Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Posted by Laurel Garver on Tuesday, December 01, 2009 8 comments
It's been sooo hard to keep this under wraps, but one of my pieces was published today in the Winter 09-10 issue of Flashquake! "Wedding Singer" is the true story of one of my stranger experiences as a vocalist. Click the linked title to go directly to the piece.

It might be an encouragement to others of you seeking publication to know the history of this piece. It's had a very slow journey to the public eye. The wedding portrayed in the piece happened in November 1991 and I journaled it at the time.

Flash forward to the mid-1990s when I took a feature-writing journalism course in grad school. I'd turned in an early draft of this piece for an assignment--a short nonfiction piece expressing point of view. I don't recall the teacher having an especially positive response, probably due to the complete lack of "newsworthiness" of my topic. (A downside of having your employer foot the bill for your master's coursework is they dictate you study something "job-related," thus I got stuck somewhat unhappily in journalism school, where it's all about newsworthy facts.)

Flash forward yet again to last winter. I'd been cleaning out a file drawer and unearthed a folder of random grad school papers. I came across this assignment and got a chuckle out of it. I sent it to some friends on Facebook and got a huge response. The idea of submitting it for publication hadn't occurred to me, partly because it's such a short piece. Enter my friend and critique partner Simon, who got me up to speed on the whole "flash fiction" phenomenon last spring. As I experimented with writing the flash fiction form and started looking to submit pieces, I found that some magazines, like Flashquake, also take nonfiction. Remembering the positive response to the draft, I gave it a dusting down and sent it out. I got an acceptance on the first try.

Moral of the story: look through those files of random stuff every so often. You might have the germ of something publishable in there.

And speaking of Simon, I'd be remiss if I didn't share his good news: he ALSO got published in the same issue of Flashquake, and his fiction piece "Rise, Lazarus," which I'd had the privilege to critique, is one of the editors' picks! Way to go, Simon! You are an inspiration!
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8 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Laurel! That's fantastic news - I'm so happy for you! What an interesting journey from journaling to publication - thanks for sharing. ;-)

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  2. Flash Fiction seems to be growing in popularity. I absolutely love Smokelong Quarterly and would kill to get published in it. I'll check out your story now that I know the history behind it. Congrats!

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  3. Whee! Yes, I'm thrilled. No, I haven't looked at the site today. Yes, I'm off to do so now.

    Thanks for linking my piece, Laurel! Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow night... :)

    I think I'll buy champagne for us!

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  4. Shannon: thanks! I hope the history of "Wedding Singer" inspires folks, 'cause even a homework assignment your instructor didn't love can become publishable. While I chafed at a lot of the journalism training (facts? I love to make things up!), it has provided a number of useful tools and disciplines.

    Hello, JR, thanks for stopping by. Smokelong Quarterly is a good publication to aspire to, they put out wonderful stuff. Good luck!

    Simon, my man, what can I say? I'd never even have submitted if it weren't for you. Kudos on being an editor's pick!

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  5. Awesome! I'm thrilled for the both of you. I'm hopping over now to check it out.

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  6. Thanks, T. Anne! These little victories help keep me going on the bigger stuff--like revising my novel for the umpteenth time.

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  7. That's so exciting!! Good for you!

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  8. Congratulations, Laurel! Publication is always exciting.

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