Sunday, July 10, 2011

Good Resource For Writers; My First Sample

A few weeks back, I learned of a great website for aspiring writers: Poets & Writers. One of the most intriguing sub-headers, to me, is the "Call for Manuscripts: Anthologies." Writing a novel--or even a full book of poetry--takes a lot of time. But if you've got a single short story you want published, these are some folks looking for one. Immediately catching my attention was UNCLE JOHN'S FLUSH FICTION, which is looking for fiction of most any genre, as long as it's under 1,000 words.

I'm always coming up with new ideas that I simply don't have time to flesh out. But 1,000 words...I can do that in my sleep, as mentioned in my second post to this blog. In fact, I intend to submit my ghost story, and more, before the August 31 deadline.

As I was contemplating other ideas, a title came to me: "Tarantulas On Leashes." So I started writing. (If bugs creep you out, don't read this.)

     It was a nice day, so I decided to take “Harry” for a walk. “Want to go out, boy?” I called. He scooted across the floor and over to the door, jumping up and down (as best as he could) in anticipation. He was so excited. Harry loves to get out of the apartment, even though to him, it’s quite spacious. He immediately complied when I said, “sit.” Those obedience lessons really paid off. I then stooped down to put on his harness, no mean feat when you take into account all the legs. Suitably leashed, I opened the door and he dashed down the hall, pulling me along as he ran. When we reached the elevator his excited demeanor immediately changed. I’ll never understand how, but his grain-of-salt-sized brain just knew that the elevator somehow was related to the fact that we live on the 12th floor. And he was deathly afraid of heights, something I found odd because many of his brothers in order Araneae live quite high up in trees, or even on the window ledges of skyscrapers. But Harry won’t even go near the windows. Of course any tarantula owner worth his salt knows that most members of the family Theraphosidae reside near the ground. So I suppose it really isn’t that surprising.
     Aside from heights, the only other thing Harry fears are wasps. As well he should. As any caring Tarantula owner knows (or should know), you constantly have to be on the lookout for a Pompilidae, or hawk wasps, which have a particular gruesome evolutionary need to sting, paralyze, and lay eggs on helpless pets like Harry. So naturally I sprayed him with some Off before we stepped outside. My vet has suggested a pill which offers season-long protection. But Harry hates pills. I can’t even sneak one past him by hiding it in a fly...

There's more, of course. In fact, it's about 2,400 words, which makes it too long for the "Flush Fiction." So I'm weighing my options.
  1. Find a publisher / anthology which publishes slightly longer pieces.  I have found quite a few on the Writer's Market.
  2. Make it an e-book and sell it for $0.99 on Amazon. A nice idea, but a buck for 2,400 words seems a little bit undervalued, from the customer's perspective. 5-6,000 words, maybe. Or...
  3. Write a few more related stories, bundle them, and then either do #1 or #2.
We'll see what happens.

Actually, I think some version of #3 will happen, since I've already started a few other "bug stories." I'll post some snippets in the coming weeks.

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