I know we are supposed to love all of our children the same, but among the short stories I’ve written and rewritten and polished, I have definite favourites. As a result, my emotional investment when submitting these stories means that holds raise hopes high and rejections sting more. I want my favourite children to find a good home.
The long road to selling Wax Agatha taught me a couple of things as a writer.
First, I need to keep story notes on inspiration and original vision. I know Wax Agatha came out of a Storied Imaginarium module but have been unable to narrow down which one. A handful of fellow workshop participants recall the story, but that’s it. I wrote several short stories in the “bizarro” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bizarro_fiction sub-genre that year, and they have all been difficult to initially place.
Second, rejections are often more about a story not fitting a particular market at a particular time, than anything else. Wax Agatha racked up more than thirty rejections over five years (including more than a dozen “holds” and several higher tier forms…yup, rejectomancy is a thing. https://www.sfwa.org/2015/07/07/in-praise-of-rejectomancy/) before it found a home in the inaugural issue of Starward Shadows Quarterly. https://starwardshadows.com/wax-agatha-by-kt-wagner/
Excerpt from Wax Agatha: ‘Perhaps her third try at raising children will result in individuals she actually likes. Reaching over, she snaps off the larger one and sets it on her head. It roots into her wax quickly. Her head throbs. Restless, the second fetus stirs against its breed father’s chest.’ Wax Agatha is free-to-read online and I’d love to hear what you think of her. Also, the editors at Starward Shadows Quarterly were lovely to work with, and I highly recommend submitting to them. Their next submission window is the first week of November, 2021 https://starwardshadows.com/submissions/
KT (Katherine) Wagner