O Greatest Saint Who Rules with Extensive Magnanimity (and Expert in Writing and Publishing Minus the Legal/Fiscal Stuff)!
I badly need your advice in re: Unofficial Genre Limits. I am currently attempting to write a love scene, and it's getting pretty graphic. Unfortunately, this isn't an erotic romance; it's a science fiction novel. In my opinion, the details aren't gratuitous. They emerged as a potent way to illustrate a complex psychological dynamic and a few key plot points. While it feels right for this story, I've never read a science fiction novel with explicit sex before--at least, not human-on-human. Have you? If you came across something like this in the slush pile, would you reject on this basis alone? I'm not going to change the book to fit in some arbitrary box unless I also think it will make it a better book, but naturally I'd be interested to know if I'm choosing an unpublishable path before I even finish the first draft.
P.S. Any puns contained herein were unintentional I SWEAR.
POTENT HURR HURR. We have never rejected due to explicitness of scandalous moments; that seems very Puritan. (We have rejected due to Grossness of scandalous moments, yes. If the word "wiener" figures into your scene in a non-ironic way, you have a real problem.) If someone loves your novel but thinks the Intimate Moments are a little too Intimate, we would assume they'd just ask you to cut them. If an Agent was all like "Great Scott, what a marvelous novel! And yet, pp. 34-42 leave me blushing! INTO THE SHREDDER IT GOES," that person wouldn't be a very good Agent. We have definitely read sci-fi novels with naughty bits in them; that is in fact how we learned the Facts of Life as a tot (also, reading The Mammoth Hunters out loud in the back of the schoolbus with our friend Kate; Jean M. Auel's "rape: it's smokin' hot!!!" sex scenes will FUCK A PERSON UP FOR LIFE, so don't let that happen to YOUR children!). Basically, we pronounce you good to go. If anyone reading is an Experienced Editor/Agent of the Science Fictions, which the Rejectionist is not, please feel free to weigh in on this topic. FYI, the Rejectionist only approves comments with dirty jokes if they are feminist. If you have to ask yourself if it's feminist, it isn't.
Dear luminous pole-star 'round which the literary cosmos twirl,
I am Canadian, which is really not so bad. Recently, my provincial Arts Council descended into madness and decided to award me a sizable grant to help with living expenses while I finish my WIP. I mean, hooray! Of course hooray! But also, whoa! This is an especially lunatic decision because a) my WIP is a work of post-apocalyptic YA science fiction and, b) I am an unpublished writer.
But astonishment aside, this is my question: when my WIP is finally finished and polished to a high gloss, and the time comes to query, do I mention the grant? After all, it's not the same as a publication credit. But it's not nothing either. Or is it?
I thank the universe for the internet which allowed The Rejectionist to be.
Very Sincerely Yours,
Gobsmacked in Toronto
Oh, you think you're so clever because you have health insurance. Anyway, congratulations!!!! And, yes! for sure you mention this lovely accolade! It can be super confusing to know what sort of thing to put in one's Credentials Section, we know this. "Sizable grant," though? Absolutely. New Yorkers are notorious for not knowing anything about the geography of the rest of the continent, and may not be suitably awestuck by "Regional Arts Council" especially if they are unable to pinpoint said Region on a map, AND "sizable" is more impressive if it's specific even if you aren't querying a New York agent, SO in this case we would actually mention a dollar amount. Prestigious grants (either a big name or big dollars) and well-known residencies are always fair game for your writerly résumé. (And you know, although we certainly roll our eyes sometimes at the things people see fit to identify as Credentials, we would personally never ever reject an otherwise intriguing query just because you said something silly in your bio. Promise.)
Dear Leader with Extraordinary Personality,
After months of vacillation, I'm now the proud owner of a pair of Galaxy leggings. They are beautiful. On the other hand, I have never owned a pair of leggings before in my life. How might one wear them to their best advantage, but without appearing entirely immodest and/or too pleased with one's splendid figure? The long-tee-shirt-with-leggings thing is right out, as most such shirts are really loose through the torso, which makes me feel like I'm wearing a nightgown. While this likely isn't the most profound query you've received, "outfits" were on your list of approved topics...
Awaiting your sartorial wisdom,
Mmmmm, sounds confusing, you had better just give them to us. Hee hee. We are of the opinion that it is not possible to be too pleased with one's splendid figure, but if you are working up to that sort of chutzpah, we understand. We tend to wear our leggings with tight-ish butt-covering tank tops (see how happy that lady is, sitting in her washing machine with her long tank top!) and then a super-ratty T-shirt over that (currently in heavy rotation, if you are curious: a Baphomet shirt we got off ebay (when we won the auction the total came to $6.66, NO JOKES) and a Harley-Davidson shirt in such a state of decrepitude that we can literally watch it disintegrate every time we wear it). Drapey cardigans are also your friend. You can get used to that whole nightgown feeling, too, swearsies. It's liberating after a while. Like: I LOOK SO FANCY, AND YET I AM BASICALLY WEARING PAJAMAS. I WIN EVERYTHING. But if it drives you nuts try a Statement Belt. Or, you know, take it to the next level with a Christopher Kane galaxy dress to match.
The Great Questions of Our Time may be addressed to rejectionistandyourmom[at]gmail.com.