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Weldon Writes ... Almost a Blog

The Tale of a Tale

Let me tell you a story--a history, actually--of a story.

Back in 2004, I decided to write a short story about a hitman, from the hitman's POV, that takes place in the Chesapeake Bay area. I ended up with a nasty little story titled "Welcome to the Food Chain." I had just sold a story, "Another Highway Fatality," to the Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine, and the editor at the time was pulling together an anthology. I sent along "Welcome to the Food Chain" and, after a slight rewrite, the editor accepted the story.

Then, about four months later, Futures Mysterious folded its tent; the anthology would never be published. My story was homeless!

I threw "Food Chain" in a drawer for about a year, letting it "ripen." I do this at times so that I can, at some point, resurrect the story and examine it with different eyes. On second perusal, I thought the story still had legs. So, I rewrote it a bit more, then sent the story back to market.

It was rejected by Murdaland in April, 2007.

It was rejected by Savage Kick in October, 2007.

It was rejected by Dastardly Deeds in November, 2007.

It was rejected by Mouth Full of Bullets in December, 2007.

It was rejected by Well Told Tales in February, 2008.

I buried the story again. Near the end of 2008, I pulled the story from the grave a second time, still liked it, rewrote it a bit more, and sent it out once again to the editorial wolves.

Lo and behold, in March, 2009, "Food Chain" was accepted by the Tampa Marketing Company, for one of several anthologies the publisher had planned. I signed a contract. The anthology was scheduled to be published in June of 2009.

Well, it has yet to happen, and appears unlikely to ever happen. After waiting a year with no correspondence (or payment) from the publisher, I decided to pull the story and market it elsewhere. (You can read about this misadventure in my earlier blog, Failure to Launch?)

Earlier this month, I submitted "Welcome to the Food Chain" for consideration for the anthology Don't Tread on Me: Tales of Revenge and Retribution. The story is perfect for the theme, and the editor thought so as well. So, the story has found its third home--and, hopefully, the third is the charm! The anthology is being published by Lame Goat Press, a small, young publisher. Lame Goat already has a number of anthologies available on Amazon, and the publisher is currently developing a healthy pipeline of books. So, I have greater confidence that my story will finally see print. When the anthology is released, I'll let you know and you all can rush over to Amazon to buy a copy!

So, what's my point to all of this? Thomas Edison once said, "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." I think writing and selling fiction is 1% imagination and 99% persistence. If you believe in a story enough, don't give up on it. If an editor rejects the story, pack it up and send it off to another editor. If the story is good, it will eventually find a home. Have faith!

In the meantime, write your next story. And then your next. When it comes to freelance writing, momentum is everything.

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