I have made my first sale for the year! Yay!
Later this year, my story which as yet has the rather silly title "The Sheepdog In The Stable"(I don't mind if it changes, I am hopeless at titles), will appear in a book of stories, poems, memoirs, art and such to be published by Christmas Press.
A few weeks ago, I had an invitation to submit from the delightful Sophie Masson. The book will be on a Christmas theme. She didn't mind if it was already-published. It just had to be about Christmas, aimed at children between five and twelve and no more than 1500 words in length.
I had never written anything Christmas-themed unless you count a piece of fan fiction I wrote years ago and that was definitely not aimed at children. So I had to come up with something new. And it had to be aimed at an age group younger than I've written for before. I have written often for 8-12, but it was always more suitable for the older age of that range. If Sophie didn't want it, I wasn't sure who would. Perhaps NSW School Magazine, but I've never sold them fiction before, only non fiction, and if they didn't want it either....
Still, I had to give it a go. How flattering is that, when someone you admire thinks your writing is likely to be suitable for her by-invitation anthology!
I started with a story which was going to be about a family getting together for Christmas and it would turn out that they were living in a small rural community of werewolves somewhere in Victoria. I couldn't get that going in a way that would suit young children. It was an adult concept. I may use it yet, but not now.
I didn't want to lose the werewolves, though. So I went for the school Nativity Play, something that isn't common these days with so many multicultural communities, I set it in a school not unlike my own, though primary, and I had a boy who was an unusual type of multicultural. In fact, I sort of set it in an alternative universe in which everyone takes unicorns and werewolves and such for granted, Joan Aiken-style, and the sudden appearance of a wolf cub in a Nativity Play only gets the reaction,"Hey, that is so cool!" The country of Armorique, originally a part of the triple-mooned world of Wolfborn, was sneaked into this one.
I wasn't sure it would work, but finally, after a lot of fiddling, decided that sooner or later, I would have to submit it or give up. I submitted it, fingers crossed.
Both Sophie and the editor, Beattie, thought it very funny(Beattie said she nearly snorted her coffee through her nostrils reading it). And this reminds me of something once said at a seminar I attended, by Rosalind Price of Allen and Unwin: "If you can make me laugh, I'll buy it." I like a touch of humour, if not more, in anything I write.
Beattie added that she loved that unicorns were still living in Armorique and she wanted to go there! Sophie suggested I consider writing a novel with Armorique in it. Well, I have, but I think she meant the present day, with the silliness of taken-for-granted fantastical creatures.
I'll think about it. :-)