Sunday, January 24, 2010

Stories without markets

Friday morning I woke with an idea for a short story, mostly an image and brief series of events that I knew would make a strong opening scene. I roughed out that opening scene before my morning shower, went about my day, and returned to the story around six that night. I worked on it until midnight, woke at seven the next morning and continued writing until I had a 4,400-word draft around three Saturday afternoon.

The story is complete, though I have to proofread/edit it and make make a few changes before I have a final draft to count as a completed story for the year.

My dilemma is that I have no clue where to submit the story. It doesn't fit any of my usual markets--too violent, too sexual, too long, too male--and the few Web zines that it might fit don't pay. (I'm not opposed to placing work with non-paying markets; I just can't put food on the table that way.) What to do, what to do?

Some of my best stories are like this. The ideas come unbidden, they don't fit any particular market, and they take bloody all forever to place.

Still, I'm not one to look a gift muse in the mouth. In a day or two I'll pick this story up again, give it a good going over and then submit the manuscript somewhere...because it'll never sell if it sits in my filing cabinet.


sandra seamans said...

Would it work for Ellery Queen's Black Mask section?

pattinase (abbott) said...


Michael Bracken said...

Thanks for the suggestions, but, in its current form, the story doesn't seem a good fit for either of them.