Good news everyone! The first installment of my serialized short story “Broken Heart Symphony in Four Movements” is out today in Zetetic.
Writing this story was an interesting process. I’d actually written the first two parts of the story separately, in my Freshman year of college for my Intro to Creative Writing class. A lot of the stories I workshopped in that class were actually things I’d written in high school that I felt the need to re-hash for some reason, but these pieces were new. The first piece in particular, the one posted today, had a pretty strong reaction from my classmates; it was possibly the first time in that class where I felt that people emotionally connected with my work, as opposed to simply analyzing it for the class.
I shopped them around a few places separately, but they weren’t really going anywhere. Despite being well written, I suspected that they were unfinished, but I didn’t see them connected to each other, or as being part of a broader whole.
Until Fiction 1 last semester with Dr. Ted Lyons. Dr. Lyons instructed us to write a story approximately 3000 words in length. I procrastinated, per usual, and my scribbled short story (a story about a girl both invisible and blind, someone I’d been daydreaming about for a while) barely cracked 1000. I realized I needed to boost my word count by incorporating something I’d already written, because padding the blind girl story was going to drag it out unnecessarily. I dug into my old stuff and read “this is why we can’t be in love” and “the girl with two hearts” back to back, and suddenly, everything clicked.
I brought them both in, and revised the story about the blind and invisible girl to meet at the same point. They’re about all the different ways a heart gets broken, and when I composed the fourth set, the one most overtly about longing, I realized I had something that really worked.
The feedback from my Fiction 1 class was invaluable, and after one other brief revision, preventing myself from undercutting my own themes, I started sending it out. This time, it was picked up on the second try.
I’m really thankful to George Wells, Zetetic‘s editor, both for giving this story a shot and for the consistent communication via email throughout the publication process, especially when minor changes had to be made to the story. If you’re a novice or amateur writer, I highly recommend getting feedback from someone at E&GJ Publishing group, who also produce the annual Sparks anthology.
Also, last but not least! In addition to paying semi-professional rates, Zetetic is committed to ensuring creative writing and the arts are valued by allowing people to make donations to the artists they feature. On the right-hand side of the page for each story, there’s a PayPal donation option. When you make a donation, 90% goes directly to the artist in question, and the rest goes to keeping E&GJ Press running. No pressure about this or anything; just think of it as passing the hat: https://zeteticrecord.org/2015/08/this-is-why-we-cant-be-in-love-sonata-allegro/