On Being Perverse

In the proper usage of the word, not its current defilement. I simply mean that, upon receiving advice from First Reader that a certain character wasn’t important to the story I’d just written and should be cut out, I not only didn’t cut him out, I went the other way and added an entire extra scene starring you know who.

It’s not that I wasn’t listening to First Reader’s reaction. On the contrary, her reaction was the reason I did exactly the opposite of what she suggested. Continue reading

Love in the Time of Trunk Stories

If you follow the field at all, every now and then you’ll hear disparaging remarks about something called a “trunk story.” An editor for a new magazine or anthology (or a new editor for an old magazine) will usually make it part of the submission guidelines: “Send me your best. I don’t want your trunk stories.” For the perhaps two of you at most who don’t know what that means, a trunk story is just one that hasn’t sold, and hasn’t sold in a persistent or dramatic fashion, to the point that the writer either loses confidence in it—if they ever had any—or simply, for want of another suitable market possibility, files it away. Sort of a “time out.” The “trunk” part was probably always metaphorical, unless one had enough manuscripts of that type that they required a physical trunk to contain them. Back in the days of paper subs, I found that a cardboard box worked just fine. Continue reading