Friday, May 15, 2009

"Wings" to be Featured in Nocturnal Lyric #69

In late 2007 and early 2008 I went on a short story submissions bender. In reality, I should probably be submitting my work like this all of the time, but I get lazy or I focus on longer projects and the submissions inevitably begin to taper off shortly after the initial round’s rejections come filtering back in. Poor work habits, I know.

Two of my manuscripts never made their way back and while organizing a new manuscript tracking method this morning I decided to contact both publishers to see what might have happened. One is a website called East of the Web, and I believe I’ve contacted them before about my manuscript. I can’t be certain, because my original tracking software declared mutiny on me and destroyed all of my data (and refuses to read the backup), but I do believe I’ve queried them within the past half year to find out what has happened to my submission. Today I contacted them again and let them know that I consider their silence a rejection sans notification and will be submitting my piece elsewhere.

The other publisher is a small press horror magazine called The Nocturnal Lyric. They were my first publication credit, printing a story I wrote called “Last Hope” back when I was eighteen. I still have my contributor’s copy on my shelf. They really have a special place in my big, gooey, dorky heart.

My story “Wings” has been on their desk since March of 2009, right as their reading deadline was looming. I wasn’t even sure when I mailed it if I was going to make the cutoff or not, and today I decided to contact Susan Moon, the editor, to find out the fate of my story. When I went to their website, I discovered that they no longer send out rejection or acceptance letters, or at least haven’t for the recent handful of issues, and that “Wings” would be in their upcoming issue.

It’s been up for three months and I never thought to check. This notification was dated February 19th, the day before my last day of work for my old employer. What a strange weekend that whole time period was.

I’m looking forward to seeing myself in real ink and paper print again. It’s a place I haven’t been in a while.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Four out of Five Critics Agree...

Chapter One sucks. Almost all of them have commented on the yawn-inducing nature of my characters and their long, boring conversation over dinner. I feel really dorky, because despite the fact of being warned repeatedly about this exact issue during my research phase, I still ended up screwing up my intro.

When I wrote the rough draft of Teahouse, I produced it in chronological order. This was the first 3,500 or so words I wrote, and I was setting the scene, pacing and backstory not only for readers but for myself. I knew pretty much where I wanted to go with the chapters and how I wanted to get to the story’s conclusion, but a lot of the tiny details were foggy even to me.

I wrote Chapter One while I was still ironing everything out, and I fell prey to the beginners’ mistakes of bogging down the narrative with superfluous details and unnecessary conversation.

This past week has been very brutal but I really have appreciated every word. Ten years ago I may have been one of those novice writers with an exterior and self-esteem the consistency of a Cadbury Creme Egg center. I might not have been able to withstand pages upon pages of strangers picking and tearing away at my work, but I think I’ve grown quite a bit since I started writing fiction again a few years ago. I can see this for what it actually is, information that is crucial to not only the refinement of my novel but also to my growth as a writer. It might be a bit discouraging to find out that other people don’t enjoy the same things in my work that I did while writing and revising it, but it will help me understand what will work in my failures’ places.

Tomorrow is the last day to receive critiques. After that, I will be replying to each one in person and sending the entire draft to each interested reviewer. I’m hoping they’ll be able to help me find weak points and black spaces that could benefit from extra chapter insertions.

And I’ll be rewriting the first chapter entirely.