I haven’t announced it here, but last week I got word that my story, “Pumpkinhead”, was accepted for the Shadows of the Emerald City anthology from Northern Frights Publishing. Since I first read about the call for stories, I knew I wanted to write something for it. I grew up reading the Baum Oz stories – I went to the public library one summer and started with the first book (The Wizard of Oz) and worked my way through the whole series. You can probably guess who one of my favorite characters was. Adding a touch of horror to the Oz mythos seemed a natural thing to do (so much so that it’s been done before, for example in Tad Williams’ Otherland series). But when I figured out who I would write about, I refreshed myself on the character and what was said about him in the books, and from there the story just grew, very much like some of the things in the story itself. It was one of those rare stories that just unfurled from within my mind and pretty much came out on the page in one fluid piece (though stretched out over days). I’m glad it will be seeing print and I’m looking forward to the finished anthology when it eventually comes out.
This, together with two other projects that I’m not ready to announce yet, would bring my total publications to 5. Which is nice seeing as last year this time I was just about to hear about my second ever acceptance. At Clarion West we set goals and I committed to six published stories by around this time. For a while it was looking like none. If all four that I’m expecting happen, that will be a decent percentage of my goal.
But regardless of the submissions or the acceptances, right now I’m having a lot of fun writing and finishing and revising and submitting. For the first time since Clarion West, I am having fun with the writing and I think it’s having an effect. I’m doing it because I am getting such a thrill out of it.
This post is more rambly than I’d intended, but I’m just feeling good about writing right now and I wanted to say something to balance all the times I’ve felt shitty about it.
A few things that are interesting to note – if I count the non-confirmed acceptances I’ve received, four out of the five were for themed publications (this includes the two Shimmer sales). I find myself wondering why that is – is it the theme that helps focus me? Is it the inspiration that creates a different kind of story? Or is it just that those stories have deadlines and so I write, revise and send them by a certain date? I think maybe a little bit of all of them (though especially the last).
Also to note – only one of the stories was workshopped. Which is not to say that I didn’t get feedback – and all of them were critiqued by at least one person in my current writing group – but I think the closeness of deadlines meant I couldn’t always put them through a group. Which doesn’t say to me that stories are better when not workshopped – again it comes down to focus. I’m still trying to figure out which are the best paths to take with revision and I think that the better I get at that, the better my workshopped stories will end up.
I plan to send out a few more stories in the coming weeks. So we’ll see if they bear any fruit. But in the meantime I’m having a blast doing it.