C. A. Casey

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A Tale of Two Stories

Posted by Casey on April 23, 2007


Each zine has a submission process that suits the way the editors approach each issue. Some publications give authors little victories and regular victories. Since writing is as much about the journey as the end of the journey, little victories are nice because they reaffirm that the writer is on the right track in guessing a particular story may be a good match for that zine.

I submitted a story to a zine that has reading periods for specific issues. The editors read all the stories submitted during the reading period and reject the ones that don’t make it for whatever reason and the rest go on to the next round of deciding which will end up in the issue.

This is the point where all kinds of factors come into play–from an editor just plain liking a story too much to let it go, to whether or not a story fits in with the general tone of the other submitted stories, to having to almost flip a coin between stories of pretty much equal weight.

The stories are random objects with similar characteristics and editors have the task of picking the random objects that make some kind of sense that usually has more to do with feel than with logic to create a satisfying publication. All a writer can do is keep fingers crossed that her particular story fits.

My story has made it to the next round. A little victory.

I also submitted a story to a well-established anthology with many published volumes. I had a story that I’ve tinkered with for years that matched the premise of the anthology but not the tone. The anthology wanted traditional fantasy. As a reader, I prefer traditional fantasy but my writing style is more suited to science fiction, which I don’t really like to read as much as fantasy. Go figure.

Needless-to-say, my attempts at traditional fantasy don’t have the same tone or feel that readers expect from traditional fantasy.

I submitted the story on the off chance the editors might go for something a little different. I wasn’t too surprised when it wasn’t accepted because it, as they put it, didn’t quite have the feel they wanted for the anthology and suggested I try another market for it.

I had to give it try because you just never know. As I always say, the worse that can happen is a story will not be accepted. But if you don’t try, a story never has a chance of being accepted.

And, yes, the story that made it to the next round is science fiction.


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