When I was in third grade at Lincoln Elementary School I wrote my first piece of fiction. It was stolen largely from a story we’d been assigned to read, but I did change enough things that I think it was okay. Okay in terms of plagiaristic leanings, that is. As a story, it sucked. I knew it even then. Now I would be in the 55th grade, if there were such a thing, and I still write stories. Only I hope they don’t suck. Of course, a few years ago, I never would have published my own work, but with things as they are today, I went ahead. Let me start by explaining my reasoning on that.
I learned all of the rules of fiction writing. Trust me, I could quote them to you, but I figure I’m boring enough as it is. I first wrote the story that became Messy Meisner for NaNoWrimo in 2013. I didn’t win that year, because there just weren’t enough words in the story. And there still aren’t, in fact there are fewer than there were originally. But, at least so far as I know, it’s a good story. It involves puppies getting stolen, and our hero kids solve the mystery of who is stealing them and why. And, they get the puppies back, including Messy Meisner’s own Basset puppy, named Spike. Spike is named after a Basset I owned, who sadly is no longer with us, but his picture is on the cover. I think it’s a good story, and reasonably well done, but I’ve had trouble getting agents and editors interested, for a couple of good reasons.
First, it hasn’t always been so well written and tight. Yes, believe it or not, I’m still learning how to put words together at the age of 66. So, what they saw was not as good as what now exists. And, going back to an editor or agent who has already rejected a work? Well, maybe. Probably not a good idea, though, at least not unless you have a new project. (Messy is the first in a series, but that’s for a later post.)
Second, I’m a hugely privileged person. I’m a tall, blue eyed male born in the middle of the twentieth century in the middle of the US of A. I know that a lot of white folks aren’t aware that such a birth confers privilege, but I know that it does. One of the privileges is that I don’t have to think about race or culture or diversity. I do, mind you, but I don’t have to. In the case of this series, a couple of the characters have Hispanic last names, but you only see one of those names in Messy. The other kids could be white, or black, or Asian, or from Kenya, and it wouldn’t make any difference to the story, so I just don’t mention anything about cultural or racial background in the book. I think that’s fine, but the big buzzword lately is “DIVERSITY.” You may have noticed. That’s fine, too. I live in Las Vegas, Nevada, one of the most diverse places, in every sense of that word, on the planet. We are minority majority in Southern Nevada, so I deal with many varieties of people all the time. And, being privileged, I just don’t give a hoot about their ethnicity, etc. Fine for me, but it makes it less likely that Messy is going to get picked up by any sort of traditional publisher.
So, now Messy Meisner is available as a Kindle™ book, or as a paperback from CreateSpace™ by Amazon™. Maybe it will do really well and some traditional publisher will snap it up and I’ll be rich and make even more money off of the movie. Or, maybe it will sell well enough that I’ll publish the next two books in the series while I keep working on that YA novel I’ve had going for a while. We’ll see.
Twitter: @stevefey https://twitter.com/stevefey
Buy the Paperback: https://www.createspace.com/5913324, or on Amazon.com.