An Answer, An Acceptance, A Sale, A Lesson

Wow it’s been a while since I’ve posted any writing updates. I’m excited today! But first…

An Answer

Got your best guesses ready? The lie in Wednesday’s Kreativ Blogger stories is #6. I am a little apprehensive of elevators and every time I’m in one I imagine how high up I am. That makes me nervous, but I’ve never been in one that’s fallen. This story happened to a friend of mine.

An Acceptance

Quick Draw was accepted for the Best of Friday Flash Volume 2! The story also made the editor’s choice picks. I’m not sure when the anthology will be published, but I will keep you updated.

A Sale

Thrilled to report that I’ve sold a story about a giant mango loving catfish (yes that’s right, a catfish). Look for “Mother Water” in The Beast Within 3: Oceans Unleashed, to be published by Graveside Tales. I’ve yet to get edits back, and I’m not sure when it will be published, but I will let you know the details later.

A Lesson

I’m not the chattiest person on Twitter, but use it to follow editors, agents, and listen in on what’s happening in the publishing world (kind of like a giant water cooler). One day,  Jennifer Brozek tweeted that she had anthologies she needed to fill, and for any interested writers to contact her. I’d never tweeted her before, but I thought why not? So I replied, thinking I didn’t have enough publication credits to be considered. She got the tweet, checked out my blog, told me that she’d read my previously published story, “Nine Nights”, and emailed me an invitation to submit one to the Beast Within anthology. I would never have had the shot if I hadn’t been on Twitter. The internet is a wonderful thing sometimes. Networking via Twitter and having a blog presence DO make a difference.

Ok I lied, there are two lessons here.

So I got my invite, and agonized for weeks about what to write. I came up with half a dozen different ideas. I started writing one, doing my research, and discovered that SOMEONE HAD ALREADY WRITTEN THAT STORY* in one of the previous anthologies in the series [insert paranoia]. I started writing a second story, then discovered that the premise was historically impossible considering the era and location I had set it in. AHHH!!! I went through the rest of the ideas and discovered all were non-viable one way or another. Hope started fading.

The old adage is to ‘never settle for your first idea’, but about two weeks before the deadline, I had nothing, so I threw that advice out the window, and went with my first concept but with a different setting and a different marine creature.

I’ve never had a more difficult writing experience. The story was simple and straightforward, and I had it outlined in detail. However, because it was set in a real location (along the Mekong River) and featured a real creature, it was also research heavy. I had to figure out what types of fish migrated during different months of the year, when the high water and low water seasons occurred, the local ecology, diet, traditional fishing techniques, deal with English translation problems in my sources.

I encountered a slew of technical setbacks. I was also stressed out due to other non-writing reasons. Writing this story was a painful process and in the end I had no idea whether the idea had any merit. I didn’t have time to get it beta-read except for a quick proofread by Jenn (You’re a lifesaver!), but I got it done, and I sent it out.

That night I dreamed that I’d been rejected. Imagine my surprise when the next morning my inbox was still empty. I was more relieved than anything just to be done, even though I thought it might be the most boring thing I’d ever written.

You know, I’ve said it before, but there’s proof: we writers are poor judges of our writing. Sometimes you just have to put your work out there anyway. Likewise, a reader can’t tell if you’ve written something on a bad day or a good day. It’s SO easy to confuse having a tough writing day with the feeling that the writing is terrible. You’re probably more consistent in your writing than you think.

Shoot, was that 3 lessons?

What have you learned lately?

*I didn’t read it. I guessed I might have chosen the same animal of traditional folklore.

14 Comments to “An Answer, An Acceptance, A Sale, A Lesson”

  1. Anytime, dearest! I may make for a lousy beta-reader (since we pretty much inhabit the same brain) but I’m always happy to proofread.

    Again, YAY on the sale! *squishes* XD

  2. Woo! Congrats on the acceptance and the sale! Happy happy news, for sure.

    Sounds like your “Mother Water” story was a pretty big challenge; so much to consider! o_O (Gah, do I know that feeling…lol.) Glad it turned out well in the end. 🙂 Lookin’ forward to reading it!

  3. EEEE!! Congratulations, Tessa!! This is such fabulous news. And yes yes yes to all that you’ve said, about ideas being frustrating and writing being hard and submission being intimidating and Twitter being a surprising force of good (sometimes? mostly?). 😀

  4. Congratulations! Plus: More congratulations!

    That’s a very good point about sometimes remembering the difficulty of the writing and seeing the work through those eyes, something which doesn’t matter a bit to anybody else but the writer (and the reverse can also be true — sometimes we undervalue things that seemed to come too easily).

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