These are not the Droids You’re Looking for

When I get a rejection, I sometimes think somebody’s waving a hand in front of the editor, saying “These are not the droids you’re looking for.” Certainly, at the beginning of my career, I had several stories that weren’t anything anyone wanted.

The week my new romance novella was released under a pen name, this book also came out:

And I thought “F*!k”.

I was going to publish satyr stories. It was going to be the new thing. But publishers seemed uninterested in my take on satyrs a decade ago. Or maybe my writing was too weak to draw their attention. I did finally remember that I had one satyr story published: Blooming Hedgehog, but that’s more of a slipstream story and not the meatier and in some cases funny stories I had in mind.

It got me thinking about the kind of author I had intended to be and the stories that have actually reached the glory of publication. I talked a little bit about this in my blog post Literary Prostitution, but I guess I didn’t say everything I had to say on the matter.

At first, I really wanted to be a YA novelist. My heroine had telepathy and a romantic triangle between a bad boy ESPer and a satyr type character. Seriously, what publisher wouldn’t want that book?? 😀

My next heroine was in a contemporary book, and she took care of her grandmother. It was called “Snowballs in May” because the grandma had this huge hydrangea bush in her front yard.

My third YA attempt was about a cyborg teenager. My writing teacher at the time said it was “a plot worth coming back to when you’re a better writer.” She genuinely did seem to like the idea of it, but her assessment of my writing was brutal.

I realize now that the writing for these stories was not so hot, in fact, I’m sure I would be embarrassed that anyone ever read them if I went back and read them again myself. During the process of trying to get published as a YA author, I read current publications and found them to be in two categories: super racy like Gossip Girls or super weird and boring like this book I read about a girl who had to push gas out of her mother’s stomach every day. I think the boring book was supposed to have literary value, but I couldn’t imagine what teen wanted to read about a girl who had to pump gas out of her mom.

Discouraged and pregnant, I turned to short stories. My first short stories had satyrs and brownies. Among those stories, I have published one after SEVERAL rewrites: Brownie Bites. As I kept reading current publications, I realized my writing wasn’t anything like what was getting published. Vanishing Letters was really my first attempt to write in the current fashion, and it was my first publication.

Today I updated my Current Publications page. I’m really proud of all my stories, but it makes me sad that my ESPer heroine Gwen is not among them nor is my poor cyborg Jessica. An addition to the wishful publications list is my piano playing half fairy character who falls in love with a half dragon character. I need to get back to these stories. Gwen has grown beyond YA at this point. Perhaps New Adult would be a better category for her. And Jackie (my half fairy) is definitely adult. But the cyborg will remain YA. Maybe I’m good enough to write about her now.

And my satyr stories are going to get a reimagining as well and turn into novels or novellas. So look out Rebekah Lewis. I’m coming to expand that satyr market you’re paving the way for :)

What stories eat at you, languishing in your never published pile? Maybe this should be the summer of their rebirth and they can become the droids publishers are looking for.

5 thoughts on “These are not the Droids You’re Looking for

  1. Definitely my middle grade fiction story about a dragon and a girl with a magical amulet who finds her way to a land of sunflowers where people can read minds. Does that story sound weird? It is, kind of. I want very much to see it published but so far no takers. We’ll see. Good luck, Melinda. I love satyrs, and your Blooming Hedgehog story was very creative.

  2. From the beginning to the end of your writing career, you will always produce work for which your future self will criticize. Don’t worry, keep writing and improving your current self and never look back. :)

  3. I hope you do get back to them! They sound like they would be a lot of fun to write. I think satyrs are pretty freaking awesome.

    I unfortunately have a rather bloated graveyard of stories that I finally just put the lid on. Out of all those stories though, only three really stick out as something that’s even worth having another go at. I had the same problem, wasn’t a good enough writer at the time to properly tackle them.

  4. @ Shari: Your book sounds fun! Maybe it’s time to hunt down the agents :)

    @Diane Thanks for your words of encouragement!

    @Krystal Jane Yay for satyrs! I know the “putting on the lid” feeling. I have a couple of short stories I keep doing that too and pulling them back out. Welcome to the blog!

  5. Funny you should mention because I’ll be “rebirthing” one of my stories this summer. I started a fantasy series a little while ago and got feedback on it last year. I was told it was good, but not good enough (or original enough). After taking a long break to write another novel, I’ll be diving back into it from a new angle. I’m excited to see where it goes.

    Good luck to anyone else pursuing this path!