#Writing #Goal #Today: After going to learn about Jesus, finish my zombie, Fairytale, horror, romance novella. The two are unrelated, I swear. Well, I did pick a fairytale with religious themes, but the two are largely unrelated. Also, after ignoring the glaring contradictions in my life, so I can get some “work” (writing) done, I would like to get a little sleep as the baby decided not to sleep most of last night. I will report back upon the failure of these goals.
This may be the hardest thing I’ve ever written (the novella … not this post). These elements were specifically dictated by the call from Entangled Books. If I flub it, this piece may be a hard sell anywhere else and this is a lot of words to have just sitting around in my computer without a home.
I took on the market because I thought it would be hard … nearly impossible even. I thought zombie writers would struggle with the romantic elements and low/no gore. I also thought romance writers would struggle with zombies and the horror elements. Then, there was the length. Both groups might give it a shot on a short story, but a larger piece between 20,000 and 40,000 words would be a daunting challenge while balancing all these elements. I decided to take it on for these reasons. I was hoping all these challenges would cancel out most of the available talent pool.
For all these reasons, I am having trouble with it myself. My poor wife had to sit through the first few chapters to see if I was striking the cords I needed. The story has gotten darker as it went along. It’s about zombies and for some reason A LOT of fairytales involve elements of the threat of cannibalism. The stories we tell children are fairly morbid when we take a close look.
If I had to bet my life on it, I think I went a touch too dark for the publisher. I think the story is very good and I am usually the most critical of what I write. I have had publishers like my work far better than I liked it once I was done. Over time, I tend to become less satisfied with a piece once it is finished and once it is published. I always feel I can do better next time. I learn a great deal from my own failed stories and reading I’m doing for other groups. I learn a lot from editors and feedback from publishers that do or do not like what I’ve done. I read old stories of mine and catch missteps in my work that I avoid now.
I have put a lot of time into this piece and I hope I land it. If I don’t publish it in its intended market, I WILL get it published somewhere. I am committed to that.
Once I finished my zombie, fairy tale, romance, novella for the Entangled Books open call, it was 37,000 words. I remember outlining the story to be sure I got above the 20k word minimum. Boy, was I stupid…er back when I started. I see how Congressional budgets get out of hand now. I’m actually really proud of how it turned out. I believe I hit a great balance in the end.
Despite being low gore, I’m still concerned the story may be darker than they want. I believe now that it is good enough to be published in another market even if the original market passes.
Update: The story was submitted on Friday, July 20, 2012.