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Culling the Pile, and an Acceptance

With all this free time on my hands, I have a lot of time to assess the writing I have done over the last year.  I have a lot of stuff that I wrote last year.  Sadly, not all of it is finished.  And of the stuff that has been finished, a good amount of it is in need of a lot of work.  So, yesterday I sat down with the pile of printed, completed stories and gave each one a breeze through.  What I found opened my eyes.

I have a lot of good stories in here.  However, many of them are written terribly.  I can see where my writing has improved over the last year, but that still doesn’t fix that fact that most of them need a massive rewrite.  Like I mentioned in my last entry here, I just started writing them as soon as I had the idea, and didn’t take the time to ask questions about everything.  So now, many months later, I look at the story and wonder just WTF I was thinking when I wrote it.

Some stories are worth saving…

  • “Sleeper”
  • “The Terminal”
  • “Lifestealer”
  • “Lies”

The rest need a lot more work than I care to think about at the moment.  And, as I’m redefining the methods in which I write and edit, the rest of the stories need a lot more work than some of the others.  So, a lot of them were shipped off into the office to wait for me to come back to them at a later date.  They will be saved, but for now I want to focus on the stuff I know I can turn around.

“Harvest Moon” was going to be one of those stories that got put aside.  Oddly enough, I had planned on an 11th submission for that story, but I waffled on it a bit since the 10th rejection I got was rather sharp and stung a bit.  I think the editor maybe didn’t get it, or maybe the type of story didn’t sit well with them.  It’s a bit of a dark story, not very happy, except the bad guy gets his in the end.  When I got the 10th rejection, I decided it was time to drop back and punt.

I wrote that story in 1999, when I ran across an image over on Visual Paradox (follow the link to see the picture). When I saw the picture, I asked “How did those skeletons get there?” and “Harvest Moon” came into being.  Given its age, I felt it was old enough that one day I could make it something better with a serious rewrite.  It’s only 1900 words, and I could make it longer and wordier and all that.

(On a side note, only my flash fiction story “Karma” is older, having written it in 1997.)

So, I carried the folder to the office along with the rest of the stuff I was shelving, but when I sat down at the computer, I saw where I had the draft of the email still ready to go, having prepared it a few days previous.  I stared at it for a moment, and then just hit the Send button and decided it couldn’t hurt to get one more rejection on it before it was sent off for a vacation.

Imagine my surprise when I got this in my email last night from the editor of Indigo Rising Magazine

Dear Joseph,

First off, the fantasy fiction genre needs more writers like you. With that said, we loved your story “Harvest Moon”. It will be posted on the site within the coming week and will be up for consideration in a future print edition. Thanks for the submission; I’m sure our readers will love it. “Harvest Moon” fits our aesthetic perfectly.


Was this editor talking to me?  Seriously?  This acceptance put a smile on my face, for sure.

Goes to show you that there is a market for every story, you just have to keep shooting it and one day you’ll hit something.

Meanwhile, “The Terminal” (which will get a new name before its all done) is deep in editing.  The first page has more red ink on it than black!  But I think I have really added something to the story and made it better.  I hope to have my next draft done today or tomorrow, and then have it off to my beta readers for their feedback and suggestions.


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