Wednesday, August 7, 2019

IWSG: Writing Surprises

 Hey y'all - How's your summer going? I'm in sales and merchandising, so my summer is pretty much ended, and I'm already planning winter gear and Christmas. Ugh, I've always hated thinking about Christmas before the Thanksgiving Turkey is even baked.

Just goes to show how things don't always turn out as you planned, right?

Welcome to the August 2019 edition of the Insecure Writers Support Group, hosted by Alex J Cavanaugh and his minions Renee Scattergood, Sadira Stone, Jaqui Murray, Tamara Narayan and LG Keltner. This month's optional question is:

Has your writing ever taken you by surprise? For example, a positive and belated response to a submission you'd forgotten about or an ending you never saw coming?

    Well, my first short story submission received its acceptance eight months after submission, and was published nearly a year after acceptance. I had given up on the submission after three months, and forgotten the story - and pretty much lost heart in short story writing - within six months. I went back to writing on my novel, which had lots of good feedback for revision, but seemed just as hopeless for publication.

When I got a call from the publisher at Bewildering Stories I was stunned into nearly speechlessness. My response was, of course "Is this a joke?" The ezine held onto the story longer than most, had many many staff discussions regarding the content (8 year old boy takes gun to school) and finally the staff decided that if it was that controversial among the staff, it needed to be published.

And that started me on the path to writing and submitting controversial content. Its still scary, but I believe sometimes you gotta stretch yourself if you want to take steps to achieve your goals.

Not that I always persevere, or succeed, but I am less fearful of putting my writing out there, and more accepting of disappointments.  What can I say - if it can happen once, it can happen twice! And some day, that novel trilogy I'm re-working on might get traditionally published.

There is hope is accepting the unexpected.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It pushed you to take more risks with your writing, which is good!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Is this a joke? LOL After that long, I'd wonder, too.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Donna - sounds like you've taken the bull by the horns and have decided to get yourself with your stories out there ... well done and now good luck - cheers Hilary

Rachna Chhabria said...

Your first submission encouraged you to write more, though the wait for its acceptance was a long one.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

You're a brave lady to write the controversial stuff. I get all namby pamby and worried about what other people will think. And how awesome to get picked up after you wrote them off.

Natalie Aguirre said...

What a great story about a surprise. I would have had the same response as you did initially. Sorry that you have to work on Christmas things so early.

Loni Townsend said...

Glad that turned into a positive surprise!

Olga Godim said...

Writing controversial stuff takes lots of guts. I don't think I'm that brave myself, but I bow to you for going that route.

Pat Hatt said...

Goes to show that things can take a good long while. I'd ask if it was a joke too.

Denise Covey said...

Hi Donna. That's the very reason most authors are taking things into their own hands and self publishing but of course that's a big commitment. The length of time traditional publishing I'm conflicted whether to bother resending my Paris womens fiction back to two publishers who wanted it with revisions. It'll probably take them three years before it hits the shelves. Hmmm.

Glad you've got a red wheelbarrow story for WEP!

Lynda R Young said...

Wow, that's a long time for acceptance, but how wonderful! I love that it gave you the courage to write what's in your heart no matter how scary.

Juneta key said...

What a cool story. Must have been a great story for them to hang on so long discussing it.

Botanist said...

That was a wonderful surprise ... in the end!

Donna said...

What a great story and encouraging to others who've submitted things but not heard back!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I don't like it how early Christmas shows up in retail, but I guess the competition demands it.
That's a great story about your story. Kudos to you for tackling controversial subjects.

Chrys Fey said...

Wow! That's an awesome story! I've heard that it takes forgetting about something and letting go for it to happen.

Gwen Gardner said...

Now that was a nice surprise! And quite motivating. AND it could happen again :)

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hey Donna!

That must have been a SHOCK! I loved your response ... completely understandable after so much time....

Powdered Toast Man said...

It is tough to keep going with so much rejection. I lose a lot of confidence in myself.

Randomly found your blog through IWSG.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

From what I've read by some other well-known writers (such as John Steinbeck, for one), the best thing to do is forget all about what you've just written once it's out of your hands, and immediately put all of your focus and creative faculties into a new project.

Me, I don't write anything anymore and have pretty much forgotten all about what I wrote in the past.

I do have one great idea for a book that I am sure would sell and then be made into a popular movie, but I fear that some of the (true-life) exploits in the story would inspire young guys in their late teens and early twenties to copy them, and that would undoubtedly lead to accidents, injuries, and maybe even deaths. I couldn't live with that on my conscience. So I just stick with 'Battle Of The Bands' which can't hurt anyone. Well, it might offend some ears, but it won't really injure them.

~ D-FensDogG
STMcC Presents BATTLE OF THE BANDS said...

I wish you luck, go for it, Donna. I have held back for too many years, but this year have promised myself I SHALL send out my work 🌹

Shannon Lawrence said...

The longest it took me to get an acceptance was 225 days. Another story got accepted after 196 days, and AFTER I had sent them a message withdrawing it. They must have been working from oldest to newest. They ended up publishing it. Good luck to you on further controversial pieces! said...

The rewards to this writing thing tend to hit us by surprise, don't they? Doesn't work for folks who thrive off of immediate gratification. Yet we keep at it. Smiles. Congratulations, and keep persevering!

Thanks for dropping by our ET Interview too.
Be well.

Tamara Narayan said...

As a reader, I appreciate controversial subjects that make you think about something even after the story is done.

Arlee Bird said...

I don't know that anything I ever submitted was particularly controversial, but it apparently was what editors were looking for. I tend to give up easily and that's what happened to my writing. It's been nearly 50 years since I submitted anything anywhere so maybe it's time for me to try again. Maybe I'd get a surprise like you did. I'm not making any plans though.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Diane Burton said...

I love your response. lol A great surprise, indeed. The lesson is: never give up.

Nick Wilford said...

Shows that no news is good news... er, but only if you do eventually get the good news. That edgier content can be tricky to pull off well but it sounds like you nailed it on that occasion. And I have no doubt it'll happen again.

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