being stupid, er, human
I am quite well aware that I am not a perfect being, but sometimes I seem to need to drive the point home.
Take yesterday, for example.
I was on such a roll of productivity (a great 5:30am bike ride in the cool rain, migration of this site to a cleaner theme, more revision on “Have Mech, Will Travel”, and such), including an eager send off of “The Aesthetician” to another market. I’m very excited about the potential response for this one, both because of the quality of the story and because I think it is particularly well-suited to this market.
A few hours later, while working some more on “Have Mech…”, I discovered that I was revising an earlier version of the story. I double-checked and found it to be so. Thankfully, the revisions I had made to the older version would carry forward to the newer version, so I had not wasted any effort.
But that got me thinking. And worrying. And when I double-checked, I discovered I had done the same thing with “The Aesthetician”, the one I had submit a few hours previously. After I dragged my stomach up out of the basement, I did a quick comparison and found that the vast majority of revision I had done would hold for the newer version, because it was really only the final couple pages which differed between them.*
But the difference between those two endings, while textually minor, produces a profound difference in the meaning and reception of the climactic moment.
The market does not allow for multiple submissions, nor does it allow for automatic retraction of submissions, so I was left to write a brief but embarrassed and apologetic email to the editors directly, explaining the situation and asking for the chance to submit the proper version.
And now, I must move on and simply hope for the best. It sits like acid in my belly, though, when I do this kind of thing.
I wonder if Stephen King ever made these mistakes.
* And I forgot to re-size the page borders to 1″, per the submission directions.