Just checking in with some writing news—nothing too exciting at the moment—but a lot is happening in terms of staying busy trying to get two short stories published and working on a novel. That was a really long sentence.
Goodreads: Thanks to the awesome ‘Dead of Winter’ Anthology, which includes my short ‘The Huntress of Bur,’ Goodreads has added me as an author! I’m trying not to freak out very much since I was only part of a published book, not my own novel, but it’s still pretty exciting to be part of the club. You can find me here if you want to follow: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16424995.Justin_Chasteen (you can only post novels and such, but I snuck in a published short story, shhhh). I’ll probably do a book giveaway soon for the anthology.
Short stories: Where are they, right? Well, I’m still shopping around ‘A Woman Named Life,” which had previously placed Silver Honorable Mention in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest. I also finished a new short story called ‘Saudade.’ ‘Saudade’ is about a woman who’s obsessed with a mistake she made earlier in her life, and she punishes herself mentally because she feels she doesn’t deserve to have something she wants very badly. It’s a bit longer than my usual short stories–close to 10,000 words–but there are homes out there for longer short fiction. What I’m beginning to realize is that it takes about a year to get something published. I’m going to get in that shortly.
Novels: I know, I’ve written four, but they were just first drafts. The one that ended up being a second and third draft I am now rewriting completely. So, I’m now rewriting my first novel, which I feel is much needed. The story is there, but it’s too long. My writing has grown ten times since I wrote that novel, so I want to give it a fair chance with a publisher by providing my best writing. It’s not nearly as easy as i assumed. I thought it would just be copy, paste, fix. I’m trying to fix the writing, so really I have to take as few notes as possible on each chapter and literally rewrite each word. It was also 70,000 words too big, in my opinion. One quote I’m learning is true: the first draft is just the author telling the story to themselves. I think it is important for me—especially now that I know I can write to a level I don’t hate (completely)—to know that a first draft is just a map. Changes, big changes, will need to happen with future drafts and rewrites to make it whole. We all LOVE The Lord of the Rings trilogy extended edition, but it’s also important to understand why they were trimmed in the first place. Same thing applies to first to final draft. The Hobbit films were trash, though.
From what I’ve learned through the writers I’ve met on social media, to the incredible podcast I recently started listening to titled “I Should be Writing’ (any newish writer should check this out), is that a ton of writers are crushed by rejection from publishers—from poetry to short stories to novellas to novels. I think it’s important that we, as writers, be honest with ourselves about our own work. How? Good question. We hate everything we produce. What I’ve discovered over the past 18 months is that I just know if something is ready to see a publisher. How? I don’t pick at it like a dried scab. It’s also important to know that you’re going to get rejected. Everyone knows the stories—Stephen King, JK Rowling—so I won’t go into that. I wanted to extend two bits of advice that has helped me have a solid three-out-of-four success rate with my short stories being published.
- With each rejection, send your story to two more publishers. It’s that simple. Make a second fist and strike again. This will keep your bait in the water and give you a good routine to practice so that rejection isn’t a pity party. If the publisher provides feedback, use what you feel is helpful. Don’t change your entire story based on the opinion of ONE person. Send out that same draft for a year. ** Make sure the publishers you submit to accept simultaneous submissions! Follow their guidelines.**
- One year: Submit that same draft for a year. Do not give up on it. I’ve done this three times and have had three short stories published by places that were the right fit. My fourth short story hasn’t hit a year yet—but it’s getting close. So much of getting published has to do with fitting in with the publisher. You could write a perfect love story, but a place that publishes supernatural horror isn’t going to give two-shits about your masterpiece. Pay close attention to where you submit—it has a lot to do with actually getting your work published.
Thanks to whoever took the time to read this. You can find the links to my published works here:
THE OLD MAN NEXT DOOR