Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Ups and Downs

© by Gerald So | 6:45 a.m.

I hope you've noticed I haven't blogged in almost a month. (Noticing means you check my blog.) The reason turns out to be good.

On May 28, I received a rejection for a story I submitted to an anthology almost six months earlier that saw me retool characters I created in a 1995 mystery novel writing workshop. I thought the work of revision took me to a different place as a writer. I was confident the story would be accepted to the anthology and that disappointed it wasn't.

For a day or two I did nothing but wonder if I should move on to a different project. The specific anthology theme gave me the idea to use the characters again at all. "Should I just forget them?" I asked.

Then, early one morning, I opened the rejected story file and just started writing, targeting it for Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine or Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. I figure, why not? These are the most mainstream mystery characters and story I've written. Yes, EQMM and AHMM are big game, the average word counts on their accepted stories four times longer than most I've published, but why not?

Giving myself that word count and standard of quality to hit, I'm trying to learn greater character and plot development by doing. Going to the keyboard any time of the day has been automatic. I'd rather be distracted by these characters than anything else.

So far, I've produced different length versions of the story, from 1,000 to 2,500 words. Currently I've worked back up to 1,500 words and will submit the length I think tells the story and showcases the characters best. Reading my drafts are three college friends who've known the characters as long as I have.

With luck, this venture will end in publication, but for now it's given me what's important, enthusiasm for the process.

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