month I told you about my
As much as I hate to admit it, I
pulled another boneheaded stunt involving that same submittal.
Something worse than rushing to the post office in my pajama bottoms,
you ask. Could it get any more embarrassing?
Trust me; it did. This mishap
definitely qualifies for The Crazy Writers’ Club.
After finishing last month’s
article, I went to my filing cabinet, pulled out the folder on my
previous victim, and discovered an even worse faux pas—one I’d love to
forget. Have I no shame? Apparently not—or maybe it’s just that I’m
hoping to help others not to do what I did.
Anyway, I found a letter in the
folder I mentioned. Written (and faxed) to the same editor a few days
after my “pajama bottom” episode, this communication seemed important
at the time. Now, my face burns with humiliation.
Deep down, you want to see the
letter, don’t you?
Shame on you.
Oh, why am I chiding you? I’m
the one who brought it up. On the other hand, writing is all about
conflict, isn’t it? We put our characters into rough places and want
them to work themselves out of their predicament. Too bad the best
novelist couldn’t have written me out of this particular quandary.
Before I go any further, this is
the part where you’re supposed to work with me again—where you’re
supposed to say, “It’s all right, Deb. I’ve done the same thing. Just
be yourself. Open up and let it rip. This will help me
in my writing endeavors.”
Thank you. I was hoping you’d
First, I’d like to warn you that
once you have sent in your manuscript to an editor, you have no excuse
for the following type of communication, whether it's by e-mail, snail
mail, facsimile, even by carrier pigeon. I don’t care if you have to
strap yourself down with your husband’s duct tape. Don’t do it. (If
you’re single, ask the other men in your life for some. If you’re a
man, you probably have your own. Most men have duct tape, don’t they?)
Speaking of husbands, mine
gained another Kodak moment (like the one from last month) during this
little escapade of mine. In his businesslike manner, prior to my
committing this grievous error, he said, “Are you sure you want to do
I waved my hand. “Yes, I’m
sighed. “All right then.” No modicum of curiosity came from him like
the last time. Rather, an air of certainty dangled from his voice.
Don’t you hate it when your
husband’s right? Personally, I find it annoying.
Oh, back to the letter. Sorry.
I’m getting there. It’s just that it suddenly feels chilly again, like
the morning I stood outside the post office in my pajama bottoms.
omitted some portions, and
changed names and titles to protect the innocent. Some of my thoughts
are included along the way:
I mailed a story to you this
past Saturday. I later realized, after mailing it, that I had made an
error, so I located a fax number that I might get this to you in a
How astute of me. Don’t
you think? If I remember correctly, I wasn’t supposed to fax anything.
The story submitted was indeed
specifically written for your publication, and yet in my eagerness to
please you, I became careless, not realizing until after the fact that
I had exceeded the word count and made other errors as well.
Was the story “indeed
specifically written” for their publication? Well, I should hope so.
And I made other errors? Interesting. (Stay tuned for more stories
when/if I find or remember what those other errors were.)
I sincerely apologize. I know
faxing a letter to you in this manner is not proper protocol, but this
was my first chance at submitting my work to anyone and I don’t want it
to be my last. Most importantly, I would never exceed an editor’s
guidelines or presume for an editor to accept something less than
perfect. I know your time is very valuable, and I’m capable of better.
Presume? This editor has no idea how sorry of a person, I mean, how
sorry I really am. (What was it I said last month? You know, before I
started writing again. Oh, yes. I remember now. “How hard can it be,
right?” About that duct tape that I mentioned earlier . . .)
I enclosed an SASE with the
story for return when it arrives, and I would be happy to submit this
again, if acceptable, in the proper manner.
Yes, it’s so bad that I
want them to return it to me right away—unread. Not only that, I’ll
send it back to them.
Can you believe this?
I tell myself I’m a confident
woman, unafraid to share my failures and triumphs, and that’s the
reason I can share my blunders with you. (If you believe that, I’m also
best buds with Stephen King, and I’m a famous
novelist writing under a pseudo name.)
Seriously, though. You did learn
something from this, didn’t you? Please, say you did. If not, I’m not
sharing my faux pas, I mean, helpful tips with you anymore.
Yeah, right. We both know I
Oh, well. Chalk another one up
for The Crazy Writers’ Club.