Friday, March 19, 2010



3,000 WORDS


About fifteen months ago my dad asked me to write a story for him, and knowing his love of Faerie Tales, I gave it a shot. The end result was a MG short story. I don’t do MG. Not even YA. But, I was pleased enough with the result, I submitted it to my writers group, and with their help, I polished it up into a story worthy of publication. So I queried Bewildering Stories exclusively - really, it is my first and only pick for the work.

The response time said minimum four months. So, I gave up when I didn’t hear from them after six months. The e-mail I got was really quite exciting. Bill apologized for the long response time, told me the story had “made the rounds” within the agency, and he was including the crits of the various people that had read the story. General consensus: Marketable concept; strong, believable characters; mixed reviews on the plot; but definite no on the dream presentation.

Do I agree with the feedback, and would I be willing to rewrite (minor tweaking really) and resubmit? It took all my willpower not to immediately respond: OMGOMGOMG heck yes! I did a whole lot of mundane chores around the house while I thought of just the right professional response; and exactly what the minor tweaking might entail. Then I very professionally (I hope anyway) said: Thank you for your feedback and this opportunity to correct the misconception that this is a dream, and I’ll be happy to revise and resubmit. Mr. Bowler’s reply was basically: be sure it is clear the experience is not a dream, but an alternate reality; and good luck.

I’ve thought about it long enough I have some ideas. But, I’m nervous and scared I might screw it up. So, I’m asking for some help.

I feel like I’m on a deadline, though I haven’t been given one, and want to get this back to the e-zine quickly. I’m thinking before the end of March. So, anyone who can’t give a response on a 3,000 word short story in say, less than a week (6 days), don’t push yourself to try. I DO NOT want a full critique. Most of what I’ve written apparently has worked for the magazine.

Your mission, should you choose to accept, is to read the feedback from the various readers and offer suggestions on the “tweaking” of making it an alternate reality, not a dream. And yes, the dream quality was definitely not intentional.

Here’s a brief synopsis.

Ten year old Tommy Thurman’s normal home life has taken a disastrous turn when his older brother is diagnosed with a growth disorder. Within two years, the younger brother is bigger, stronger, and more emotionally stable. This change in circumstance sits well with neither brother.

As Peter’s physical limitations become more pronounced and he becomes a target for bullies and insensitive classmates and family members, Tommy’s moral and family expectations drive him to step into the role of big brother protector. His heart is willing, but sometimes, Tommy is overwhelmed by the role reversal, and more comfortable with prayer for guidance than curses at fate to fulfill his obligations.

Beset with doubts and questions about his own loyalties, Tommy is unexpectedly given a glimpse into a future where his overstressed brother takes a gun to school and shoots the bully. The choice before Tommy is to decide if he believes enough to act on his premonition; or do nothing, and allow the fates to determine his future for him.

A short deadline; I know. If you can’t do it; don’t. And don’t feel guilty either. If you’re willing to accept the short challenge and offer feedback on how to make this story NOT a dream, contact me at donnahole at gmail dot com. I’ll send you the editorial feedback and the story itself.

This is my weekend project; and I’ll be working on it regardless of the response.


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If you are interested in providing a critique of the work described in this post, please post some form of comment that will tell the author how to contact you.