So today marks a milestone in my writing career. Today I sent my first submission for possible publication. I expect that my next milestone will be my first rejection notice, but at least I made the effort.
Today I submitted my short story, “Losing Control”, to Burning Bulb Publishing for consideration for their upcoming anthology, The Big Book of Bizarro. It is supposed to be a trade paperback and they are paying 5¢ per word for up to 3000 words, capped at $75. I almost chickened out and decided not to submit, even though I have spent a lot of time over the last few weeks tearing out what little hair I have trying to edit the piece.
It started with a dream that I had a few months ago. I thought it was interesting, so I made a couple of notes when I woke up and stuck them in my story idea file. Then about a month ago one of the authors in my critique group sent me an e-mail telling me about this call for submissions. This was just after WisCon and I had just decided that I should start working on short stories because that’s what I learned from some of the panels at the convention. I looked over my idea file and thought, “Which one of these might be bizarre enough for this?” And the only one that popped out at me was this one. It’s about a woman who is impregnated by the spirit of a dragon. The baby dragon is incorporeal, so there are no physical signs of pregnancy, but instead its spirit grows inside her, crowding out her soul. At the end it pushes her out of her own body and takes over. It’s the weirdest idea I had, so I ran with it. The first draft was about 3800 words, but since the guideline was for 3o00, I knew I had to trim it down. I read the first draft for my critique group and they suggested edits, which helped bring down the word count, but it wasn’t until the third or fourth pass that I got it down to 3000 words. My final draft, finished this morning, was 3009 words.
There were two reasons I almost decided not to submit the story. The first was because I thought it wasn’t good enough. At our last Tuesday night critique session, the woman who told me about it read a piece that she was going to submit. It was great. Really dark and disturbing. Which is exactly what the submission guidelines say they want. That was the second reason I thought about passing. I didn’t think that my story was “creepy, chilling, disturbing, and moody” enough. I think my story is strange, but probably not “disturbing”.
So that’s why I think I’ll be getting a rejection slip soon. I’m sure it will be the first of many, but I had to start somewhere! I’ll keep you all posted as soon as I hear the word. And after I get the rejection, I’ll see if I can find any other markets for the story. If nothing comes up, I may post it here.
My next post will be Monday. I’m going to try for a Monday/Thursday posting schedule from now on, so I’ll see you back here on the Fourth!