Writing Wednesday: polishing up dull gems

CAUTION: Long post ahead, but it’s worth it. ūüėČWriting Wednesday

Originally posted on Rise of the Slush blog:

The last 2 months have been a bit insane. I got roped into this crazy submission call, originally proposed by my critique partner. The submission call involved fairy tale re-telling with *drumroll* zombies!

I know what you’re going to say next: “But Landra you hate, and I mean despise with every ounce of your being, zombies.”

I’m also aware of this fact, and… did I mention I was dragged into this by my critique partner. The conversation went a bit like this:

Her: “This is insane but, PUBLISHER¬†has a call for fairy tale retelling zombie romance short story/novellas for Halloween. It’s got my creativity flowing.”

Me: “What’s this crazy idea you’re having? I like it.”

Her: We should each¬†write a story for submission.¬†It’s due by July 31st. Doing it together will act as motivation.”

Me: “But we¬†have less than¬†2 months to write it.”

Her: “That’s right. 1 week to brainstorm, 1 week to plot, 2 weeks to write, 2 weeks to edit, and 1 week of wiggle room I think we can do it.”

Me: “It would definitely be an experience for deadlines and writing short stories.”

Her: “So you’re in?”

Me: Uh… yeah.

Flash forward about a week later and she texts me.

I just remembered something: You hate zombies. Like they seriously creep you out. How are you doing with this?

I told her as long as the good guys get to win I can do this.

Then things got crazy. I brainstormed, plotted, and then lost my touch. It took about a week to get back in the groove. Then I wrote (kickin’ and screamin’ all the way) until I thought everything was crap. I wrote some more, and sent the pieces of the story to my lovely CP to rip apart. In between power outages, heat waves, monsoons, and random personal disasters I managed to finish the story and begin edits. The last 4 days were probably the worst, and then I had to write a query.

The end result- I. Did. It. I submitted the story. I’m ready for rejection. I learned a ton of things through writing and editing, which I’ll include in another post. But regardless of what happens this is a learning experience and even if it does go beyond a standard form letter telling me to try, try again I know that I can.

Flash forward 3 years:

I got rejected. Yep, no publishing zombie story for me, which needed to happen. I needed another reminder that writing is hard work and there were still a ton of things to learn. So the Sleeping Beauty Zombie story got shelved, huddled away in a remote corner and doomed to perdition. Until my current publisher ran a call for Sleeping Beauty re-tellings.

I pulled out my query blurb and got the green light to write and submit my story. I already had it, but the book needed a lot of work. The hours were long, detailed edits where I spliced things, fixed character issues, add more backstory, cleared up some plot holes. Honestly, the original should have been rejected and I’m thankful it was.

Now, it’s been accepted and A Rose by Any Other Name is going through the edit rounds with my publisher as I type this. No news on a release date, but when I know you’ll know.

Bottom line, even old, unpublished duds can be polished up and released into the big, wide world. The important thing is to have words to start with. I can fix words, I can’t fix a blank piece of paper.

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