Blogs by Joel Arnold
One Decade, One Story - or how One Thing Leads to Another
12/28/2011 1:18:28 PM
This is the journey of one of my stories and its ripple effect over the last decade. It’s not the story that has earned me the most money (that honor goes to ‘Mississippi Pearl’) but it is one of my favorites.
I wrote “Some Things Don’t Wash Off” back in 2001. It was originally intended to be part of an anthology with a couple other writers I admired and met through the old Dark Tales message boards – the stories were all to be set at this out-in-the-boonies roadhouse full of strange characters and strange goings-on. The project never got off the ground, so I eventually submitted it to a pro-paying (at the time) online horror zine called Gothic.Net. The editor there liked it, but felt it wasn’t quite right for them. He asked me to send something else. Meanwhile, I had decided to attend the 2002 World Horror Conference in Chicago – mainly because it was in driving distance, and also it was a great chance to meet some of the folks I’d met through the Dark Tales boards. The conference was holding a short story contest sponsored by Weird Tales, so I submitted the story there. Long story short, I won the short story contest and won a hundred bucks.
I submitted “The Apple Tree Man” to Gothic.net due to the editor liking “Some Things...” and asking for something else. He accepted this other story and paid $250 for it.
A bit later, Darrel Schweitzer from Weird Tales contacted me and said they’d like to include “Some Things...” in an upcoming issue for which they paid me another $90.
Later that year, I attended the World Fantasy Convention, since it was practically in my backyard (Minneapolis) and there, the legendary George Scithers cornered me and asked why I hadn’t sent anything else yet to Weird Tales. I sorta fibbed and said I was working on something just for them (although the story I soon came up with was eventually rejected by them. But it was still nice to be asked for something from Mr. Scithers!)
In 2006, one of the attendees of WHC2002 remembered me and “Some Things...”, so when he noticed a call for Minnesota writers who had published professionally, he sent me an email about it. I submitted my story “Leave No Wake” to the Resort to Murder antho and it was accepted. I got to appear alongside some bestselling authors like William Kent Krueger and Ellen Hart. We even went on a mini-tour around the Twin Cities, which was much fun and a great experience. I also got on the invite list for the annual Write of Spring shindig hosted by the Once Upon a Crime bookstore in Minneapolis. (I have a story forthcoming in their Writes of Spring antho, which should be out in April). But I wouldn’t have seen that call for stories if it hadn’t been for the bloke who had remembered me and my story from the 2002 WHC.
In 2007 I sold “Some Things...” to Pseudopod for $100, and they did a wonderful audio version of it. (Click on the link for a listen!)
In 2009, I used “Some Things...” as my writing sample for the Speculative Literature Foundation’s Gulliver Travel & Research Grant and won. I received $800 for that in 2010. I got the pleasure to help judge the next year’s entries for the grant, and this year I get to help judge for their Older Writer’s Grant.
In 2010, I included “Some Things...” in my short story collection Bait and Other Stories.
“Some Things Don’t Wash Off” has had a nice decade, and has led to some other nice writing gigs. So to you folks who are in the early stages of your writing ventures, remember that if you have a good story, it doesn’t have to just die on the vine of the first publication that accepts it. Sometimes you need to help it back on its feet, blow the dust off, and encourage it to keep on jogging along.
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More Blogs by Joel Arnold
The Sucking Suckathon of Suckiness - Monday, May 21, 2012
Mississippi Pearls and a Car Biding Its Time on the Ice 'til Spring - Thursday, December 29, 2011
One Decade, One Story - or how One Thing Leads to Another - Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Racing Minnesota-style! - Wednesday, December 28, 2011
This Here Minnesota Horror Author was a Big Old Scaredy-Cat - Thursday, December 22, 2011
Jack the Blob Killer - Monday, December 19, 2011
Death Rhythm - Tuesday, September 20, 2011
More Writing What You Know - Monday, September 19, 2011
How I Interpret 'Write What You Know' - Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Blessings - or - What I write after having one too many... - Wednesday, August 03, 2011
120 Miles in a Canoe - Monday, June 27, 2011
On Stephen King - Thursday, June 23, 2011
Why Horror? - Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Zen & the Art of Swearing - Friday, June 10, 2011
If Coffee Shops were Run by Airlines - Thursday, May 12, 2011
Trying to Figure Out What Scares Me - Monday, March 21, 2011
My Confession - Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Going Indie with my novel Northwoods Deep - Friday, March 04, 2011
How I Envision Conflict When Writing - Thursday, March 03, 2011
Wall Drug - why it's one of my favorite places - Wednesday, February 02, 2011
Jonesing for a Road Trip - Wednesday, February 02, 2011
Snowmapocalyptopalooza - Tuesday, February 01, 2011
How Do You Remember? - Thursday, January 20, 2011
When your parents are librarians... - Tuesday, January 18, 2011
The genesis of a novel - the first 6 days - Tuesday, January 04, 2011
Searching for Truth - Characterization - Thursday, December 16, 2010
Control - and a little more about Northwoods Deep - Monday, December 13, 2010
Bukowski - Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Flies, Flies, Spam, and Flies - Friday, December 03, 2010
Naivete and the Young Writer - Thursday, December 02, 2010
For Writers looking for some Adventure - Wednesday, December 01, 2010
My usual rider for family/friend appearances - Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Writing and Me - a dramatization - Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Writing Tip o' the Day (now with vitamin C!) - Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The Power of Music - Tuesday, November 16, 2010
To All the Bookstores I've Loved Before - Monday, November 15, 2010
The Care and Feeding of Writers - Sunday, November 14, 2010
Rudiments - Thursday, November 11, 2010
Writing Tip o' the Day - Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tragedy - now with 50% more pathos! - Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Perspective - Monday, November 08, 2010
The Daunting Dauntiness of Tweeting on Twitter - Saturday, November 06, 2010