Book giveaway! Follow me on Goodreads and enter to win a physical copy of the ‘Dead of Winter’ Anthology!
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:
“What seemed like just another raid goes wrong in the worst way possible, and the hunters become the hunted. A story with a twist you won’t want to miss.”
The paperback copy and kindle version of the Dead of Winter anthology–featuring my story, ‘The Huntress of Bur’–is released tomorrow! You can buy it on Amazon! Any fans of horror may enjoy.
So, much like last year, I submitted a short story to the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest. To my surprise, I received a Silver Honorable Mention for my short story, ‘A Woman Named Life,’ which places me roughly 15th to 25th (top 1%!) out of nearly 4,000 entrants! What does this mean? Nothing, really. I think it may help me get it published a little easier. Who knows. I’m going to actively send it to publishers until someone likes it enough to publish it, but that doesn’t mean anyone who wants to read it has to wait. Just shoot me a message for a link to the story.
You can see the list of winners here.
I was interviewed by the talented Nadia L. King for her blog. Go check it out!
I’d like to see more people write. It’s not a competition. I love when friends tell me they’re writing something. I love to throw ideas and struggles off each other. It’s big that we support each other. We’re only competing against ourselves, not one another.
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My short story ‘The Old Man Next Door’ is now available via Write Out Publishing.
It’s only $1.99, but you can use the promo code TUESDAYDOOR to make it .99 cents! The great thing about this publisher is that 10% of all purchases go toward the charity of my choice which is the Ronald McDonald house of Dayton.
Once purchased, you can download the PDF via email or device (I think). Love it or hate it, please write a review on the site if you read it.
I wrote this story about a year ago, and I can’t allow this to be published without thanking those who proofread/edited it: Shana, Christopher, the amazingly talented Brian Staveley (who also wrote the summary on the publisher’s website for me), Rion, and Professor Duda.
Thank you to anyone who pays money for this. Nowadays it’s harder than ever to afford literature and find the time to read it. I appreciate your time more than the money spent. It’s a miserable story, but I hope everyone finds their own bigger picture from the outcome. I have more short stories to come, and I four novels that I need to get ready for publishing, which is going to take years (be patient).
Thanks for the support!
I used to love simple things—books, writing, baseball, television, feeding the ducks—and now that’s just ash in my mouth. When I think about how much I loved those little things, I actually feel like I’ve bitten into the hot end of a cigar. It really puts shit into perspective. What could I have done to keep her with me? When she was awake, it was always about her. We played her games and watched her shows and kicked the soccer ball and built forts between the couches to protect ourselves from her army of dolls. We were unstoppable. All those “likes” on social media made me so proud. It’s a big deal when people like your kid… it makes up for the fact that so many of us are assholes. She was pretty, my girl, and everyone knew her name… I can’t even speak it anymore without chasing it with a double shot of Michter’s followed by the thrilling thought of burying a bullet in my brain.
My short story ‘The Old Man Next Door’ is being published by Write Out Publishing next month! It’s a bit of a different format. They sell the stories for $1.99 ($.99 the first week!) Please check it out! They donate a % to a charity of my choice, which is pretty cool for a publisher to do.
I wrote the story a year ago. It’s about a man who’s struggling to get a grip on his life after the loss of his daughter.
I’ve been working with the editor/owner of the publication the past few days and feel extremely fortunate to have such a great team of individuals to work with.
I will be sure to keep everyone posted. Expect me to spam the story a few times once it’s out there for purchase. Thanks to everyone who’s supported my writing so far, especially Professor Duda, who fell in love with this story from the moment I submitted it in her class. It may not seem like a big deal, but I have been submitting this story to publishers for nearly a year. It was the wait was worth the wait because Write Out Publishing is everything I wanted in a publisher.
Here’s the site if you want to check them out. IT WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE UNTIL SEPTEMBER, 20!
The last time I posted was four months ago. I may not be the most consistent “blogger,” but I am a consistent writer. By making that statement, I do have some updates for those of you that care, which I am so very grateful that so many of you do ask me about the progress of these novels–especially those of you whom I’ve never met.
I finished my BA in Creative Writing in January. That doesn’t mean much aside from the fact that I’m a lot better at knowing the rules of writing so I can break them. Writing–true writing–can’t be taught, but it sure as hell can be defined, exampled, and admired. A lot of authors say it’s pointless to go to college to learn how to write because each professor has a different opinion on what authors they respect and want to teach from. I disagree, because I learned a lot about what I find effective. The truth is, I didn’t learn how to be a writer, but I learned how to write so people would be interested in what story was being told. Writing isn’t something you learn, outside of the basic principles, but something you do until you get better –like basketball or knitting. I write 500 words a night and can tell you that has helped me form my writing style more than any class–but those classes helped craft those 500 words into something I now keep instead of deleting with disgust the following day.
On to the good stuff!
Publication: I have a flash fiction and two short stories out to various publishers at the moment. That will go on for some time because getting a story published it more about timing and luck as much as talent and story. I don’t know how many times I’ve gotten an email back stating “This would have been perfect for our theme two months ago, but doesn’t fit this month!” Probably an easy wake to soften the blow but it at least keeps me confident.
- Agatha Christie was rejected for five years before landing a publishing deal.
- Dr. Seuss was told his work was too different from other juvenile works to warrant selling.
- ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’ was rejected so many times, Beatrix Potter self-published 250 copies of her own. It went on to sell 45 million copies.
Novels: I’m a bit of a mess when it comes to this.
I have the third draft of one novel (a 220,000 word fantasy story) done, which I now want to rewrite because my writing style has progressed so much over a two years span.
I wrote a romance novel just for the hell of it, which ended up getting really good feedback. I may throw it on amazon one day under a Pen Name–any suggestions? It was something I wanted to challenge myself with–writing from a woman’s first-person point-of-view–and I feel like it’s made me a better character writer overall. It’s romance, who cares about the ending as long as it’s happy. I need to finish this story.
The third novel is about 80% done. I got snagged on an event and need to take some time off. That’s the best thing when you consider deleting chapters and arcs and stories from a novel. I’ll go back to it in three months and start right back where I stopped with no problems. It’s about a witch named Lilac who is a pharmacist. She’d never used her witchery–but when her grandmother and sister were burnt at the stake, she decided it was time for revenge. Really it’s a novel about a clumsy, kind woman trying to learn how to be a witch like the rest of her family–and botching a lot of it along the way. It is a fantasy novel, but a little less “fantasy” than most.
Right now I’m really deep into another fantasy novel. It was a plot I had stuck on my brain and it nagged me until I started writing it. It’s going well–minus the annoyance of building a world, kingdoms, history, laws, wars, and Gods. It’s my best yet, mainly because my writing is at its sharpest point.
Thank you for caring enough to read this and I hope my next post is something I can share (hopefully published).
My tiny story ‘The Shattered Galaxy’ was selected by the University Literary Journal River & South for their December (bi-quarterly) issue. Please feel free to follow the link below and check it out. It’s only a few pages long.
River & South
Thanks and stay tuned! I have a few more short stories out for potential publication and three novels on the way!