A post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group
May is Short Story Month, so I’m going to rant about short stories again. I like writing them. The short format seems to agree with me. My short stories have been published in various internet and print magazines. Not the top notch magazines, but any publication is good. It means an editor read my story and liked it enough to include in his next issue. A validation of sorts, even if the magazine doesn’t pay much (or at all). Recently, I have written seven new stories, and they are all currently on submission rounds. Despite my previous publications, it’s not easy to find a home for my new stories, and I have been wondering: why?
My writing is good, better than before. My latest novel EAGLE EN GARDE won EPIC eBook Award this year. Why can’t I place a story in any magazine? So far, I have only rejections for this bunch of stories.
Of course, good writing is not enough. There should also be rapport between a writer and an editor. Like any art form, writing is subjective. Furthermore, there might be another problem with my stories.
Many magazines have a list of story types they DON’T WANT. Obviously, they get a barrage of such stories. For some reason, not one of my stories ever fit any entry in such lists. It should be good news, right? All magazines say in their submission guidelines that they want innovative, original, unique, but I’m not sure that’s true. Most magazines publish stories with a similar vibe again and again. Maybe their editors only appreciate one story type, and their request for originality is an affectation, a fake claim, because it sounds good on submission guidelines.
Or maybe my stories are too out in left field, and the editors don’t think their readers would enjoy them? One of my stories might serve as an example. It’s a love story but not a standard love. It’s a love story where the hero and the heroine can’t have sex. He was injured in the war and is impotent. She was raped long ago and can’t imagine entering a sexual relationship. They seem created for each other. But… What magazine would accept such a story?
For a romance magazine – without the possibility of sex, the story doesn’t conform to the modern romance requirements. For a family-oriented publication – the content is too adult. For urban fantasy magazine (yes, there is some magic in the story), it’s too old-fashioned. The heroine is a classic female, soft and loving. She doesn’t kick butt. She cooks dinners for her man. Even a magazine dedicated to disabilities rejected it. The characters’ disabilities are too freaky; almost unspeakable.
I think it’s a beautiful story about two wounded people finding each other despite huge odds, but no editor has agreed with me yet. Why can’t I write standard romances? Of course, I could publish my stories myself – on FictionPress or Wattpad – but I don’t want to. First, I want a magazine editor to acknowledge my story. I want that validation. Is it too much to ask?