When I tell people the I like to write fiction, the immediate next question they ask is, "What do you write?" where the expected response would be, "Oh, science fiction OR fantasy OR short stories for kids OR post-modern adult fiction with a wink-and-nod at the Romanic era" (ok, that last one is a bit out there).
I just like to write. I have stories in my head; they come to me at random times...while I'm lying in bed, at the grocery store, driving in the car, reading a novel, or doing laundry. And, as a whole, my stories don't fit into one nice neat genre (Children's OR Adult OR Young Adult OR whatever); they are simply stories that bang around inside my head, or press at my conscience, or tickle my funny-bone until I simply stop resisting and bring them to life.
I have written stories for kids that deal with uncovering the mystery of who is eating apples out of the garage. I have written a story for adults that explores the haunting reality (and redemption) of a woman who was the victim of childhood sexual abuse. I have written fantasy for young adults by giving voices and personality to classic nursery rhyme characters.
Someday I am going to write a story about socks--you know, why are there never enough mates for every sock in the laundry? Seriously, what happens to those socks? It is mystery that I am determined "solve."
Ok, back the the purpose of this post: Publishing Firsts. I am sending out a short story to real, live BOOK publishers (as opposed to magazine, the only medium I have tried--and failed--to publish in so far. Don't ask my why a book publisher may be better success. My ego is probably too big for my own good). I am also sending the same story out to multiple publishers, what they call "simultaneous submissions" in publishing lingo. (Don't worry, I did my research and every publisher I sent to accepts manuscripts that are simultaneously submitted).
This story is for kids (and in my mind, boys in particular, though girls will love this story too. Boys are my particular inspiration these days, though. Hmm, I wonder why?) This story was one of those came-to-me-as-I-was-trying-to-go-to-sleep stories.
Here is a taste of what I wrote in my cover letter for "Isaac and the Itty Bitty Itch":
"An itch is a funny thing—especially those itches that attack you in bed at night, flitting furiously from shoulder to shin, elbow to earlobe, and everywhere in between.
Isaac has such an itch—an Itty Bitty Itch, as Grandpa tells him. It’s not a bug or a monster, but “a tiny creature, so small that no one can see it . . . the Itch loves to play tag! That’s why it moves to a new spot the moment you scratch the old one—the Itch wants you to chase it! And it has so much fun that it never wants to leave.”
Grandpa gives Isaac advice about how to get the Itch to leave, but Isaac decides to take matters into his own hands. Try as he might though, Isaac cannot stop chasing the Itch. But will Grandpa’s advice work? Will the Itty Bitty Itch ever go away and let Isaac sleep?
My 1072 word manuscript, intended to be a picture book, will uniquely capture the imaginations of children 4-8 years old, and perhaps “solve” the mystery of the nighttime Itch. (Beware: phantom itching may occur while reading this story…or perhaps you may have caught the Itty Bitty Itch yourself?)"
Does anyone want to read the story now? (If you do, send me an email! I will be happy to let you read it. I don't really want it floating around the internet so that is why I am not posting the whole thing on my blog).
BTW, the phantom itching is the real-deal! I was itching like crazy the whole time I was writing it and whenever I read it over again. Too funny. The power of suggestion, perhaps? Or maybe, it is the Itty Bitty Itch ITSELF???
Thanks for enduring this long post. I will update when I get my rejection letters in the mail ;)