Friday, February 04, 2011

Looking for a good home:short story markets

A while back, I wrote a mystery type short story that takes place on a yacht cruising New England waters.  It had been in my mind for a long time as a book in my series, but since the series is somewhat moribund, I wrote the book as a short story. 
It wasn't that short.  Probably should have been a novella.  I pruned and pared and left stuff out and ended sort of up in the air and pruned and pared some more.  Snip. Snip.  Snip.  

It still comes in at almost 7,000 words, not really long, but longer than most markets want, which is 2500 - 5000 words.  It's kind of an odd story, not a conventional genre story, but still a mystery, and not literary, but again, not adhering to genre conventions either, and so of course I'm having a hard time thinking where to send the story.  It's a little noir, but not  VERY noir.  

And I think it's pretty good, with some fun stuff about sailboats and rich people and New England  sailing waters and how the boat cook looks at life aboard.  I  read so many boating magazines and even went to the Boat Show and visited Mattapoisett to get the right atmosphere.  

Many short story markets had disappeared and there's not that much out there for mystery-themed stories, especially when the mystery is open ended and doesn't get solved.  I think this is called shooting yourself in the foot, but dammit, you have to write the story you have to write, and this one practically wrote itself.  

The easy part was because I was actually on a similar sailboat with some eccentric people who cruised the same waters many many moons ago.  I danced the Hustle on Fisher's Island and we did sail into Cuttyhunk in the fog and someone really did fly purple panties from the mast.  Yup.  Interesting week.  

That being said, the people in the story aren't real people and the events are (mostly) made up, too.  I was going to send it to Esquire, but it's too long and I was going to send it to Playboy, but they aren't accepting unsolicited fiction anymore.  Not really an Atlantic or a New Yorker kind of story, well, the New Yorker summer issue might work.   The story isn't literary enough for most journals.  

I hope someone will love it. 

The Chicago Tribune has a yearly contest and I got all excited about entering that, but the story does have a smidgen of bad language and a couple is observed "going at it like crazed minks" in a cemetery.  So, probably not for a family newspaper.  

Have you ever painted yourself into a corner?     

It's really too bad that fiction has to "fit" somewhere.   I have other stories, most of which were published, that had the same problem. It's not like  Yachting  has fiction.   They probably wouldn't print it anyhow, as some of their snooty customers might be offended.   Not for the airline magazines either. 

Do you begin to see the problem?  Story needs good home.  Housebroken,  Looking for love.  
At Tall Ships event a while back.  Note nautical scarf.

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