I woke up to a short story rejection today. Even after my ongoing 40+ rejection streak, it doesn’t get much easier to open those emails. I’ve learned that in the preview copy in my inbox, rejections often start with “Thank you for your submission…” The bad news is buried somewhere after the preview, which gives writers just enough hope to think that the future is not set, Fate isn’t real, and Destiny isn’t predetermined. That maybe this click to open will be different…
Today’s rejection came with a bit of a surprise though. Usually I’ll get the typical “Thank you for submitting. Unfortunately…” Today, however, the editor was kind enough to include a line indicating that they actually liked the piece! That’s always nice to hear, and it’s encouraging. That means there is hope yet!
This most recent piece that I’ve been shopping around is one I’ve been mulling over since last fall, but I didn’t want to devote time to it until I finished my novel manuscript. I’m trying to get better at ordering ideas into a to-do list these days, so I sat on it up until a month or two ago.
Speaking of the novel, the manuscript is out for consideration but no bites yet.
I’m not a fan of the waiting game, and I’ve often found that shortly after finishing any piece, when that sense of satisfaction and “new car smell” begins to fade, the need for the next hit starts gnawing at the back of the brain.
“What’s new? What’s next? Come on, come on, come on, come on…”
It starts as an itch. Then it becomes this all-consuming hunger, and if I let it ride too long, it keeps me up at night. I could kill it at work one week and spend my evenings knocking out project after project around the house, but there’s no sense of accomplishment quite as strong and as fulfilling as writing, as creating something from nothing. To even partially dream a world by putting a few lines on a page, that’s more soothing and satisfying than any number of errands or DIY projects finished.
I need to tell a story. To anybody. To nobody. To myself. I need to tap into the well of ideas that is my brain and let the creative oil spill all over the canvas. Who cares if it’s nothing tangible? That hunger needs to be fed, and it’s a Galactus-level hunger that knows no permanent satiation. I am merely it’s herald (Please excuse me – I really wanted to work a Silver Surfer reference into this post).
While I wait for an indie publisher to pick up my book or a couple of lit magazines to pick up my two pieces I’m shopping around, I’ve decided to focus my efforts on something new and different from what I normally do.
Many of you already know that I write reviews (almost weekly) over at TheBatmanUniverse.net. I’m a lifelong comic book fanatic and an even bigger Batman acolyte. I’m also the managing editor and occasional guest podcast host.
The truth is, I’ve been reading comics since I could read. I love the format. I love that creative teams to work together to tell deep, moving stories in the span of 22-32 pages, complete with Shakespearean dialogue and pops of color. Comics, to me, are like the offspring of the pulp novel and blockbuster cinema. It has all of the visual aesthetic of film with the fast-paced, thrilling plotting of pulp novels.
This is all to say that I’ve had an idea brewing in the back of my brain for years now for a comic series. My wife recently challenged me to quit sitting on it and get to work (she also monitors my monthly comic spend). She’s helping with art, and I feel convinced and compelled to put together a 6-issue miniseries (of the first arc) of this idea and try shopping it around to indie publishers.
Comics, particularly graphic novels aimed at the YA reader, are HUGE right now, and younger readers are very keen on devouring new worlds with new characters untethered by 60, 70, or 80 years of canon. The idea I’ve been sitting on is new, and it’s something I haven’t seen out in the wild yet. It fits with what’s working. I mean, it could totally fail and never go anywhere, but I won’t know unless I shoot my shot, right?
For now, I’ve wrapped up any lingering short stories I had in the back burner, and at least for the next couple of months, I’m going to script this miniseries and put together a pitch. When that’s down and I’m ready to force it in front of the eyes of indie comic publishers, I’ll come back to short stories and tackle another novel idea that’s been sitting on my ever-growing writing to-do list for like 2 years now. It’s related to that so-bad-it’s-good scifi film Robot Monster, but that’s a blog post for another time.
Thanks for reading, and I hope all of your projects are going well. I’d love it if you shared some of your pieces with me. You can comment here or send them to me on Twitter @ScottWaldyn.
If you’re interested, here’s a few pieces of mine:
- “We’ve Come a Long Way” (scifi, short fiction)
- “It Costs $46.50 to Kill a Rat, But the Memories Last a Lifetime” (flash fiction piece)
- “16-Bit Heroism” (short fiction piece)