Saturday, March 5, 2011

Feeling like an author - the submission process

The one time I feel more like an author, not writer, is during the submission process.  While I'm writing or editing stories, poetry or novels, I know I'm writing but don't feel like a writer.  It's only during that first transition from the private world in my head and on paper to the public domain of an editor, who is not a friend or writing partner, that I feel like I'm doing my job. 
What could be a tedious, nerve-wracking stage, I find to be exciting, rewarding and it gives me the satisfaction of a professional working at their craft.  Sure there are hours to be spent on Duotrope reading the market requirements and then there's the preparation of manuscripts. And then of course, the time spent reading the magazines themselves to see where my work is a good fit. I don't like to waste my time or another editor's time knowing how many stories and editor reads. So here I am, back in the writing working saddle and feeling a sense of exhilaration and camaraderie with the thousand other writers out there who are stepping out, taking that risk and sending their children out into the world for the first time.
Since I've been away from the submission process a few months, I notice things change in a short time.  I'm amazed at the fast growing number of absurdest, magical realism and fabulist markets. When I was in the most hectic years of publishing Fissure magazine, I received few stories in these subgenres and not many magazines were looking for such off the wall tales. I spent an hour yesterday on Duotrope reading the stories published on some of the online mags and the writing is wild, intelligent, sometimes hilarious and sometimes full of depth and commentary. It appears absurdest writing is becoming more absurd and fabulist writing more fabulous, so I no longer fall into those categories.  Way back when I was writing my Two Ruffians and a Rat series it would have fallen into fabulist writing, but now I think it's fallen through some weird crack. "Yoke Not Yokel" I guess would be magical realism but not sure about "Ruffians."

It's not often I'm distracted from submitting work by wanting to read all the new short stories released from around the world.  There is a massive cornucopia of wit out there now.  I took a break from reading steampunk books and went back to reading Salman Rushdie after this brief foray and as always am blown away.  I'm finally reading, "Midnight's Children", Rushdie's Booker Prize winner. During it's fast chaotic pace, the reader is led through the history of India during its transition form British rule to Independence, under the guise of a tale around one highly unusual boy. The philosophy is what I love in his books along with the commentary on human nature in its many quirks and folds.
Two stories submitted so far today - one more, perhaps two to edit and send off. 

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