Saturday, October 10, 2015

Quick Thoughts - Send in the Clowns (part 1)

My story, “Tramposo,” is available now in the latest issue of Lamplight Magazine. I’m super excited to be in such illustrious company, sharing the issue with none other than Tim Waggoner, whose licensed fiction I have quite enjoyed (his Lady Ruin Eberron tie-in is quite good). Also his blog, which I find really helpful. Anyway, the story is a science fiction horror and well…I have something to confess about it. Something that might not really come as a surprise but something I feel kind of guilty about.

I was not expecting it to sell. Like, at all. Not because I don’t like it but because I thought it was way too obviously written for a call that had nothing to do with Lamplight. And, I’m guessing, when people realize you’re sending them a story that was written for something else, they get a little grumpy. I’ve seen it on a list of “don’t do this” things for authors submitting to places. And I ignore this. All. The. Time. Because, really, many of my stories start as ideas for themed calls. And when they get rejected, what, I’m supposed to just give up on that story forever? So I send them back out, but I normally think their chances are greatly reduced in selling. And especially so because “Tramposo” is a clown story.

I actually have a different story, “Pushpin and Pullpin,” coming out at Unlikely Story for their Unlikely Clowns Redux. And, to be honest, I didn’t actually submit “Tramposo” to either of their calls. I wrote it for the first call along with another which I ended up submitting, which ended up getting rejected, which involved Clowninjas and was sort of insane. But I had “Tramposo,” which is science fiction horror involving clowns, and I thought I might as well start sending it around. In my mind it’s like Clownthulhu in space (spoilers?). I had a lot of fun with it, and I wanted to see it find a home, I just never really thought it would.

So surprise surprise it did and now I have this slight guilt that I somehow deceived Lamplight by not including in my cover letter that it was written for another call (even if I never actually submitted it to that call). Probably I’m just all sorts of nervous about submitting. Still, after three years of constant submitting. I still get a bit squeamish about sending things out, worried that they’re somehow against the rules. And I guess I have a weird guilt about actually getting paid for doing something that at least some venues specifically ask writers not do. But the editor liked the story, and maybe that’s the important part? That if you have a story, regardless of where it came from, you should try to send it out? Maybe?

In any event, I hope people like this, which will be my first clown flash fiction story out this month, but not the last. So much clown flash! Anyway, maybe check it out. It’s very short and I tried to write it tense and weird and perhaps a bit unsettling. Did I succeed? Read to find out!

All the best,

Charles Payseur

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