The optional question this month asks: Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn't planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance?
Well, when I started out trying to be a professional writer, I first tried writing a couple novels. One I only researched (I'm probably on a watchlist because of it). It was back when the Hantavirus hit the news. It started on a reservation, and I had an idea for a mystery story in the Tony Hillerman-type style that involved the government releasing a test virus on the reservation. Considering the government's past, it wouldn't have been the first time they tested something on a minority population. I spent months researching government testing and biological warfare. Astoundingly, I found out how to make anthrax from one of the library books. I have no idea idea which book now, and I don't remember anything other than that it was shockingly easy to get what was needed.
Tony Hillerman ended up putting out a book that seemed to have a similar premise. I was upset, figured I'd never get a book published if he'd beat me to the punch (I was about 20), and I got a new job where I was working 9am to 2am all but one day per week, in which another manager opened and I closed. Zero days off, discouraged, overworked, exhausted, I gave up on the story.
I started another book, but it felt more like a thriller short story to me, so I eventually hopped back into short stories, because I just didn't have time to do anything else. Two rejections (one from Aasimov's and one from Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, both via mail, both of which I still have!), and I set that all aside until years later as a new mom. I made money as a stay at home mom in writing a monetized blog on being the mom of a child conceived via IVF (2005) and eventually writing articles for an online periodical (2006) (and being a guide on ChaCha and kgb--I suck at not working). But I started slowly, but surely writing short stories and learning how to submit them, all while I also worked on another novel.
I thought being a novelist was the only way to break in, but then my short stories started selling. Then I started being invited to speak and to teach. Writing organizations and the library started treating me like a real author before I felt like one.
Short version: I created my career by accidentally happening into a different form than the one I thought was required to make it in the writing world!
On the flip side, I've had short stories end up clearly needing to be novels, and I'm working on two of those now. We'll see what happens there.
That turned out longer than I intended, so I'll save the rest of my post for next week (if I remember what I was going to say.)
If you missed my post last week, I had a new story come out that is FREE to read, plus I was interviewed, and one of my stories was read on a podcast, also free to listen to! Here's that post if you want the links: Horroraddicts, Dust Bunnies, & Novel Noctule.
Submission stat time! Each month I report the previous month's submission stats to keep myself accountable.
1 acceptance (YAY!!)
12 stories currently on submission
6 stories pending resubmission
Pikes Peak Writers continues with free online programming this month, so if you haven't been able to drop in, you're still welcome! We're likely looking at doing this for at least the rest of 2020. Write Brains are a two hour workshop, Writer's Night is for writing discussions (you can throw out a topic/question for all to discuss or just hang out and take part in the discussion), and Write Drunk, Edit Sober is a series of mini lessons with prompt writing between each lesson. There's also a free conference being put on this fall by three writing groups working together: Pikes Peak Writers, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and Northern Colorado Writers. Anyone can take part, all for completely free. Go the Pikes Peak Writers website for more information.
What's your answer to the IWSG question? What are your insecurities? How are you doing right now? Have you submitted anything?
May you find your Muse!