I just got my contributors copy of Big Pulp's new issue of MURDER & THE MACABRE, and I'm so proud of myself. If you've known me for any length of time, you know that occasionally I write a story that I feel will never EVER be bought by a publisher. Yet, I can't help myself. I've got to get it out of my head and onto the page.
"Going Down," which is in the new M&M, is one of those stories. I wrote it while I was in the hospital suffering from a mystery illness (no one knows what my problem was, although in retrospect--even though they tested it--I think it was my pancreas). I was full of pain and anger, and I had to get this vicious thing out of my brain, even though I knew no one would want it. I chalked it up therapy.
Much to my surprise, Big Pulp wanted it. Yet, the more I think about it, the more I realize that the stories I think no one will want actually turn out to be stories publishers really want. Maybe I'm stuck in the old mindset from when I started TABARD INN, a fiction magazine I created for stories so extreme that no one else would want them. I find it hard to believe that the rest of the publishing industry has caught up with that ideal.
For example, I never thought anyone would want "The Knot that Binds," and yet there it is in STRANGE FUCKING STORIES. I wrote a story about two meth-heads who want to sell their baby in a Wal-Mart parking lot, but shockingly, HARDBOILED wanted it. Or how about a story about a zombie apocalypse in which the zombies have total recall but they're still dead and still have a love life? "Pack Rat" wound up getting published three fucking times and is the story I will be remembered for if I die tomorrow.
I'm working on the final draft of a story I don't think anyone will want. If history has anything to say about it, my story will be purchased after four attempts, and it will be one of my biggest publications. But doubt still sets in, and it's right to. No one should want the story, but it's so batshit fucking nuts that someone will want it.
I guess my message for tonight is, even if you think the story you're working on is so ri-fucking-diculous, you should finish it anyway. You never can tell.
At first, you will think that "Going Down" is about a guy who wants to be famous for being able to suck his own dick. By the end of the story, you'll wonder why you thought that in the first place. It's so grotesque that you can't forget it. Like "Pin" by Robert McCammon. It's just such a visceral, over-the-top story that it will find a place in your heart, even if you don't want it to.
This is Big Pulp's website. The magazine that contains my story hasn't been posted yet, but keep an eye out. You'll want this one. And hey! Check out the cover! It's by Luke Spooner, who did the cover for my upcoming book, POOR BASTARDS AND RICH FUCKS.