Monday, September 08, 2008

Rising Damp

In the midst of trying to write a novel, I have tried to write a story or two to keep my hand in, but I may be losing whatever knack I had for it. I wrote a story about 2 months ago and sent it to one of the print journals. They wrote back and said, "loved the first 2/3rds, which were quirky and atmospheric, but the end left us cold and was somewhat absurd."

Now I felt the end was inevitable but probably not the kind of ending this print journal liked. If you tell a story about two really nasty men, shouldn't they get theirs at the end? Okay maybe the means of death was strange, but not so far out.

Place 2 declined without comment.

Place 3-said "the beginning was way too slow but the story picked up midway thought and had a swell ending."

I'm sure you've had this happen. Or at least maybe you have. I only have a few places left to send this with the market the way it is. Most of them will probably agree with Place 3. I see a trend in some zines now to publish stories that are all action and dialog, which is not exactly how I like to write.

Do you write to suit the outlets or suit yourself? Maybe the two aren't in conflict for you. But I feel my strength as a writer, if I have any, is to write about the people who commit crimes and why. If I sacrifice that character development, what's left. I'm sure there are many writers who can do the other things better. I know there are.


Clair D. said...

A little of both. I admit it, as much as I think a peice of writing has to fit the story it tells, I'm not opposed to tweaking a story to get it into the marketplace. After all, a story no one else reads isn't nearly as much fun as one that people share.

But when it comes to dark writing, I think it tends to be hit or miss. Or such is my experience thus far.

Melissa Amateis said...

I have to agree with Clair - tweaking a story a bit to get it to fit the market isn't a big sacrifice unless it completely compromises the entire story. I won't do that.

Hope your story finds a home. :-)

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Hi Patti,

I do best with a specific call for submissions. Then I know what the publisher wants and try to give it to them, while writing something I enjoy.

Even in that limited area I fail to connect nearly half the time.

If I don't really love the story. It doesn't leave the house.


pattinase (abbott) said...

I guess to change the ending would be hard for me because I though of the ending first and it's the most dramatic scene. But to step up the pace in the beginning, to sacrifice a bit of the details, might be easier. Problem is now I've used up there venues and there are only about three left. I need someone to vet my stories. I guess I will look for a new writing group.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Clair: "a little of both." On my first novel, I wrote it for myself and thoroughly enjoyed it. If it becomes the project that merely proved I could write a novel, so be it. But folks who have read it--not all friends and loved ones--really like it. I hope it finds a place. For my second, I've been a bit hamstrung, trying to find that balance between a good way to tell the story and its marketability. Novel #2 won 3rd place in a spring contest but one of the judges commented that aspects of the story I really liked she didn't get. That's been hampering my approach ever since. To answer your question, I think I may just have to write the book the way I want and tweak later...if necessary.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I'm doing that with the book but with the shorts I aim to please.

Linda McLaughlin said...

My muse is a contrarian, so it's not always easy for me to write to someone else's rules. What's so frustrating is to get two diametrically opposite critiques like that. It just leaves you scratching your head and saying, huh?

Hang in there, Patti.


Clair D. said...

You might try the Absolute Write Water Cooler-- there's a share your work forum there. You'll get feedback from all types (and there's no meeting times, which I like.)

Caveat-- you should hang around and be part of the community a bit to get the most of the critiques (no drive-by critiques).

Just my two cents.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks, Clair. Just took five hundred more words out of it. Starting to seem better.

Sandra Scoppettone said...

I've said this before but I'm saying it again.


pattinase (abbott) said...

Oh, boy, Sandra. But there is no place that would publish what I'd really like to write. Not in the ss market anyway. I could go back to the lit magazines but I couldn't murder anyone. If you do, they say try genre markets.

Sandra Scoppettone said...

I think I didn't make clear what I mean. If you don't like reading all action and dialogue you shouldn't try to write that way. If PI novels bore you don't try to write one, etc.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Now I mostly read crime fiction and I do like PI and hard-boiled stuff especially but I find it hard to write it because it often succeeds on plot more than character. What I like to read and what I feel I can write aren't necessarily the same. But it's true, if you don't respect the conventions of the genre, you'll never do well in writing them.