Tag: Fiction

Brooks Writes Stories: How Did It Go in 2022?

In mid-2017, I started submitting and tracking my fiction writing, and have since posted updates in 201820192020 and 2021. How did it go in 2022?

  • In 2022, I submitted versions and revisions of 26 stories 74 times to 46 different outlets. This included three contests.
  • Between January 1 and December 31, 2022, I received 64 rejections (including seven for stories submitted in 2021) and nine acceptances (12.3%, which includes one acceptance for a story submitted in 2020). 
  • Select comments from editors included:
    • “I liked the ease of the dialogue. However, I wasn’t convinced of the significance of the…”
    • “…we would encourage you to submit your piece to another journal…”
    • “Though quirky and funny…the story is trying to tackle too much in flash…”
    • “The family relationship here — everything feels so natural and real. I’m sorry to say no, but it’s not quite right for [us].”
    • “Love the title.” 🙂

Stories Published in 2022

Eight stories were published by six different venues in 2022.

On January 13th365tomorrows published “Aliens and Leftovers” (273 words, 2 minute read). The story, inspired by a true event, combines a brief ode to composting with the pull of suburbia.

On February 6thAphelion published “Protecting the Bean Farmers” (341 words, 2 minute read).  An interview with the late and prolific writer Harlan Ellison sparked the idea for this story (which survived 16 rejections and revisions). He said unless you spend most of your days “living life…You’re nothing but a beanfield hand.”

On March 25thThe Rye Whiskey Review published “No One Told Me” (227 words, 1 minute read). This knockout of people who talk cheap shit about people and cultures of which they know nothing, holds my record (to date) for rejections and revisions before finding a home (25).  My experience in college as a cast member of Children of a Lesser God, which included hearing and deaf actors, inspired this story.

On March 31stThe RavensPerch published “Tip Jar” (221 words, 1 minute read). Inspired by a trip to the Athens Farmer’s Market and my older daughter’s volunteering at ESP.

On April 18thMystery Tribune published “Family Picture” (689 words, 3 minute read). The mother in this story, her life spent betraying and abusing others, finally pushes her daughter too far.

On May 11th, Maudlin House published “Aliens at Rest” (531 words, 3 minute read). The editor accepted it with, “We love it and would like to publish it…” Thank you, Ms. Smart!

On September 5thAphelion published “Aliens Have Dads, Too” (285 words, 2 minute read). Accepted on the first try, this is also the first time I “made the cover” of a magazine with a story.

On December 1st365tomorrows published “Birthday Apples” (273 words, 2 minute read), a story I salvaged from the slush pile and revised with a new twist.

Finally, I would like to thank Michele-Lee Barasso and Jonathan Laden, the founders, publishers and editors of Daily Science Fiction (DSF), the source of my first professional sale, “Water Carrier” (2018). On August 11th, Michele and Jonathan announced that, after more than 12 years, DSF “will go on a hiatus, either temporary or somewhat longer.” Thank you for the support and encouragement you provided to me and other writers, and for the fun, diverse, and touching stories you chose for us as readers. While selfishly hoping your hiatus is temporary, I send to you the best and warmest of wishes.

Happy New You to everyone, and thank you for reading!

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!