I realize that I hadn’t posted a single solitary thing to A. is A. for a while, and I felt obligated to write something about who I am and what I am doing here.
I started A. is A. when I was an undergraduate as a place to store the fiction I had produced and to talk about my writing process. It was particularly helpful to me when I was working on my senior thesis. My adviser asked me to keep track of my process, and it turns out that dated blog entries are a wonderful way to do that.
A few things have changed since then. The most important two things are that I am no longer a student and that I am currently submitting my fiction to non-student publications.
Now that I’m not in school, I have much less focused time to write. I am still writing new things, but I’m mainly focusing on polishing existing pieces and preparing them for publication. Since I don’t have to write for a particular audience of undergraduates and professors, I’ve also been returning a little to my nerdling roots. I am still writing strange mainstream fiction, but now I can also work on straight up genre fiction as well. It’s a nice feeling to have that freedom, to return to old ideas of mine from years ago and then to try to write them with the skills I have now.
How’s that been going? Better than expected. Due to long waiting times for responses and “no simultaneous submissions” rules, I’ve only submitted my work to various publications about three times. Each time I eventually received a rejection letter, which was not surprising. What was surprising is that the majority of rejections letters I’ve received have been personalized rather than automated and tool the time to tell me that, while the story I sent them is not a fit, my prose was strong and they’d like to see more of my writing. That’s a very nice thing to hear. It’s that sort of encouragement that keeps me flinging out my work to different markets. I’ve been told that you should expect to submit a story at least 10 times before it gets published. It’s like banging your head against a wall until you make a hole and climb through.
By the way, if you are also writing and are looking for markets, I highly recommend Duotrope’s Digest. It’s an amazingly helpful tool.
As I’ve read more about simultaneous submissions, reprints, and publications rights, I’ve realized that most publications prefer stories that haven’t been published anywhere else before. Including the author’s website.
I will still update this site, and in 2011 I’m going to try to post more regularly. But I will no longer be posting full-length, polished stories. Some previously posted stories that are under consideration for publication may come down temporarily until I kind find a home for them. I will keep you updated about where they end up, and update the story index page to reflect any new information. While I won’t be publishing full-length stories here anymore, I will still be posting things that I don’t intend to submit for publication elsewhere. That includes excerpts, process notes, non-fiction, and other blog-sized bits of writing.
Coming soon: a short essay about owning an animal whose consciousness is entirely alien to one’s own. And perhaps, finally, an essay on the narratology of video games.