Friday, June 20, 2008

The Antidote for Rejection

I'm convinced that the antidote for a rejection or brutal critique feedback is to write a short story.

I had this idea for a science fiction setting. I didn't have a plot, just a sort of situation based on something we all have to deal with these days--the price of gas. But I didn't know what I wanted to do with it. I just knew I wanted it to be a short story.

Then, the idea came to me. It's a western. To be precise, it's a western revenge story. And like most science fiction, it takes place in the future.

So I started writing it . . . in dialect. I know--dialect is a hard sell. I tried to stop myself. I wrote out the first paragraph in a nice, sane third person. Then, I wrote out the paragraph again in dialect reminiscent of Huckleberry Finn, albeit with more readable spelling. And I kept writing . . . and writing . . . and writing. 2000 words went by. I still ain't done.

Oops! The dialect keeps leaking out.

I figured that if Lisa Shearin can get away with having a modern sounding Medieval elf, and if Naomi Novik can get away with having a Napoleonic Air Force composed of dragons, maybe I can get away with down-home cowboys 200 years in the future.

My protagonist is a hot-tempered 18 year old boy, hence the above picture of Billy the Kid. I've never written from such a point of view in my life. I hope I can pull it off.

And in honor of an old fix-er-upper muscle car that my husband used to have, a 1967 Chevelle is part of it.

I might even make it candy-apple red, just because it looks so danged good in this picture. (And no, my husband's Chevelle never looked this good.)

Huh? you might ask? A 1960s muscle car in a western revenge story? That takes place in the future?

As you can probably tell, it's been a lot of fun. If nothing else, it should stand out from the stack of submissions that day due to its sheer strangeness.

* * *

I'm going to try to get another "MS Word For the Novelist" article out before the end of the weekend.


  1. >>A 1960s muscle car in a western revenge story?

    I think you're on to something here. Using the muscle car is a stroke of genius.

    Finish already!!

  2. Muscle car? Always appropriate! And I adore that creepy pic of Billy the Kid!

    I write short stories when I get bogged down in larger work. It's nice to have resolution....

  3. Cool! You like the muscle car!

  4. My first car was a 1972 Grand Prix with a 450-4 barrel in it. (Not a classic muscle car, but a hell of an engine!) And I pretty much chose my boyfriends by their cars. Though the one with the 1975 Mustang just barely sneaked through. Mustangs never really were muscle cars--Except for the whole Colby thing.

    My honey has a 1999 Firebird. We don't drive it much now, of course. But the sound of that V-8 sure is sweet. The apocalypse will definitely arrive in a Muscle Car!

  5. You bad thing--choosing your boyfriends by their cars!

    My husband's Chevelle had a 396. It was godawful huge.

    Maybe I'll write your Grand Prix into the story. What color was it?

    Any other muscle car requests?

  6. Sounds like you've got a great muscle car repertoire! My husband's first car was a '72 Chevelle.

    The Grand Prix was silver with a black vinyl top AND a/c!

  7. I don't really know much about muscle cars except what rubbed off from being around my husband. Oh, and I helped him rebuild an engine while we were dating, but that was for his '77 Blazer.

    My husband's car needed a paint job. The color could only be described as "primer". We lived in Arizona, so rust wasn't a problem. The interior could be described as "dust" because that was all that was left of the original interior.

  8. Muscle car. Western. Revenge. Sci-fi.

    All of these sound good to me. You've got the perfect recipe for an awesome short, right there.

    And I'm convinced that the antidote for rejection is driving around with the windows down on a sunny day, blasting music and singing at the top of my lungs.

    Unfortunately, most of my rejections seem to come on rainy days. The universe has it out for me, I swear.

    I'd be interested to read this short, whenever you're done with it. Keep me posted!

  9. I'd love to hear your opinion. However, I just realized that this post makes it sound somewhat lighthearted. It ain't. The mood is more like The Grapes of Wrath than Huckleberry Finn.

    I'm through the middle and I'm working toward the ending, now.

  10. It don't get better than cowboys and muscle cars. Maybe you can work in Johnny Cash, too.

    And Firefly/Serenity managed the "cowboys in the future" angle, so I don't see why you couldn't, too.

  11. You're a mind reader! I thought of including the lyrics from the song, "Don't take your guns to town" but that storyline didn't pan out. Maybe I can still figure out a way . . .


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