May 5th, 2006

Trunking & Shredding Stories

I was so tired yesterday I didn't even bother to post. After work I spent a few hours in the city with some friends, kicking back beers. Cut myself off at the right time so that I wouldn't attend my monthly critique group meeting drunk. Since it was my story being critiqued, this was probably in everyone's best interests. Wouldn't want to risk a drunken writerly rant. :)

As to my story itself, it was thoroughly shredded. But that's okay. It was a first draft, and the whole point of a critique group is to identify the flaws in your tale. They certainly did this, and made some excellent suggestions about how to improve the story. And most encouraging of all was a general consensus that, underneath the problem spots/mistakes, I do have a story worth telling. This was very encouraging because it's an idea I believe in strongly, and it's also a work of horror, which isn't my usual terrain (despite the story I had mentioned in my last post). So all in all it was a productive shredding. I've now added this tale the rewrite queu, meaning I have three pieces waiting for me after the current rewrite is finished. That's cool, though, because my stories almost always improve with rewrites, sometimes drastically.

But yesterday was so long and I didn't get home until around midnight. Then I was up today before 7 a.m., so after a day of work I'm perfectly happy doing absolutely nothing, Friday night be damned.

Also interesting this week was the fact that I trunked a story. I've trunked stories in the past, but these were tales that never got sent out in the first place. But with the particular tale in question (also horror--go figure), it was part of the inventory, one I had been submitting around. But after I received my latest rejection on this piece, I realized that I had lost my enthusiasm about this story. And further thought made me realize I wasn't particularly sure I wanted other people reading such a tale at all. So I trunked it. If a new magazine (or theme for one) or anthology comes along that seems a good fit for the piece, I'll dig it up and see if I can gussy the story up accordingly.

But it's a strange feeling trunking something, and certainly not something I enjoy doing. I know some people trunk a story after 5 or 6 rejections. I prefer to keep sending my stories out, regardless of the # of rejections they accrue. The story I sold to Interzone had previously been rejected 11 or 12 times. You just never know when you'll manage to tickle an editor's fancy, so my opinion is that so long as you still believe in your tale and there are markets worth sending your story to (and depending on your standards and how far along in your career you are this may vary) you should keep sending the story out. This doesn't mean that Interzone was # 12 or 13 on my submission list. Far from it. I love the product they put out. But they're also a foreign market, and before they started accepting email subs it was more expensive for us Yanks to submit to them. Just some FYI, especially if any editors at Interzone happen to be reading this. ;)

That's it for tonight. Have a good weekend everyone.