My story Pictures from a Hotel Room on Fire appeared today on Wyldblood’s Web site. It’s short, only 800 words or so. It was written for a contest on Codex in 2017, and since then has been edited several times. It was a “title rummage sale” story, where the title was by someone else (almost certainly Vylar Kaftan) and I got to pick it and write a story to match.
I probably don’t talk enough about how the writing community has been key to my journey, and my success. Maybe enough about Clarion West (I’m now a board member, by the way!), but certainly not enough about Codex. The truth is, I don’t think I’d have gotten into CW if not for the time and energy I spent, the contests and critiques I earned, on Codex. If you’re a member of one of the big workshops, or you qualify based on your publications, I’d encourage you to join.
For this story, I received seventeen separate pieces of feedback from the contest. It got a sort of middle score, but a handful of people liked it a lot. I read all the feedback, decided which pieces I cared about and which I disagreed with, edited, and began to submit the story.
It’s still a challenge for me as a writer to know which advice to listen to, and which to ignore. It’s so easy to want to try to satisfy everybody, but in doing so a story can lose what makes it special, what makes it specific to the author. As important as community is, the goal is to find yourself within the community, not disappear into it. A community should make us better versions of ourself, not a pale imitation of somebody else.