She was oh-so-right.
Here's one section of the article with my strikeouts.
You, of course, are a writer. Let’s say you are just starting to send out. You are thinking, Am I any good? Will this make people I love believe I’m worthwhile? Is that third
paragraphchapter unnecessary as R said in workshop, but I still like it, and if I keep it, and my storynovel gets published then that will show R, but what if R is right after all? Is this my first step to fame and glory? Am I a genius? Am I in fact too good for this magazineagent I’m sending to or not good enough? Am I an idiot? Will my parents stop suggesting other jobs I could do given my education? Will strangers want to sleep with me because of my prose? Etc. etc.
None of this is of interest to the
editor. agent. Remember the editor’sagent's deepest wish: Send something perfect for us, please.
So your job is to help the
editoragent by sending work that is developed, complete, thoroughly revised , and—of great importance—appropriate for the magazine.(Not as applicable to agent lists as it is to magazine subs)
To do that last part of your job well, you have to read the magazines.
Yes, you do.
Not long ago, within a few days, three aspiring writers stopped me (in the office, in the parking lot, and at an airport gate) to ask: “Where should I send my story which is over 20,000 words long?” “Where should I send my work where it will be accepted as fast as possible? The agent I approached about my novel says I have to have a track record.” “What magazine likes grown-up fables that are a little weird?”
They were asking for a shortcut. It’s natural to want one, when you feel small in a big unknown world, and impatient, wanting results immediately. But I said, to each: “You can’t expect to be a professional if you don’t do your own homework.”
Here's the entire article. I read it and I'd like to have it be required reading for every author. I might just start linking to it in my redirection emails (née rejection emails)
Would this article have helped you when you were starting out?