I sold another of my short stories. Naturally, I’m delighted. The fiction editor of the same magazine has another two of my short stories under consideration at the moment. Long may this relationship continue. It’s great to see my stories in print and available online in Woman’s Weekly Fiction Specials on Amazon.
I love writing short stories. I really do. I have more ideas for short stories than I know what to do with. Some of them are ideal for women’s magazines because they are a match for the kinds of stories readers expect to find there.
I think there have been changes in this market. At one time, short stories must feature married people happily finding happy solutions for a happy ending. Nowadays, women’s magazine fiction addresses more serious issues and is more realistic than it used to be. It isn’t always about a married couple. You can have divorced people. You can have people living together. You can have the problems of blended families so that stories in women’s magazines today are very different from, say, twenty years ago. You know there’s a but coming, don’t you?
Okay, but . . .
. . . You can’t have a story like Not Rodgers and Hammerstein which is my April short story of the month. (Read it here before I take it down) You can’t expect to read a story like my March short story of the month – My Turn to Speak- about a young stepmother struggling with a difficult stepson. The ending is too shocking.
I grieve for the pieces I haven’t sold.There’s a whole stack of them. Not meeting the women’s fiction criteria.
I write square peg stories more often than not. Stories about people who, for one reason or many more, don’t quite fit in. Sometimes the best these characters can hope for is resilience, acceptance of things being how they are. An it is what it is mentality. Dealing with life even if you can’t make it better.
But readers of women’s magazines don’t want to read about people like that. There has to be hope. There has to be an upbeat in the last few paragraphs. I can’t always give that.
Sometimes, then, my love of variety in the things I write causes me problems. To find the right places for these other short stories of mine would mean more time spent researching other magazine titles both in print and online. I’m spending so much time already with the social networking thing, there’s no time left for finding good homes for my poor, neglected misfits. I’m certain magazines exist for the off-the-wall-quirky-oddball, domestic horror and deeply dark comedy, but I don’t know any shortcuts.
Maybe, one day, there’ll be time to round my oddball stories up and bundle them together like mongrels in a stray dogs’ kennel. Perhaps I could self -publish a collection and call it Mongrels and Misfits or something. We shall see.
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