Saturday, September 09, 2006

A Good Job Done. Now What?

Yesterday I finished cleaning my desk/office. It only took me the better part of 5 or 6 weeks. And I had someone helping me part of that time.

Okay, so I finished cleaning. That meant I could spend some time yesterday afternoon on the stack of short story manuscripts I've been interested in trying to find markets for since last summer. By last summer, I mean the summer of 2005, not the summer of 2006, which is more properly described as this past summer. Or even this summer. (I'm still reading Word Court.)

Some of these stories are old and will have to be reworked. A few of them are ready to go. I just have to decide where to send them. Many have already been rejected at their fair share of places.

So I spent some time yesterday visiting on-line literary journals and websites for print journals. Literary journals seem to me to be the main market for nongenre short stories. Most general interest magazines don't carry them anymore.

Whenever I start doing short story research I get a little down because, while I do believe I enjoy reading short stories, I don't really enjoy reading literary journals very much. Over the years I've tried. I've bought journals. I subscribed to one for two years. (I still haven't read the last two issues I received.) I often finish reading the stories in literary journals and find myself going...what?

I've read that modern short stories are influenced by James Joyce, who is supposed to have introduced the idea of epiphanies into writing. Okay. But if a short story includes an epiphany for the main character, shouldn't the reader experience the epiphany as well? Shouldn't I get it?

My point here is that I really don't think I should be submitting short stories to publications that carry short stories I either don't enjoy reading or can't even get through. It doesn't really seem as if we'd be a good fit.

On the other hand, I did finish an essay this past week and submitted it to a journal.

And I've been making a little progress on my Novel in a Year project. (Which is not going to happen in a year or anywhere close to it, by the way.) Last week I decided to add a sibling to the story, and then I decided to make both the child characters girls instead of boys.

If anyone's interested in taking part in Novel in a Year, The Telegraph brought back the first half year's exercises to its website. So you can make your way through the whole mess.

I got to "Week 30" this past week. On the main page under "Week 30" it says, "Now turn your attention to the body of work you've created. How does it all fit together?"

Body of work? Fit together? Other people must have been working much harder than I have.

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