It’s been a very difficult week, the kind that invites depression to not only visit but to take up residence. Three rejections in email on stories I had high hopes for were a significant part of that.
My wife was my anchor, listening and helping me see my way out of the mire, and I am grateful, as always. She pointed out some of the good in order to lessen the impact of the negativity that surrounded me.
One example was the release of the 2018 Association of Rhode Island Authors (ARIA) anthology, which contains my Twilight Zone inspired tale, “The Dot”:
My copy is slated to arrive tomorrow, which will go on the shelf with my other published works.
Another helpful item was the response I got to that homework I had to do this past week, the final writing assignment in my Advanced Horror Writing course:
I like this a lot—you have a very readable style and it all turned on an interesting twist you didn’t overly telegraph but that still made perfect sense in context.
You went a little “off script” from the strict progression of the bullet points, and that’s actually a really good thing! Even if this were your own simple outline, what I call in my shorter Horror Intensive course “just enough outline to get you writing,” you still need to give yourself permission to have a better idea and follow the story where it ends up wanting to go.
One thing I would look at, though, is the whole beginning scene with the Uber driver, which establishes that John is a retired priest but otherwise concentrates a lot on the details of taking an Uber, and the driver never comes back into the story. I’d get John to the B&B sooner, and so into the “weird” sooner as well.
This is good stuff, though, Bob, and I hope you got a lot out of the course. Thanks for doing all the work—now get back to writing!
Athans & Associates Creative Consulting
I appreciated his comments and critique quite a bit. For those not familiar, Phil Athans is a long time industry professional, and a seriously good author as well. He disproves that old comment, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.”
Phil does both, and he does them quite well.
On the strength of that, I spent some time this morning working and revising that assignment, shaping it into a story that I’ve titled “Dead and Breakfast”, which comes in at about 3350 words complete, just a little longer than the 3000 word assignment limit. I was debating whether to publish that in its entirety here or to offer it to Steph and Stuart at The Horror Tree for future inclusion in their Trembling With Fear column, but it exceeds their 1500 word Flash limit by more than double, so that’s not going to be an option, I’m afraid. I’ll have to settle for advertising for them with the shirt I’ve ordered until I write something new that fits within the word limits.
For the moment, at least, I’m going to set that story aside, let it simmer and percolate a bit before I decide its fate. I’ll want to revisit and revise it with fresh eyes before choosing anyway, so that’s best.
Time to take a short break then deal with the annual benefits elections for my day job, our yearly excursion into the principles of paying more to get less.
And you thought that only happened in politics…