Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Rejection & St Swithin's Day

Two rejections in my in box this morning both from the same mag. Unusually, the editor has given a reason - too short. I just checked and the guidelines I'm going by have them at the correct length so maybe their requirements have changed recently. Thing is with this sort of rejection, I'm left wondering whether I should re-submit at the correct word length. But then again, she'd have said as much, wouldn't she? Hey-ho. I don't think I'll bother and the stories in question have both sold in 4 countries each under different guises so no real loss there.

I must get some serious writing done in the next few weeks as my output has dropped massively from what it used to be. I also need the dosh - a good reason for getting down to it!

I fancy trying another crime/thriller. Mainly because they tend to write to a higher word length - well, mine do, anyways. I'd like to target Take A Break some more too. There was a time I'd make it into every monthly Fiction Feast - not so these days. It's entirely my own fault. I've let other things get in the way. The day job for instance. Himself owns a butchers/bakery shop and I've def spent more time this past year filling in for staff absences/holidays or just generally catching up on making BBQ stuff. Ha! Consdering the downpour we have here, there won't be many BBQ's lit today. Nor for the foreseeable weekend as it's forecast rain and more rain.

Did you know today is St Swithin's Day? Do you recall this Elizabethan rhyme?

'St. Swithin's day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St. Swithin's day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain nae mair.'

According to :

Legend has it that as the Saxon Bishop of Wincester lay on his deathbed, he asked to be buried out of doors, where he would be trodden on and rained on. For nine years, his wishes were followed, but then, the monks of Winchester attempted to remove his remains to a splendid shrine inside the cathedral on 15 July 971. According to legend there was a heavy rain storm either during the ceremony or on its anniversary.

And so the old wive's tale was born that if it rains on St Swithin's Day (July 15th), it will rain for the next 40 days in succession, and a fine 15th July will be followed by 40 days of fine weather.

However, according to the Met Office, it's nothing other than a myth - well they would say that. Anyway, it's been put to the test on 55 occasions*, when it has been wet on St Swithin's Day and 40 days of rain did not follow.

* source: the book entitled 'Red Sky At Night'

As writers we should be aware of such events and use them to our advantage by incorporating them into our stories. Says me who didn't know what day it was until that nice weather girl mentioned it this morning on GMTV! So I'm making a note right now on my 'story calendar'. Next year I'll have a St Swithin's story pubbed - watch this space (but not too closely)!


Teresa Ashby said...

I didn't realise it was St Swithin's Day today - or the origins! Very interesting post, Sue!

Sue Houghton said...

Hi Teresa,
I'll be honest, I thought it was sometime back in April - must've been thinking of April showers!

Diane said...

I'd forgotten the date too. And we had a right downpour yesterday. Guess that means we have it for the next 40 days, then. Or 39 ... and counting ...

I often peg stuff around anniversaries and saints' days and other folklore and customs.

Sue Houghton said...

Hi Diane,
The only problem with using anniversaries to base stories around is that you only get one stab per year.
On the subject of topical stuff - I hear some mags have enough Christmas stories to keep them going for the next few years. I know they're often short of fiction to fill post New Year though. But not New Year resolution stuff - that's been done to death. Having said that - if it's different enough...