Brooks Writes Stories: How Did It Go in 2021?

In mid-2017, I started submitting and tracking my fiction writing and posted updates in 20182019 and 2020. How did it go in 2021?

  • In 2021, I submitted versions and revisions of 24 stories 106 times to 50 different outlets. This included one contest.
  • Between January 1 and December 31, 2021, I received 114 rejections (including 20 for stories submitted in 2020) and five acceptances (4.2%). I also withdrew two stories.
  • Several rejections included brief comments from editors, some encouraging and others less so. A few examples:
    • “While this… was not chosen… I thought it was well written, stark and true…”
    • “…feels more like a punch line, than a short story.”
    • “…it felt arresting to read and didn’t full cohere.”
    • “I like how you take this parent-child relationship and make it larger than life.”
    • “This is ripe, fascinating.”

Stories Published in 2021

Six stories were published (one accepted in 2020) by six different venues in 2021.

On June 1stSpank the Carp published “Anxiety Afterglow” (275 words, 2 minute read). Inspired by an actual, unknown seatmate who aggressively, compulsively picked her face during a flight in South America.  I wrote the first draft in my journal during the flight. The story speaks to the importance and power of having a purpose, regardless our state of mind. 

On June 22ndFlash Fiction Magazine published “Grady Shelton” (671 words, 3 minute read). Rejected and revised 15 times before finding a home, this story was a consistent near miss and, based on the comments and feedback, has been my most popular story to date.

On June 30thMystery Tribune published “Short Books for My Cellmate” (924 words, 4 minute read). Two cellmates, passing time with books and with each other, maneuver to get the upper hand.

On July 14th101 Words published “Know Your Customer” (101 words, 1 minute read). The editor wrote, “I love the surprise, I almost screamed Oh, good Lord! This is really well crafted.”

On August 10thThe RavensPerch published “Drive the Road” (575 words, 3 minute read). Inspired by a report about a hijacked truck, the backstory came from my personal interest in the Vietnam War (my Dad is a vet). This is a case where I loved/believed in/wanted this one more than the editors: it notched 19 rejections (and revisions) before finding a home as a much better story. Thanks, TRP!

On November 10thMason Street Blog published “Putt for Show” (335 words, 2 minute read). A mix of golf, real estate schemes and The Sopranos.

Please enjoy the stories and thank you for reading!

4 Comments

  1. Congratulations – your persistence is paying off, Brooks, and each victory must be so sweet! I’m so impressed by your talent, but not surprised. Thanks for sharing – I enjoyed reading all six this Saturday morning, New Year’s Day. Happy New Year!!

  2. Brooks–I thought I posted yesterday, but must have had a “user error.” The recounting of your discipline and resilience inspires me to do more with my daily writing.

    I enjoyed all six stories and appreciate your distinctive voice. Very entertaining!

    I’ll try to remember to tell you about my long-ago work as a research assistant, focused on organized crime–including loan sharking in particular.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *