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ANATOMY OF A FIRST SALE

In theory, my story was supposed to go live at NewMyths.com on the 1st of December. Well, today is Monday and hopefully itll be posted eventually. Until then, you might find this entertaining:

Almost two years ago now, I decided rather abruptly that I was going to write a science-fiction novel.

I was mainly inspired by my friend Juan, who had written one in a two or three month stretch of unemployment. Mine was going to be a post-“peak oil” thriller in which the most audacious “novum” was the idea that in the future, “football” (i.e. “soccer”) would be the most popular sport in the divided States of America.

I soon realized I’d bitten off more than I could chew, and decided I ought to try my hand with the short-story medium, you know, to sharpen my skills.

My first story idea was the fruit of a misread word on a computerscreen. My eyes saw the word “Jesuit” and interpreted it as “jetsuit”. The similarity between the two words struck me, and I started my first story with the image of a “Jesuit in a jetsuit”. I wrote a story the “logline” of which could be summarized as “witch hunt on a lunar colony”, and promptly sent a draft off to my friend Alex, who happened to be taking a course on science-fiction and fantasy at the university.

He never got around to reading it, thank goodness. It was nearly 28 pages long. Also, it sucked.

I noted in the e-mail to my friend that I was shooting for sort of a mix between Jorge Luis Borges and E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith. “Los teólogos” seen through the prism of Golden Age SF. An Inquisition led by Campbellian “competent men”. What I’d ended up with was “The Wicker Man IN SPACE”.

After many submissions and rejections, I actually got a rewrite request from one market. The editor suggested that the piece would perhaps be better if I excised the scene in which a farmhand had sex with a sheep.

I removed the scene and re-submitted, but alas, ‘twas not to be.

Finally, I sent the piece to Mr. Scott T. Barnes at NewMyths.com. He also requested a rewrite, saying that the ending was all wrong, the motivation for the main character’s action at the end was non-sensical. He suggested that I completely overhaul the second half of the story and send it back to him.

His observations were all spot on, so I obliged, and in short order, received an acceptance e-mail and a contract—my first (and only) sale. And so, dear friends, a sucky story became non-sucky (IMHO).

Er…link forthcoming.


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