…and I could smell the milky moon and the hardness of stars.

The above title is the last line I read last night before I went to sleep. From Ray Bradbury’s The Rocket Man. I really don’t care for space, or rockets, or anything of that sort, but I like The Golden Apples of the Sun and the many stories contained therein. The Exiles is my favorite, but I also like The Murderer and There Be Tygers. He generally has a good writing style, and sometimes he comes up with a line or two that I can almost taste. Such as the one I mentioned above. It’s like literary M&M’s.

I’m really jealous of him, though, for having the ability to write so many short stories– enough to make a book out of. I’ve written maybe three short stories, one novelette, and I’m in the process of novelette #2. Novelettes are UNSELLABLE, I tell you. I just spent the last hour and a half scouring websites of small presses, literary magazines, agents, whatever– and guess what? White Funeral fits nowhere.

Leave it to me to write completely outside all acceptable forms and genres.

Now, I know that Apricotpie is… well, “Apricotpie”, as the DHFs and I say. (When we want constructive criticism, we say, “Don’t be Apricotpie”, because AP tends to give great encouragement while lacking the critical side. Which is not a bad thing; when you’re in the middle of something, you sometimes need a group of people cheering your story on unabashedly.) But anyway… I still wonder, How can all these people think that White Funeral should be published, and all these people really like it, and yet no one will publish it? Just based on length, they won’t even look at it.

I don’t understand why novelettes and novellas are so apparently unaccepted. Sure, they’re not mainstream, but maybe they would be if they could actually get published. Maybe it would be nice to pick up a thin volume once in a while. To read a story in one day, in a few hours. To pick something up and read it, the core of a story– only just enough background, just enough characters. Short plots can take twists, too, you know; and maybe not every YA fantasy has to fit into the same cookie-cutter mold of 80,000 word tome.

Even the Comic Sans publisher guy won’t accept anything shorter than 50,000.
That’s just depressing.

And literary magazines? Well, their guidelines are even harder to follow. Most of them want the quirky, the strange, the offbeat– which, you’d think, perfect. But the storyline of White Funeral is pretty straightforward, not weird enough, not cutting-edge or contemporary. It’s only the format, the length of it that’s bizarre. And besides, there are about 3 YA literary magazines. Wow. Great odds there.

I’m about to give up. 

Except not.

Because I still have some faith left in White Funeral. And a lot of faith left in readers. Real people in the real world want good stories. Period. 

At least, I hope so.


3 thoughts on “…and I could smell the milky moon and the hardness of stars.

  1. Do not give up!

    Once Eliza said that maybe I shoult start a book publishing……but maybe you should!
    Do you think you could try sending White Funeral to something not YA???

  2. crescendocroise

    I love you, Pen… you are awesome. Pray to St. Francis de Sales for White Funeral to get published… he is the patron of authors…

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