Writers' Guild

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Anathema (short story)

Anathema (short story)

Here's a story I wrote a long time ago. It is a bit overwrought and melodramatic, and not enough happens in it; however, it's got some pretty writing. Also, it didn't hold up so well over the years, and fit in better with the sort of writing that was coming out in the late 90s.

Comments are welcome, though don't bother telling me it's overwrought, melodramatic, or lacks action. I already know that!

While I have some disparaging things to say about this story, which might color your reading of it, I should add a couple points...

When I wrote this, sometime in the 1990s, I submitted it to an anthology of new writers that was being compiled by Jeff VanderMeer. He held it for about a year, trying to fit it in, but eventually said that it didn't fit with the rest of the anthology. He wrote me a handwritten letter, in which he called the story "a perfect gem" and said that he "wouldn't change a word." He also showed it to another editor, who he said also liked it but didn't have a place for it.

I still have that letter in a box in my attic.

When we started the Guild, I brushed it off, read it, and decided to send it to Strange Horizons, despite the fact that I felt it hadn't aged well.

Their editor emailed me saying that, while the writing was very good and I used "beautiful language," but that it was "overwrought" and didn't have enough action. I knew there was something I didn't like about it, and that pretty much summed it up for me.

My other attempts at writing... I submitted entries for WotC's open submission calls for writers. Each time, I made it to the final round. After the first time, I was one of the group they had tagged as best from the rejected initial submissions, who were invited to submit for subsequent novels that were not open to the general public.

Always a bridesmaid, never a bride, eh? I think if I'd stuck with it, I could've gotten published. I keep abandoning my writing in pursuit of other interests. Third time's a charm, I hope.

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