The good folks at Shotgun Honey (who, I think, have the market cornered on cool mag names) have taken my short piece, “St. Teresa Of Avila’s Day.” It’ll go up on August 1.
Don’t wait that long to go read Shotgun Honey. They’re putting up some of the best short fiction you’ll find out there, and they’re doing it with regular authority. My favs so far: Missionary, Matthew C. Funk; 6/8 by Trey Barker; Killer Smile by Mike Miner; and White Ink by Paul D. Brazill. None longer than 700 words, all kick ass.
I want to talk about my story a bit. I wrote the first draft of this story in December 2005. I was heavily under the influence of Faulkner at the time; the piece was 4000 words of meanderingly complex sentences, a six-paragraph parenthetical aside, and other general obscurantism. Further drafts did little to change the situation. The story was rejected everywhere, and I filed it away.
When our son was born last October, we were getting no sleep, and I found it easier to refurbish some old stories, rather than trying to write all-new material. I resurrected this story: cut the parenthetical aside, cleaned the sentences up, slashed a good thousand words, but left its striving literary soul in tact. Sent it out into the world. Rejection, rejection everywhere.
Recently I’ve been reading a lot of crime and science fiction. Not all of it is good, but a lot of it is killer. The key: story. Not two-dollar words, not clever thoughts cleverly expressed. Story.
So I took the serious knife to St. Teresa Of Avila’s Day, cut that son of a bitch down to 700 words. Lean and mean, no bullshit, nothing but story. Sent it to a couple crime mags.
Shotgun Honey took St. Teresa Of Avila’s Day 2 days later.
Folks, I think I’ve learned my lesson.