The Ups, The Downs

It’s been an interesting month, work-wise.

I sold a story called “Dirty Darlene” to Carve Magazine. That was a good thing – and totally unexpected. I wrote “Darlene” four or five years ago, and have been sending it out ever since. Sixty-seven magazines saw it – ten or twelve wrote kind, personal, rejection notes, and I had come to think that that was the best response “Darlene” was going to elicit (though Husband kept telling me it was the cover story at his imaginary, eponymous magazine).

So selling it was good.

Also good: The TV pilot I co-wrote is now represented by a dear friend and very connected manager in town, so it’s making the rounds to agents and production companies now.

Co-Writer Friend and I are getting ready to begin another project, too.

And, I’ve got two other short stories in submission, one called “James Dean, My Love, My Copyboy,” that I like a lot, and another, “Nothing Will Prepare You,” that I think may be the absolute best thing I’ve ever written. I am hoping some editor out there agrees.

All these successes are progress towards my big list of goals for the year – one of the biggest goals of which was, “Finish all the stories that are mid-third-and-fourth-draft that are sitting around the hard-drive.” “Nothing Will Prepare You” was one of those – it began life in 2002 as my thesis novel, coming in around 60,000 words. I winnowed that down to 17,000 words in 2006, then picked it up again this summer, and cut it to 12,000 words, then 8,000 … and now it comes in around 5270. And like I said, I love love love it. I am thrilled with how I worked through it, and how it turned out.

Anyway, I thought that somewhere in the process of fixing “Nothing Will Prepare You,” – I swear, even the TITLE makes me happy -- I had somehow drummed up the mojo to fix all the rest of the flawed work that’s been hanging around … so I turned to another story that has stuff I love in it, but is somehow lacking … and I wrote and wrote on it. Then I cut and cut. I wrote some more. I moved some crap around.

And it still sucks.

Which kills me. It’s got great characters, great relationships, some really lovely prose, if I do say so myself, and a killer last paragraph. But somewhere around the last third of the story, something goes wonky, and I don’t know how to fix it, and it’s driving me mad. Still, I don’t want to walk away from it … which is maybe the problem? Because strangely enough, that’s this story’s central theme …


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