The Green Struggle

“Carlos woke blindfolded, gagged, wrists and ankles wrapped in duct tape, and with the taste of dryer sheets in his mouth.”

It’s an awesome opening line, isn’t it? At least I think so, and I got a compliment on Twitter plus a DM that said it was attention getting. So yeah, it’s an awesome opening line.

The problem is that it leads into a story that’s going to be very linear and predictable if I write it as I’ve rough plotted it out. It’s supposed to be an idea for a story submission to the upcoming “Urban Green Man” anthology, but I’m not feeling a lot of originality in the story I’ve worked out.

My second attempt at a story for this anthology was going to be near future fantasy and include a robot and a swarm of invasive wasps. Has some promise, but the guidelines specifically say no SF, which doesn’t necessarily leave out the robot, but why take the chances. Never mind that I could see several ways to resolve the immediate problem without resorting to any fantastic elements, much less some version of the Green Man.

More reading on the Green Man mythos and some story research. I’ve got the spark of a new idea for the tale, but need to see if I can work it into something both interesting and engaging.

You might ask why I’m so stressed about one story or why I can’t just let it go and move myself mentally to the next project. It’s only 3.5 cents per word (but yes, that’s more than I’ve yet been paid for a story) and there are a lot of other things I want to write. Well, there’s a complicated, multi-layer answer to that, but it boils down to:

  1. I met one of the editors at World Fantasy and told her I was going to.
  2. I set it to myself as a challenge and I’m not willing to walk away until and unless I’ve failed to meet it.

My job here is to write a damned good story and send it in. After that, I’ve done what I can and it will be up to the editors to decide if the story fits. Either way, I refuse to turn in something that isn’t the best story I could have produced.

Yeah, okay. So maybe I’m being silly or hard on myself, but maybe I’m just being a writer. Either way, I’m behind where I wanted to be, but that’s a challenge on its own.

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