What’s a Nice Girl Like Me Doing Writing in a Genre Like This?

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I recently sold I Had to Do It, a flash fiction story of the western flavor, to Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry. And of course, my regular readers know I’ve written a western novel, Delilah, as well, for which I’m diligently seeking a publisher at present. It might seem that I am leaning toward becoming a western writer, and I’ll admit, I do enjoy writing western.

But I’m an eclectic kind of gal by nature. My palate savors many cuisines, although I’m partial to Oriental and Latino foods. I listen to various genres of music, being heavy on the rock, but also enjoying metal, hip hop, country, pop, and even classical. I watch a wide range of movie genres, as well. On that same note, I read most of the genres, and seek opportunities to try genres that are new to me, but horror has always been my favorite. In fact, in 2012, when I began my M.F.A. in Creative Writing program at Western State Colorado University, western was one of the few genres which I hadn’t read.

In that first class, the first thing my instructor asked was, “In what genre do you usually write?” I considered the short stories I had written to date, many of which, I wasn’t sure what genre they fell into. The only experience I’d had with western was 850 words worth, I Had to Do It, and it hadn’t sold. But the idea was for us to write outside of our comfort zones, and western was the genre I was assigned for my first excerpt.

I’m not sure why I didn’t think I would like writing westerns. I’m a native of Colorado and proud of that, but I’ve never been a cowgirl per se. I enjoy western films. Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns are the best, but Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and The Quick and the Dead are right up there, too. But as I said, I hadn’t really read much in the western genre. But then, I wrote the excerpt for Delilah. After that first semester, revising my excerpt according to the feedback from my instructor and my cohorts, I started thinking that I might not be too bad at writing in the western genre. Three years and several rewrites later, Delilah is a story I’m rather proud of. The rejections do sting a bit, but I’m confident that if I endeavor to persevere and keep submitting it, eventually it will land with the right publisher, and it will be accepted. And if not, well, there’s always independent publishing. Delilah is a good story, and it’s well written, and I want very much to be able to share it with the world. One way or another, I will get the book published.

And yes, there will probably be other westerns in my future. I seem to have a knack for it, at least, so I’ve been told. I already have an idea for a western romance, although romance is another genre I never thought I’d find myself writing. I guess we’ll see.

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Acceptance or Rejection – Which do You Prefer?

 

10985374_10153598714548613_4510459121603044573_nBack in May, I wrote a post about dealing with the rejection by a publisher of Delilah. My response to the rejection was to submit my novel elsewhere and keep hoping it will get picked up. More recently, I did a post on hybrid publishers, as I explored the concept after I had a hybrid publisher request my full manuscript. Unfortunately, they passed on Delilah, too. It is out to yet another publisher now.

I could go into another post about rejections. Lord knows, I’ve gotten plenty. But I’ve always been one to see the glass half-full side, rather than half-empty, focusing on the positive side to everything, so I think I’d rather talk today about acceptances. I don’t think anyone will disagree when I say acceptances are much better than rejections. You don’t have to be a writer to figure that one out.

You don’t get them as often as rejections, but they’re a lot more satisfying. But there’s a reason I want to write a post on acceptances. If you follow me on Facebook, or Twitter, or Google+, you may have seen my very recent post announcing that my flash fiction western story, I Had to Do It, has been picked up by Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry.

It’s true this isn’t a big paying publication. I’m certainly not going to get rich from this one little 850 word story. Flash fiction never pays a lot. There’s simply not enough words to make the pennies add up to much, even with higher paying publications. But, I was still elated when I received the acceptance, because my story found a home and people will now read it, and because it is still one more publishing credit for me. I can’t explain the rushing feeling of excitement and pride that small note from the editors brought me. I think most of all, it was thrilling to know that someone else really liked my writing. It was a affirmation of my own belief that my writing really is pretty good.

That probably sounds silly to those who have not yet received an acceptance. (Never fear. It will come.) But we writers are an odd lot, and we are filled with fears and self-doubt. Filled with it. Most of the time we can keep these elements of our inner beings at bay by simply pecking away at the keyboard or filling up sheets of notebook paper, but every once in a while we let our guards down and that’s when they strike. The fear and self-doubt simmer in us, just down below the surface, until they see an opportunity, a weakness, and then they reach up and grab a handful of us and don’t let go.

I think just about every writer worries that the only person in the whole world that really thinks their writing is good is themselves. Friends and family don’t count because they may be saying they like it so as not to hurt your feelings. When you receive an acceptance, any acceptance, it tells you other people do like your writing, and motivates you to get busy writing more.

It’s a good feeling. One I think every writer needs to experience. It can’t happen unless you submit relentlessly and write, write, write. That’s my advice. Write your heart out and then submit like crazy, and never, ever give up. The notes that say, “yes”, make it worth surviving all the ones that said, “no”. So what are you waiting for? Get writing!

 

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