So, in the interest of getting you closer to what it’s like to be an aspiring fiction writer, I wanted to give you a feel of what it’s like to submit a story, to keep flogging it until it gets accepted somewhere. That’s why I’m introducing “The UnRejectionable Ghoul.” (I know ‘unrejectionable’ is not a word, but it works, dammit.).
To update, I’ve just submitted and got the first rejection for my new story, “The Ghul of Yazd.” I’m calling it an Orientalist horror story (a horror story with an medieval Islamic setting). As any good writer does, I made a note of it in my submission tracker of choice, Duotrope. And then, I resubmitted it. Because I believe in the story, and think it’s solid as it is. I was thinking about this cycle of submittal, rejection, submittal and it struck me that it is a life-and-death cycle. In fact, it’s kind of like a monster from a horror movie (say, Jason of Friday the 13th) that keeps coming back. It’s also similar to a ghoul, not unlike my ghoul.
So, each time the ghoul story gets rejected (killed) I’m going to resubmit it (perform some dark magic, resurrect the ghoul and send him off to stalk the staff of a new unsuspecting speculative fiction magazine). The story and the ghoul will just keep coming back.
There are a few rules here to protect the innocent and the writer:
- I’m NOT going to share which magazines I’ve sent the story to or the rejection letters from the editors. That’s just bad form.
- I will share with you when it gets rejected, resubmitted and, hopefully, accepted. Look for updates on this blog and on my Twitter feed with the tag #unrejectionableghoul.
- I’m going to keep sending out the manuscript until it’s accepted somewhere.
- If absolutely no one wants the story, I’ll self-publish it on Kindle. The ghoul is “unrejectionable,” after all.
So, why am I doing this? The whole objective of this is to:
1. Keep myself sane.
2. Share the pain of rejection, thus minimizing it.
3. Show aspiring writers out there how much rejection they can expect, if they plan on publishing.
Hopefully, that last point will make you want to submit more, not less. It will help you realize it’s normal to get rejected. In fact, as I’ve noted before, it’s normal to get rejected a lot. My first traditionally-published story was rejected 8 times before finding a home.
Ben Franklin once said that every person can expect two thing in this life: death and taxes. Well, if you’re a writer you should add one more: rejection. “Death, taxes and rejection” is not a happy formula, but it is reality. Even the greatest writers have faced it. I hope this series of posts on my story will take away a little of the sting and fear of rejection, by showing it’s something we all face. When, it does, you just have to pull the dagger out of your heart, rip the lid off your coffin and dig out of your grave. Just like the ghoul.
Until next time. Keep reading, keep writing.
Why is that music always seems to accompany my writing pieces and blog ideas? As soon as I had the idea of “The Unrejectionable Ghoul” the image of the ghoul and I driving down a deserted highway at night came flooding into my mind. I’m driving and I keep looking over and he’s there, the Passenger, my ghoul. Dark and silent, knowing and patient. I turn up the radio and this gem from Iggy comes on.