Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday's Updates

I got my book today!!!

Yeah, I'm really excited. I was a little concerned that maybe it wouldn't look very professional, considering that MLM is such a small press, but boy was I wrong. I have a copy of China Mieville's "The City & The City" here, and it is identical in quality to my book. Very, very attractive nice softcover book.

Speaking of writing (clever segue, huh?) I had arguably one of the best writing experiences of my life last night. An idea came to me for a story about a hitman making a hit on a political figure, but I sat on it for a couple of days because of rewrites on "GPS." Late last night, though, I got an image of the lonely hitman pining for his lost love, whose name I already knew was Alice. From there, I started toying with the idea of telling the hitman narrative, and the narrative of his love affair with Alice, but in different directions; that is, I would tell the hit story straight, chronologically, but the love story would be told backwards. When the story is finished, then drafted and polished, what I hope for is that the opening of the story (which is really the closing of the Alice story) is dramatic and intriguing, that the end is both poignant and shocking, and that the dramatic arcs sort of meet in the middle. I'm very hopeful it will work out, because this is the first time I've ever really played with structure.

On a less exciting front, the rejections have really piled up around here. I don't have any new ones to announce yet (thankfully) but there are a couple of stories I should be hearing back on pretty quickly, so we'll see. But, to be honest, it's not all that disheartening. Sure, getting a form rejection on "The Machine" was tough, especially since I really love that story, but I know better than to assume that it's an indictment of my ability as a writer.

A few years ago, I struggled with not knowing when to pursue a story and when to walk away from it. I couldn't tell the difference between an idea and a story, and it drove me crazy. In a way, it was a lot like being in my early teens again, where I pined for my freedom from parental supervision, but knew it was years away from happening. Sometimes that feeling was like standing in quicksand, and that's pretty much how I felt in my mid-20s as a writer.

But now I'm there! I'm not the best writer I can be yet, but I have a little bit of experience under my belt, a respectable lifetime word count, a growing catalog of stories that I have authored, and even one that has been seen in print. Today, I can tell the difference between a neat idea with no plot, and a story worth telling.

So I guess what I'm getting at is that these rejections, they're just part of the process. Like literary acne.

Eventually, those rejections will turn into acceptances. That's how I have to look at it, not because I'm some starry-eyed optimist, but because history tells me that the struggles lead to improvements, and the failures lead to successes.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry about all of your rejections, Joe, but I'm sure that they'll become acceptances soon. You have a good writing style and they are bound to find a home.

    Also, congratulations on your new story. It sounds interesting and intriguing. Hope that works out well for you!