“First in, First out”

Reflecting on the last couple of days, the phrase “First in, first out” came to mind. No, it’s not the motto of the Marines–which I thought when it first popped into my head. In fact, it’s not the motto of ANY armed forces unit. The closest I could find was the U.S. Army’s Pathfinders’ motto: “First in, last out,” which by the changing of that one word, gives the phrase a much different flavor. I didn’t even know there was something called a “pathfinder”–with the exception of a big SUV sort of vehicle. Not only do these Pathfinders have a motto, they have a logo, too:

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It’s quite a nice logo that made me think of Mercury/Hermes, the Roman/Greek god who moved pretty quickly from place to place. The torch must be to “light the way.”

On Saturday morning, I could see a (metaphorical) path right in front of me. Looking at it, I could clearly discern the way: it was illuminated with thoughts of great success and future benefit.

So far as I could tell, I managed to be the very first contest entrant of everyone on the planet who might have wanted to throw a hat into the ring. With all my entry material at the ready, I kept refreshing the screen in the minutes leading up to the noon entry time. At 11:56, the submission page went “live.” I cut and paste with mental focus and digital dexterity; it happened so fast that after I hit “submit,” I wondered whether I should have reviewed the entry more carefully.

Starting on Saturday evening, the editors began going through their piles. In 140 characters or less, they tweeted out assessments.

For all three, I was the first to be reviewed. I think this was a good thing becasue I stood on my own merits and not in comparison to any other entrant. I would be regarded independent of and to the exclusion of all the others.

Here is the feedback:

From Editor #1:  Q1 Upmarket.Query s/b big pic. Want to get invested with MCs b4 action, but comfy voice has me wanting to find out more. LIKE.

From Editor #2: Q1/A/Upmarket. Query is mired in logistics abt jobs, secondary characters, names. Aha–roadtrip! Great. Stakes??? (2/2) Pages lack voice. If we’re alternating POVs, I need super close 3rd or 1st. Needs more personality. PASS.

From Editor #3:  Q1: A/Upmkt Like alt MCs & friendship. Title implies romance. Q gives away end. Missing hook & confl. Opening pgs need hook. NO

You don’t really need to know much more than “like,” “pass,” and “no” all mean the same thing: NO.

And that’s all right. I’m glad for two things:

  1. I tried and got some valuable feedback from those four tweets; and
  2. I came in first (with respect to entry order) and didn’t have to wait until next Saturday to learn “like,” “pass,” and “no.

This week I’m editing: not with a professional editor who “picked” me from the 100 writers who asked for help but alone with my own inner critic who really needs to be tougher on me.

12 thoughts on ““First in, First out”

  1. I think you already know that FIFO is a business term relating to inventory management, ie., first manufactured product in inventory gets shipped first. As opposed to LIFO, last manufactured inventory gets shipped first, or FILO, or LILO. You amaze me in your attitude towards critics and your acceptance of their “expertise”. As I have told you more than once, books do not have to be structurally perfect to be enjoyed, appreciated recommended and most of all purchased. Too much critical review may cause a circular effect where you find yourself back at the beginning (first in) after so many edits. Maybe it’s time for First Out!!! Test the Market!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your continued support, Bob.

      I’ll confess that I had no idea what FIFO, LILO or FILO meant until I poked around google this morning. These acronyms are also short for accounting terms.

      Having never done any on “this” before, I am inclined to listen to the expert critics. I was at an all-day seminar about how to draft the perfect pitch letter (query). I’ll have you know, they specifically said some like, “Never believe what your loving father-in-law might tell about about your writing. He’s biased.”

      So while I’d like to believe you’re right, the “experts” tell me that you are too kind to tell me otherwise.

      I’ll keep swinging.

      P.S. I’ve got another for you to read in a few weeks.


      1. I confess my bias, but I still recall the thousand(s) of books that I have read on airplanes, in hotels, at home and can make comparisons. You will do what is right for your writing career! I will still be a FAN!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. All of these experiences are valuable to a writer, and when rejections come with feedback, all the better. And yes, when I saw “First In, First Out”, I thought of inventory, from my accounting days. I don’t miss them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. LIFO, FIFO, etc are financial terms used to determine basis for asset, inventory, stock holdings and groceries also to determine gain or loss on a sale.
    Example: you buy 10 shares of stock at $5 your basis is $50. You buy 10 more shares at $10 your basis for these 10 is $100. Your total basis is $150 or $ 7.50 per share. Now you sell 10 shares.
    FIFO Method: you sell the first shares purchased. Your basis for the remaining shares is $10 per share.
    LIFO Method: you sell the last 10 shares purchased your remaining basis is $5 per share.
    Average cost method $7.50 per share.

    FIFO should always be used for groceries or you may likely have unwanted vermin….. The bottom line here in a word is “rotate” your food, Keep your stock, and where your HALO proudly. HALO is a military term allowing jumpers to avoid enemy fire and detection. High Altitude, Low Opening.
    Have a great day.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t know much about the publishing process, but it seems that I often read in book intros that an author finally got his/her book published after countless rejections. There’s never a mention of an edit done based on feedback that accompanied rejections. Is it possible that you only need to somehow stumble upon that one elusive editor who will accept the manuscript rather than edit to please someone who has politely passed? Maybe I don’t quite understand, and you’re saying you’ll re-write the query letter and not the book?


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