Five years ago I started my first attempt at creative writing since high school. Being the ambitious type, of course I decided to write a novel. Gho. A ghost story. I’d bang it out in 6 months, sell it, become famous, quit my day job, the whole shebang. I wrote Gho in 6 months, spent a bit of time researching how to sell it, wrote a slew of query letters and sat back. Nothing.
I edited and rewrote and resubmitted. Still nothing.
Somewhere in there I got frustrated and banged out a short story, using the characters from the novel. That story sold first try (“Walking with Great Uncle“). And so my take on the Great American Ghost Story was forgotten while I focused on short stories.
Fast forward to this past summer, I’d sold a dozen or so shorts, written a new novel, a lot more carefully (I am getting better as a writer), and I took a fresh look in the shoebox. At 90,000 words, Gho was the proper size for a novel, but so much of the writing was, well from when I wasn’t so good. So, wearing my short storyist hat, I took a shot at tightening it up (we do that a lot).
Fast forward a couple of more months and Gho the Novel had been rightsized to “Gho” the Novella. At 25,000 words she was lean and tough, sans about a half-dozen viewpoint characters, sans all sorts of side plots. But there is not much of a market for novellas outside of self-publishing, so again I put her on the shelf.
Then along came a writing contest, proceeds going to charity no less. The Bards and Sages Publishing’s 2013 Charity Writing Contest to be specific. Looked like a good contest, I’d published with them before (“Last Ghost of the War” in 2011 and “Along Sand Creek” in 2013), and hey the entry fee goes to a great cause. So I submitted one of my favorite short stories, “The Trillionaire.” Then when I looked at the fine print, it said I could submit multiple stories, so I sent in “Gho” as well.
“The Trillionaire” didn’t win anything, but “Gho” took 2nd prize.
And so “Gho” will be published after all, in an anthology come this summer. Stay tuned.