The Black Library requires writers to contribute two parts in a short story submission: the summary and the writing example. My short story summary is finished. It went through two drafts before arriving at an acceptable level of quality. I glanced through it, looking for a good section to craft into the writing sample. After some thought, I decided that I wanted a section that includes both action and dialogue, and some plot driving elements with a touch of mystery. I wanted Xaphan to be in it, obviously.
But I realized that in my mind, every time Xaphan is in combat he is seen through the eyes of his enemies. I guess that’s fine for the purposes of this story. For some reason, it strikes me as easier to imagine being on the receiving end of a gigantic, armoured behemoth’s blood curdling fury than to be the one delivering it. This is why I should probably never box professional.
Xaphan spelled backwards can be “Nah Pax”, which can be a weird way of saying “No Peace.”
Stepping back, I was careful to write about the summary first and then focus on the writing sample. I think a lot of authors dive right into the writing sample and then try to tape a plot around what was written, because they’re too proud to throw it out. I’m guilty of that in the past. Sometimes however, I still do it just because skipping the planning and just writing is an amazing way to find inspiration and creativity. If I find an idea in what I wrote, I set it aside for later. It’s like sifting dirt for gold- you just want the gold.
Sometimes, that’s important. In truth, that’s exactly how this entire story came to exist in the first place. I jumped into the Bolthole and started hammering a random thought. An idea came of it, so I saved it. I’ve turned that idea into a full blown short story. So now I simply have to write the sample and I’m finished. I had to remind myself that the only way I will ever get published is to legitimately work at it. I’ve really stepped that up in the last submission window. And this one.
Will I get published? Statistically, my chances are no.
But there’s next year. And the year after. And the submission windows and other publishing companies and magazines. You just don’t give up because it’s what you love to do. So write on. I’m going back to work.