Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Forge of the Soul

My new short story, Forge of the Soul, is online at Something Wicked Magazine.

I cannot express how satisfied I am that this story has survived to see the light of day. It's path was neither short nor easy. When I finished the first draft of it, I posted it up on the Baen's Universe slushboard. I have to say that the Baen Board has been an invaluable resource for me. I cannot tell you how much my writing has improved from the feedback I've received from the slush editors and other authors on the board.

However, sometimes the criticism can be a bit harsh, especially for stories that do not "fit" the usual Baen Board style. Baen stories are characterized by a positive, life-affirming ending. Forge of the Soul is not that kind of story. The central premise is that some key people involved in the Salem Witch trials reappear forty years later in another town, but they haven't aged. One other Salem refugee who has aged normally recognizes them, and so the story kicks off... Needless to say, it's pretty dark.

I knew this wasn't the typical Baen Board story, but I posted it anyway, confident I would get at least some helpful feedback. The response from one of the slush editorial board members was as follows: I hated this story.

End of feedback, period. I'm not kidding, can you imagine anything more unhelpful or completely non-constructive than that? I'm an editor, I would never do anything like that ever. EVER!

But whatever, I kept going, working on my story, and then submitted it to Something Wicked, confident this was the right venue. A while went by, a long while. Then the magazine abruptly closed. I was major pissed at the way it went down, too. They didn't even bother telling the authors our stories had been released.

So I sucked it up and kept submitting, getting more helpful feedback and improving the story bit by bit. Next thing I knew, a year went by, and lo and behold, I got an email from Something Wicked. They changed to a completely online format and wanted to accept my story. Hurrah! So I sent in my most recent, updated version, and a few months later, up it goes!

Quite the long and winding road, and I'm sure not all that unique, either. But ultimately satisfying. ;)

No comments:

Post a Comment