With the 2013 Short Story Challenge, I had two goals:
Write enough stories to participate in Khara House’s Submit-O-Rama in October
Learn to write really good short stories
As the count sits now, the first objective was met but the second is doubtful. Here’s the box score:
Finished – 16
Rejected Once – 7
Rejected Twice – 2
Pending – 6
The rejected twice (like this one) are the ones that hurt the most because I really, really like them the way they are. I thought I would revise them and resubmit but, really, I think they’re wonderful.
So I’m sitting on them for a while. Maybe the next time I look at them I’ll see what their flaws are.
When one meets one objective and not the other, the question is how to meet the other. Certainly revision is a good task but also more practice. I need to write more stories.
With that in mind, rather than abandon the Short Story Challenge 2013 as over, I’ve decided to continue into 2014 and have another 12 stories ready for October to meet Khara’s 3-per-week minimum submission requirement.
This year I have three collections I’m working on:
I sketched the Memphis outlines but haven’t filled them in yet. That project requires some research as it’s a literary project with some Canterbury Tales tie-ins. It’s been fifteen years since I studied The Canterbury Tales (and then I did it in Middle English ugh!) but this idea has been with me since 2001, so I’m going to pursue it this year.
Last year’s stories include three from The Derecho, but a collection needs at least 10 so that leaves seven more stories to be told. I have the beginnings of two.
Bearskin is the retelling of a Grimm fairy tale from several angles and including various elements of supernatural occurrences. The drafts come from the Reuts Publications November project (all three of mine were rejected, alas). They’re a YA publisher and I am not a YA writer, so I’ll revise these into my genre.
These projects are against the advice of a novelist I met in 2013 who said, “No one buys short story collections.”
I guess they must be simply for my own education and appreciation. I can be okay with that. I had an objective in 2013 that I failed to achieve: Learn to write really good short stories.
Renewing that objective for 2014 is, I think, the right thing to do if I am to become the writer I want to be. And who is that writer?
The one who writes really good short stories, of course.