Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Looking back

You ever go back to read a story that you wrote a number of years ago, and you wonder how you wrote anything so accomplished? The story still seems well-written and entertaining? It's like after the passage of time you garner a little objectivity and you appreciate your own skills more.

I had this experience this past weekend as I reread "The Silver Dollar Saucer" in galley proofs for inclusion in the "Raygun Chronicles" anthology. Funny how, looking back, this story had such a mundane start and then such difficulties getting published.

This is another case where I whipped up a story on an arbitrary maguffin - again, as in the case of the very first story I ever had published ("Silvern" in Revolution SF in 2003), a silver dollar. I distinctly remember pondering a feared case of writer's block while marking time taking photos of a girls softball game in Longview. I decided that I would reach in my pocket and write a story based on whatever random item I pulled out.

Because of the fact I was at a particular game when I did this, I know when I did this - March 2005.

Years ago, Amazon's first attempt at selling individual fiction was called Amazon Shorts, and I submitted "Saucer" to them - and it was accepted. In fact, I got a contract. Then I noticed the contract stipulated you must also have a book available for sale on Amazon.

Poor research on my part - I hadn't noticed that. My first collection, "Fantastic Texas", was still a few years away in 2009, and when pressed, I had to concede I didn't meet the requirements. The contract was withdrawn.

After that inauspicious start, it took 24 submissions and three and a half years for the story to find a home at "Raygun Revival". It was clear after a few rejections that it straddled too many genres and was hard to categorize. Was it a Weird Western? Space Opera? An alien abduction tale? Secret History? Probably all of those. 

It took time, but when the Overlords at Raygun Revival saw it, they snapped it up - bless their little dilithium-crystal powered hearts.

Over the years it's proven to be one of my most popular stories, and it was included in both "Fantastic Texas" and "Texas & Other Planets" - so it's publication in "Raygun Chronicles" will be its third reprint.

Ironically, I got more than double for this republication that I did for when the story was originally published.

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