Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Committing to a Story

Two months ago, I made a stupid promise.  I responded to a query from my publisher to submit an erotic romance story to a recent submission call by saying "yes", I would write a story to fit their guidelines.  That meant agreeing to write at least 10,000 words (and as much as 15,000) in a month.  Was this promise feasible?  Yes.  Was it wise?  Probably not.

You see, having published with this romance publisher many times before, I had already seen this specific submission call, thought about the theme and decided not to submit a story.  You read that right.  I decided against it.

I had many reasons not to write a piece for this call.  First of all, I have published in several of their anthologies and thought it might not be wise to submit to too many, which might lead to a de facto rejection simply based on volume.  Another thing, I wasn't too sure what the theme meant and hadn't written a lot of stories in this vein.  So, unfamiliar territory.

Of course, as always, there are other calls on my time.  I am currently in the middle of about a dozen erotic romance stories, many of which are clamouring to be finished.  (Yes, I can hear them clamour).  Plus, between work, family, and school, I already have plenty of deadlines I may or may not meet.  I didn't need another one to add to my list.

So why did I agree to write this story?

The personal query flattered me.  I write ménage erotic romances (among other kinds) and the idea that my editor would have thought of my other stories while reviewing this submission call made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  Pandering to my ego works, people!

I agreed to submit a story, worked my ass off for weeks to draft and edit it, and finally submitted it in early October.  A few weeks later, I got the news that my story was accepted for the anthology!  Yay!

Bottom line: I stretched myself thin to write this story.  I think it's a pretty good one, with a non-hero character I might end up using in a future tale.  Because I tend to write according to mood, I often didn't feel like writing this story, but in the end I finished it and it turned out well.

Don't believe what people tell you.  Writing is hard work.  It isn't always up to your inclination what you write about.  It was worth more to me to please my publisher, to push aside my other projects, and to finish this story.  I gave up something to gain something.

When you commit to a story, what do you give up?  What do you gain?