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Thursday, June 02, 2005

Want It, Need It, Got It

Received some good news yesterday from Laurence at Your Scrivener Press a Sudbury area publisher -- he's sending me a contract to purchase my story "Being Needed" for an anthology entitled Bluffs: Northeastern Ontario Short Stories which is going to be published in the spring of 2006. This is a 3200 word story that I've always felt is one of my best. It's been described as a "sentimental ghost story" by readers and has received its share of really good rejections over the past ten years. (By "really good" rejections, I mean rejections with comments that indicate what the editor liked and didn't like about the piece, and perhaps why it wasn't going to be used. While I prefer acceptances rather than rejections, it's at least nice to get these "good" types of rejections rather than a note that says something like: "Give it up, bub - don't quit your day job - what a God-awful waste of paper - you call yourself a writer?" Okay, I've never received anything like that, but there's always this latent fear)

I've tried to understand why this story hasn't sold yet. Actually, no wait, a publisher did offer to buy it a few years ago; but when I'd submitted the story it was to a paying print market - the editor wanted to buy the story, but they were in the process of switching to a non-paying online market at the time - I politely turned down that offer. Non-paying markets, or markets that pay in contributor copies only, are a great place for a writer to start out, get some feedback, exposure, etc, but there comes a time when the only reason you consider a non-paying market is when the exposure makes it well worth your while.

When I looked back at the rejections I'd received for "Being Needed" over the years it was always with a comment that the story was great, the writing was enjoyable, but that it wasn't quite for them. I've got a few stories like this - they are speculative in nature, but have a more contemporary or literary feel to them. Traditional horror markets often don't find enough "fear" or elements of genre in them to use, and literary market places are sometimes quick to turn their noses up the moment you introduce speculative elements into the story. I don't know why I keep writing stories like that - no, wait, I do know why - it's because sometimes I don't have a choice - the muse strikes me and there I go again, penning a tale that isn't quite literary, isn't quite a genre piece . . .

Speaking of being afflicted with the writer's curse, I've recently updated my blog with links to several different writer's blogs: Folks like Robert J. Sawyer, Peter Mitchell, Jon Hodges, Carol Weekes, Michael Kelly. I'm finding reading their own blogs quite inspirational - maybe it's sharing in the misery or something like that.

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