12.23.2006

HH Com 379

"General Relativity and Other Works of Fiction" is a collection of short stories weighing in at about 55,000 words. It's a tough genre, I know, but one doesn't choose one's muse.

Here goes:

One morning, after troubled dreams, Jay S. wakes up to find an eerie change in the world around him: words and things are strangely entwined. He sits on a plane reading a book about an air disaster, and the next thing he knows the aircraft on which he is a passenger nose-dives in an air pocket. Next, events he witnesses around him appear to be doubled in the magazines, ads, or menus he reads -- all with increasing frequency. Books, bombs, Muzak, and Moby Dick converge in ways that defys the laws of physics, and that nevertheless begin to make sense҆ somehow. Jay's job is to figure it all out.

"General Relativity" is the first in a series of interrelated short stories in which various narrators tell of the mysterious underside of modern urban life, where memory and perception can warp our well-ordered existence. Power outages, scorpions, and various small enigmas tear at the smooth surface of the everyday, and in the seven stories of "General Relativity and Other Works of Fiction" we rediscover the elemental tensions and forces that seep through the fabric of so-called civilized living.

Looking forward to your input; masochistic writers everywhere thank you.

oh boy. no way to write a hook for a group of short stories. It simply can't be done.

what you can do is hook me with your voice: sentences, or paragraphs from the story.

Publishing credits are going to be your saviour. If you've got some, I'll probably read one oof the stories. If you don't I'll glance at it with the idea I'm going to say no.

Very tough indeed, she says sadistically.

4 comments:

Kit Whitfield said...

Possibly you don't need me telling you this, but - I do hope you're planning to cut the first paragraph before you submit it anywhere. Telling an agent 'one doesn't choose one's muse' makes you sound like a writer who's resistant to suggestions, doesn't know how to rewrite faulty work and possibly takes it as an insult if anyone says anything critical about their work. (Muses are like sexual partners: you hope people will love the fruits of your congress, but what the two of you do in private is best kept private, at least when addressing strangers.) This is quite possibly a false portrait of you. You may well be responsive, a skilled redrafter and a pleasure to work with, so don't sell yourself short.

And don't apologise for your work! If you think it's good, you think it's good. Stand by that.

Like I say, you may well have already been planning to cut those bits when addressing prospective agents, but it's a general point: nobody likes a pushy author, but you still need to cultivate a positive attitude. If you don't sound confident in your work, other people won't be either. If Be too downbeat, and you'll sound like an author who's been rejected a lot - and that'll get agents wondering what's wrong with your work before they've looked at it. Start giving yourself pep talks, is my advice. Go you! Go you! Get some of that ol' winners' spirit.

Selling short stories is a notoriously difficult business. The usual advice is to try to win competitions and inclusions in anthologies, so you might need to start there. Good luck, anyway. :-)

Writerious said...

With phrases like "It's a tough genre, I know, but one doesn't choose one's muse," and "masochistic writers," you're telling the agent or editor flat-out, "This is practically unpublishable."

As for "choosing one's muse" -- I dunno, I just write.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips. Actually, though, I'm just entirely new to the whole Miss Snark gig. I certainly didn't intend to downplay the hook or to suggest inflexibility, but I know that short stories are a tough sell as a collection (or in any form, for that matter), and on that one point (i.e., the fact that they are short stories and not a novel), there's not much I can do about it.

Interesting exercise, this thing!

Anonymous said...

i love the premise. fascinating.