keeping on

I submitted another of my Fathers and Sons stories to a magazine over the weekend. I’m never sure how well I target submissions. I know you’re supposed to read sample issues and see if they publish the kinds of things you’ve written, but I can never really tell about this. It seems like my story is similar to what they publish, or it seems that my subject matches what they ask for. Or I can’t tell just what they’re interested in given the range of stuff they publish. More than a dozen times I have gotten this right, but many more times than that, I haven’t. C’est la vie!

So this time I used the calendar at Duotrope’s Digest to look for the theme the various magazines were soliciting. I’ve found that most mags generally allow a wide interpretation of their stated theme; this one was simply “Pleasure.” One of my short stories (“When we were young and life was full in us”) certainly deals with pleasure (and consequence), so I sent it off on Sunday evening with my fingers crossed. Response time is reported as 6 to 8 weeks. Check back with me in early August.

I have a couple of others finished in first draft, but I don’t consider them ready-to-go finished. Part of what I’m finding is that what happens in other stories affects when happens in these stories. I try to keep them self contained, but they exist within a universe that is still presenting itself to me. (In fact, given what’s happened in some of the newer stories I’ve written, I find that I must make some minor changes in “The Death of Superman,” the first of them I wrote. It occurs long after most of them, but it makes references back across the years, and those references have “evolved” over time. I have this story under consideration at four mags. Should lightning happen to strike and one of them say they want to publish it, will they object if I send them a rewrite?)

Plus, the stories happen across a span of about 30 years. I need to be fairly historically accurate in my pop culture references. For example, would a teenage boy be able to collect Victoria’s Secret catalogs in 1987? (Yes, it turns out. He could quite well. But I had to make sure that was possible before I made the very slight reference to it.)

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