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The Journey: Lessons Learned

The journey first started when I moved from VT to Myrtle Beach in 2007. The original 17 story collection was a mixture of genres about 165 pages long. Back then I had a bit of an attitude and had made the decision I wasn’t going to be pigeonholed as a particular type of writer. Instead, I’d hoped that the collection would show my range as a writer.

Nine years later and no collection published I decided to edit the number of stories in the collection to ten because there were some small presses looking for collections that were a minimum of 80 pages. Still no success. All the stories in that collection had been published. I still kept rearranging the original to meet the 150 page minimum. Each collection had a different title and I kept sending them out. The mistake I made was alternating serious stories with a humorous one. In my rush to get the collection published I hadn’t paid little attention to what I had stated in the cover letter.

"Some succeed, others face heartbreak, and the lucky ones find redemption. From the, surprising isolation of a husband and wife to a magician who offers a ray of hope to a saloon girl, their stories are a journey, and that is passionate sometimes tragic.” Is a collection of fourteen stories, each story portraying a world of characters who escape from life."

Several months ago and after another round of sending the 150 page collection out the editors at the New Meridian Press liked my writing enough to send me a contract, but didn’t like the way I’d put the collection together. They also had trouble understanding some of the stories and the way others were presented. The comments were a shock. How could they say that? As I went back over the collection I knew they were right. Very right.

I cut four stories and added three new ones: The Calf, Birthday Boy, The Great Cause, and changed the name of one story from The Laughter of God to Laughter for a Padre, and really dug into the stories that had problems. The collection now consisted of fourteen stories, all well edited after two rounds of comments from the editor. I think I learned more about editing than I ever had. I had to explain character motivations in more detail and where they were in the story. And to make sure that all the stories fit the cover letter. It was the hardest and most satisfying editing I’ve ever done. After 11 years I can hardly wait to see the final product.

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