could submit it again. Sheesh! Work with me here, OK?
So "Blackbird" will not be in C.C. Finlay's guest-edited issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Like all non-acceptance outcomes, this is sad. I sigh a wistful sigh. (Wait for it... *sigh* ...OK.)
However! The rejection letter was personal (like almost all rejection letters for this particular issue of F&SF, do not expect this with other issues of F&SF), and described the story in glowing terms. Which means an editor of renown has had the opportunity to link my name to a pleasant prose-reading experience. This is a thing, isn't it? This is definitely a thing. Always look on the bright side.
The problem with this story is, the protagonist is a writer. The plot involves writing. That's kind of not a good thing for commercial viability. The plot also involves a demon, and quite possibly the End Of The World (again), but these elements simply don't outweigh the writing element, it would seem. I've had two rejection letters now that say, basically, "Writers will dig it, but non-writers will not, and among our readership non-writers outnumber the writers like woah." The other rejection letters didn't say that, but since they also didn't say much beyond some form of "did not suit our needs at this time," I can't be sure they weren't thinking it.
Damn it, I am not going to rewrite this story to be about a sculptor who can't let the clay dry or the demon gets out. Besides, that trick wouldn't fool anyone. "Isn't this just writing in disguise?" Yes. That's exactly what it would be.
I have begun to feel foolish for continuing to shop this story around.
After that first rejection that mentioned the problem of writers writing about writing, I got in a conversation with other writers. One of 'em said to me, "So sell it to a literary journal. They love that kind of thing." I lamented, "But literary journals will insist that the demon is merely metaphorical!" And yet, and yet... they had a point.
Today, while logging the rejection at The Submission Grinder (currently in BETA)*, I remembered that conversation. And so, after clicking the handy and benevolent "Find a new home for this story," which kindly and effortlessly produces a market search form pre-filled with your story's details, I tweaked the menus to look for literary/mainstream markets.
Scanning the results, I noticed Glimmer Train.
Glimmer Train? But don't they change reading fees?
Yes. Except for three non-contiguous month-long fee-free submission periods per year. One of which happens to be January.
Well, hell. I dug up my old password to their online submission system (which, it turns out, I last utilized to submit them a story ten years ago), logged in, and shipped "Blackbird" right back out.
Never let a manuscript sleep over, so they say. Well, I didn't. And there you go.
*Sort of a Duotrope replacement for those who don't want to pay for a subscription to Duotrope, and who think Duotrope could have been more useful than it was when it was free. Designed by a web programmer who's a writer, and who's willing and eager to bring writers' dreams of a Duotrope that's more useful than Duotrope to life.(back)