Screenshot from my computer.
Yes, it’s a bland image to be sure, but writing fiction isn’t all fun, games, and glory. Once a story is accepted, or in this case two, it doesn’t mean what you’ve submitted to the publisher is perfect. It just means that it’s a good story (well, I hope that’s what it means).
It also means that someone is going to go over your story with the proverbial fine-toothed comb, pointing out issues, everything from word usage to punctuation.
Found at superversivesf.com. No image credit given
So the usual pattern for me and short stories is that I see a submissions call from (usually) an indie publisher, I read the particulars, look at the submissions deadline, and say to myself something like, “I can do that.”
Then as the deadline approaches, and I’ve met all (or most) of the other submissions deadlines I’ve set for myself, I try to come up with an idea for a story that fits the bill.
I prepare a Shunn formatted document, since that’s, more or less, the industry standard, for use as my manuscript pages. Then I copy the submissions requirements into a plain text document, and using other plain text files, create a plot sheet, a character sheet, and any other resources (in a long or complicated story, usually a bunch of URLs leading to research pages) necessary to create the background for my tale. And then I start writing.
I’ll skip over a lot of angst, and let’s say I have finished the first draft, edited it within an inch of its proverbial life, and then finally submitted it, using the method required by the publisher.
And then I wait.
Graphic depicting nuclear fallout – image credit unknown
Several days ago, I posted a link to my essay Concealment: Should I Have Used a Pen Name? in a private writers group on Facebook. The admin always holds links in mediation prior to approval. Usually the process takes a few minutes to an hour, but after a day went by, I figured I’d gone too far and he wasn’t going to approve it.
However, 24 hours later it appeared. Either he was too busy to approve of it prior to that time (doubtful, since he’d been active in the group all along), or he was pondering whether or not to approve it, maybe even consulting others.
Well, it was approved, and discussion in the group was pretty interesting and generally positive. That is, until this one, offered by an admin of another writers group to which I do not belong (and I don’t plan on asking to join):
Found at Electric Lit online magazine (click on the image to see a larger version)
The chart posted above was acquired from the article If You’re Not Sure How a Male Author Would Describe You, Use Our Handy Chart over at the Electric Lit online magazine. As I understand it, the chart was created as a gag, and I found it pretty funny. In fact, I toyed with the idea of writing a story using the chart just as a joke.
Then it took on a life of its own on twitter, as reported at the same magazine, in an essay titled ‘Describe Yourself Like a Male Author Would’ Is the Most Savage Twitter Thread in Ages.
Apparently a male author claimed he could write authentic female characters, and was immediately challenged by Gwen C. Katz (@gwenckatz). A combination of hilarity, hostility, and moral angst ensued. I should say that after writing most of this missive, I noticed these articles were written last April, but they’ve showed up in my gmail inbox from Medium in the last couple of days. Wonder what the message is?
I decided to write about this because I’ve gotten a hold of a review copy of the To Be Men: Stories Celebrating Masculinity anthology edited by Sirius Métier and published by Superversive Press. It was published digitally about two weeks ago (as I write this) and seems to be doing pretty well, both relative to its Amazon reviews (five so far, and all five star ratings) and in terms of sales.
Found at numerous publications including TrendInTech.com – Not image credit available
I just finished reading a blog post called Of Permanent Things, Part II written by my friend and Holocaust educator Dan Hennessy. It reminded me of the importance of including religious and spiritual themes in fiction writing, including science (speculative) fiction and fantasy.
I’m in the process of producing first drafts of two novels. The first is about five children mysteriously transported into a fantasy world of dragons, demons, and elves having to undergo a heroic journey and facing danger and adventure at every turn. The second is about a fifteen-year-old African-American girl taking up her recently deceased Grandpa’s journey into a Steampunk world in order to help a younger version of her Grandpa stop a corrupt tycoon from destroying both of their universes.
While I don’t make it explicit in the fantasy novel, the five Davidson children are Jewish. No, they’re not observant, and aside from the occasional mention of praying (usually when the situation is very grim), I have, at best, cast them in the role of Reform Jews. Why I’ve made them Jewish as opposed to generic “white kids” will become apparent only in the latter portion of the third novel where their journey will be finally resolved.