Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Two Sales and the Slippery Future

It's been a while, folks. I'm always amazed to look back on my blog entries and see how plans and priorities have changed. Things I put so much stock in have since been denied, angered, bargained, depressed, and finally accepted away. For example:

My carefully-crafted Writers of the Future story didn't get so much as an honorable mention, and I'm still not sure why. I thought the story did some bold things, touched on some very human issues, and had a little action and sexiness as a bonus. But ultimately, it got the cold, impersonal shoulder of rejection. Woe. Granted, there are about a billion people competing in that contest, and sometimes, running with a good crowd isn't enough (many of my Codex buddies either got honorable mentions or ended up as finalists and semi-finalists, which makes me want to high-five them and curl up and die all at the same time). The simple truth is this: my story didn't work for the judge that read it (justification), so what can I do? I just hope I can find a home for the story elsewhere, which, at that length, is kind of unlikely. I'll probably end up cutting it down somewhat drastically before I can look forward to a sale.

Not long after my WotF heartbreak, I sold a story to Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show, a huge sale for a beginner like me. I had submitted it a few months before, and news of its acceptance arrived just in time to drag me out of the dumps. There was a long series of changes and edits which were painful and educational by turns. The end result was almost surreal: my story (MINE) appearing in one of my hero's magazine. (I'm referring to Orson Scott Card, of course, but Ed is my hero too, in a more personal, less "I wrote Ender's Game" kind of way.) They hired an artist and everything. I can't tell you how awesome it all felt, so I won't even--wait, yes I can:

It felt like I had been saying I was a writer my whole life, and suddenly, somebody agreed with me. It felt like the beginning of a dream come true.

(Saying something cheery like the above always makes my mind bark at me, "Don't get too comfortable, Fancy Pants. You've got an almost ridiculously long way to go. If you knew how long, you'd probably quit." To which I always reply, "Then I'm glad I don't know.")

You can read the story I sold here, or buy the issue for kindle here. If you read it during edits, you need to read it again. It's a different animal. And here is the essay I did for the IGMS blog, which I have been told is "intimate" and "interesting" and (once) "scientifically suspect." (This last is only kinda true. See this.)

In other news, Brain Harvest bought one of my flash stories this week. I've been a fan of that magazine for years, and when I finally wrote a story for a Codex contest that got first in its round (out of 25ish professional writers, so not too shabby), Brain Harvest was the first magazine to come to mind. A while back, they were forced to drop down to semi-pro rates because of budget stuff, but I still consider this a big sale for me. I can remember two years ago, sending stories to Brain Harvest, and collecting kind, insightful, but firm rejection letters. The fact that I sold a story as-written to that same magazine (my first choice) meant a lot. It was hard proof that I had grown. Sometimes that's hard to see, and when you can see it, it's the thing that keeps you (or ME, if we're avoiding second-person) going.

That story is called "Fool," and it's slotted for April 24th. Be there or be a dead moth.

Lastly (I can't finish a novel, but damned if my blog posts aren't endless), I've been thinking about how to use this blog, and I've decided to post a few essays I've written about songs, dreams, family, etc (not as boring as they sound, people, and I promise not to dig as far back as my regrettable Xanga days). I've also considered doing a week-by-week journal as I work to finish my first novel, in the hopes that somebody going through a similar ordeal might find my account useful. And you guys must (MUST) see what my brother Tim is doing in the art world. All that coming up.

Let's see what tomorrow brings.

[Edited to add:]

My buddy Ken Kao just informed me my story in IGMS got a hot-and-cold review at Locus.

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