Monday, August 12, 2013

Revise, rewrite

I still have the stories I wrote in college. I'm sure we all do, college or high school.

They aren't bad, per se. They clearly aren't good, either, as each one I've sent out has received a rejection.

I received an acceptance once, from a small press. It was going to be for an anthology of my short stories, and it's why I started this blog, actually. And my twitter. I was supposed to have a "social media platform" to build fans. Which I have, I suppose. But no anthology, you might have noticed. See, the press went on hiatus due to financial difficulties. And then the owner was going to open a small boutique press. Etc. etc. So I asked for my rights back. No real hard feelings; other than saying "yes", they weren't necessarily the best fit for me. A lot of romances; the questionnaire/informational thing I filled out about the anthology asked for "heat levels" and other mysterious things that really did not apply.

So the bottle of Veuve Clicquot remains unopened; I'll open it when I have proofs in hand, or a book itself. I haven't quite decided yet. It's meant, to me, to celebrate publication. Never mind that it's probably champagne vinegar by this point. It's the symbolism.

But, every once in awhile I get the notion to rewrite one of those old stories. I'm working on one now; I reread it, then realized a new start and new direction would work well with the framework I'd already established. I'm not doing a cut 'n' paste, add and subtract. I have both files open, and I'm referring to the original when I pause in the new. It's exciting work, sometimes, that flash of inspiration where you realize what will make everything better. Untying the yarn snarl that makes things hang just right in your hands.

Would I have liked to be published before now? Well, yes. I've been subbing stories since college. Would I like to be proud of what I've had published, even ten years later? Yes. So, maybe that's the delay. I know I'm still growing and changing as a writer. I know I had a lot to learn in college, and probably even now (example:rejections).

So I revise and rewrite, and write new works altogether. And the Veuve Clicquot gathers dust with the other bottles, waiting, waiting.

10 comments:

  1. It's wonderful that you are trying to get some new mileage out of your older pieces.

    Reading through your blog I can tell that one day you'll have your published book in one hand and a glass of that Veuve Clicquot in the other! Best of luck :)

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    1. Thanks so much! (and thank you for reading ^^)

      I can't countenance having wasted words, or wasted time on the stories, so it makes me really happy to have new inspiration with them. I actually stopped subbing for a couple of years, so hopefully with a newly polished "completed stories" folder, I'll get a lot more out there, and start seeing acceptances!

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  2. Sometimes I go back and read the old stuff. Yeah, a lot of it is awful, but there are a couple gems hiding in there. Good luck!

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    1. Finding hidden gems is kind of encouraging, really. "Look, it's not that bad!"

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  3. There was a time when I was determined to save all my rejections and then frame them to wallpaper my powder room. :) I shoulda done it.

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    1. Maybe you should have!

      I said "fuck it" and threw mine away. I didn't have all that many physical ones (though I guess I could print the emailed ones).

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  4. Your post reminds me of when I got a call from the editor considering my novel. He said, "Go out and celebrate. Have a glass of wine. We're buying your novel."
    Keep the corkscrew handy! Your day will come.

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    1. What a fantastic call to receive! That kind of thing might get me over my aversion to the phone.

      Thanks!

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  5. I tell you what, though. I'm glad that some of the stuff I shopped around when I was greener didn't see the light of day!

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    1. Oh yes, I'm thankful for that as well! Some stories, when I look at them now, I cringe a bit knowing I showed them to other people.

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