So I have just begun my literary journey with 101 words. These 101 words comprise the beginning, middle, and end of a story. In these 101 words, there are conflict and resolution. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have been qualified as a story. To be able to come up with a story with just 101 words is a test of brevity for a short story writer. And I am so glad to have passed that test. A complete test with 42 days of anticipation at the prospect of being rejected or accepted, detailed feedback (which is very much longer than the submission itself) from an editor, and very little editing of ambiguity to the story. Yes, Mistaken, the micro-fiction in question, is just 101 words, but it went through a standard editorial process at 101 Words as a short story of 3,000 words or more would. The feedback from the editor was detailed it worth 20 to 40 dollars indeed.
“The opening line is excellent … This conflict is shown to us in an appealing and elegant way through keen descriptive writing and sharp dialogue, allowing the reader to develop a deeper understanding and feeling for the piece.” — Editor of 101 Words
At the start of my journey as a published short story writer, I will keep those words from the editor in my head as well as in my heart, and I will let them guide me as I write more stories. Mistaken is the fifth story I have finished this year, but it is the first to have been published. I also wrote The Replacement Muse (3,825 words), Girl from the Provinces (1,981 words), A Budding Tale at Torillo Block (3,963 words), Rosé (4,375 words), Concrete Frustrations (3,049 words), Nosy Parker (101 words), and Karma Is a Douche with the Third Eye (1,000 words). I had already written four longer short stories before I wrote Mistaken, but the journey begins only when you get published. The four stories are still under consideration of a number of literary publications. I submitted Nosy Parker to 101 Words, and it has only been 16 days. Meanwhile, I submitted the flash fiction Karma Is a Douche with the Third Eye to 101 Words’ sister publication, Flash Fiction Magazine.
I usually write general fiction and longer short stories as you see the word count of my first four stories, but I am trying my hand at genre fiction (fantasy, sci-fi, or horror) at the start of this journey. I have already started writing micro-fiction (Mistaken and Nosy Parker) and flash fiction (Karma Is a Douche with the Third Eye). These are all thanks to Michael Carter and Aeryn Rudel who introduced me 101 Words and who have influenced me to try genre fiction by reading their amazing works on their websites. And because I am really good friends with a YA book reviewer like Joshua Gabriel, I may also start writing YA fiction—I actually found a few markets for YA short fiction—one day as I take little steps in my journey to being a relevant and an established fictionist.
Those 101 words even made me decide to start this blog. What could be a better way to promote your published stories than to set up your own website. My other reason of starting this blog is that I need something to push me to write on. I published a Filipino romance novel in 2011, and it has only been followed this year with Mistaken. Where did those six years go without writing and publishing anything? What a waste! My literary journey could have started six years ago.
I have been advising younger aspirants, including my nephew who graduated cum laude just the previous day, to start writing and submitting now. Writing, you can do it anywhere; you can do it even if you are jobless or have a day job. It is really difficult to get published internationally, so aspirants had better start writing now. Had I only known before that the struggle and competition could be this real, I would have done everything to publish another work after my 2011 publication.
“Rejection after rejection after rejection! Start collecting rejections now! Start your literary journey now.”
Rejection is part of the game. You cannot take the first step in your literary journey without receiving tons of rejection letters from publications. And rejection does not necessarily mean that you are not good enough as a writer. If you have received a rejection letter just now, visit Aeryn Rudel’s Rejectomancy blog. Trust me; you will feel better. The point is that you should start collecting rejections as early as now if you seriously think of building a career in the literary industry. Like how I am starting now, like how I am building my career as a fictionist now, you can also start your literary journey with just 101 words. Already have exactly 101 words that qualify as a story? Then submit your piece now to 101 Words. Have rather got a story with 300 to 1,000 words? Then submit it to Flash Fiction Magazine.
If you have also just started your literary journey, let me hear your thoughts on this. If you plan to start a literary journey, you can talk to me. I always have something to tell you.
Header Image: Matt Howard