A friend of mine dropped out of the anthology we’re putting together. I read his reasons, and I understood. I understood very well.
My chum didn’t enjoy writing the story. He worried about the quality of it. He has an artistic integrity for his work that demands he only apply his name to his best work. I understand not just because I see his viewpoint, but because I’ve been there myself.
There are two competing values.
The first is that both he and I want to write good material. Even if things like horror or romance aren’t someone’s forté, just about everyone appreciates good work. My mother, for example, detests violence. But she’ll put up with it whenever the movie or the story are particularly good. Sometimes, the quality of what is made is enough to breach existing stereotypes and biases.
In the same light however, reality has a tendency to make demands of us that, though we may loathe, we have to respect. We have to eat, sleep and breath. On top of that, we have to produce things whether we do so for ourselves or sell them to others in exchange for our needs. We have due dates.
Quality work demands time and effort, but time waits for no man.
That last point is what frustrates me about a recent anthology submission window. I finished what is best described as a draft of an idea that has value. A solid concept, but the execution is not up to snuff.
Regardless, I sent it just in time. But even as I write this, I feel I’d have to request it’s removal from the slushpile. An author’s literary reputation is important. I don’t want to see my writing average pulled down by publishing something before it’s ready.
I don’t have the luxury of a forgiving fanbase who wants to read just about anything. I don’t have much of a reputation at all, save my name associated with two published works. A single black mark can really hurt that.