Today I’d like to share a little bit about what I’m currently working on. I have some great news, and some other news.
First, the great news: I was recently accepted to contribute to an upcoming short story anthology! This project will be the first time any of my fiction work will be published somewhere other than something I’ve organized, and I’m super pumped about this opportunity. With as long as I’ve been writing, it’s kind of embarrassing to admit that this is the first time I’ll be included in somebody else’s project. Honestly though, I’ve only ever submitted a very few stories for consideration. See, writers are notorious for having rock-bottom self-confidence levels. I very much fit into that mold, so I’m typically not too eager to open the door for that level of critique and rejection. And because every experience until now has led to rejection, it’s only solidified that lack of self-confidence. Now, I wanted to share a little about my backstory, but I don’t want this to turn into a pity party, so let’s keep it moving.
Next up, is the other news; just a little background on the project itself. I got so excited about the possibilities with this project, that I kind of let myself get blinded from my own limitations, and here’s what I mean by that. With every other submission I’ve ever done, I’ve had full creative control over the story that I’ve written. This time, the contributors were asked to submit a previous work, so the organizers could judge writing ability. Once selections were made, then writers were paired up, and were given the task of assigning criteria for their partner. Each writer was asked to pick the genre that the other person would write in, provide a lesson for the main character in the story to learn, and provide a word that their partner has to include. Talk about a unique challenge! And I was excited about it!
And then I got selected. As I was waiting to see who I’d be matched with and what my assignment would look like, anxiety came flooding in. What have I gotten myself into? There’s probably a very legitimate reason why my short stories have never been published by somebody else – because they aren’t that good! And what do I know about writing in any genre that doesn’t involve bikers?? With my luck, I’ll have to write some romance, which would possibly be worse than getting rejected from the beginning. Or I’ll get some weird niche genre that I’ve never even heard of, and have to work in a lesson about how important it is to protect purple butterflies at all costs.
Okay, so luckily, that’s not how it played out. My partner did me a solid, and lobbed me a slow pitch, and for that I’m beyond grateful. I now have to come up with an apocalyptic story where the main character learns a valuable lesson about respect. I can totally do that! But wait, first I need to figure out what exactly apocalyptic means. I have an idea for a zombie apocalypse trilogy down the line, so I should have a decent idea what apocalyptic means, but what differentiates it from post-apocalyptic? I’m a huge zombie nerd, so I certainly know what an apocalypse looks like, but what is its actual definition? I also have an idea for a dystopian trilogy that I’ll probably start developing once I wrap up the King of Chaos Motorcycle Club Series. Okay, crap. So then where does dystopian fit into this discussion? Oh man, what did I get myself into??
Quick, to the research realms of Google! I quickly discerned that apocalyptic and dystopian are not interchangeable. Dystopian stories center around a broken civilization with a flawed societal/political structure that is unsustainable. Apocalyptic stories take place when society has already crashed and anarchy rules. Post-apocalyptic would seem to be several years removed from the destruction of society, when the rule of the land is every man for himself, and the world is a wasteland. Differentiating that helps, and tells me exactly what kind of scenario I need to operate within. It also starts planting seeds for ideas to start kicking around and developing a little more.
My biggest fear with this project is that I’ll be discovered as a fraud. That my peers will realize I’m not a “real writer,” and that my submission will be the weakest story in the collection. However, now that I know my genre, and I’ve figured out exactly what it means, I’m starting to feel like maybe I can do this. You can bet I’m gonna give it my best shot! Be on the lookout for more news and updates about this project as it takes shape and I learn more details.
Thank you, that is all.