Friday, July 26, 2013

Successfully Untrunking a Story with Sandra Ulbrich Almazan

Never Give Up: How I Successfully Untrunked a Short Story—and a Giveaway!

A long time ago, so long I’m not sure of exact dates anymore, I had an idea to explore the background of Romeo and Juliet, using Cupid as a guide. I’m not sure anymore what inspired this combination; it may have been a story challenge, or it may have just been a random idea. Either way, I did the best I could with the story at the time, revising it, posting it on a writing workshop for feedback, and revising it again. Finally I felt ready to send it out, under the title of “Antidote for a Family Feud.” My records show I sent it out four times, getting rejections each time. Eventually I moved on to other projects and forgot about this story.

Years later, self-publishing became not only much easier than ever before, but also more desirable in some respects. I decided I would try this route with one of my works, then decided I liked self-publishing so much I wanted to do it with more of my stories. Now it was time to peruse the Folder of Forgotten Stories and decide which ones stood the test of time. “Antidote for a Family Feud” came to mind. I reread it and revised it again, then decided to post it to the same writing workshop I’d used years before. This time, one of the comments gave me a clue as to why the story didn’t work for that reader; the first-person narrative was too remote and distant. I thought at first that since I was writing from a god’s perspective, that was what I wanted. But after mulling it over for a while, I came up with a new way to use Cupid’s point of view while making it easier for readers to relate to him. He’d be separated from his wife Psyche, communicating with her only by letter. This required me to rewrite the story again, as it required a big change in format. However, now that I had a direction, I made quick progress with the story. I also found a new title: “Letters to Psyche.” After yet another round of passing it by my critique partners, I decided it was ready for the world. I published it first on Amazon, but it’s now available at B&N and Smashwords too.  It’s received good reviews so far, so readers must like it.

There are some half-forgotten, half-finished stories of mine that I may never return to or may never figure out how to make work. But time, constant effort to improve your craft, and a willingness to take a new approach to a project can sometimes lead to good results. This is true in many areas of life, not just writing.

Have any of you found time or a new approach was the key to making a project successful? Please tell me about it in the comments before midnight CST. I’ll choose a winner at random for a free eBook of “Letters to Psyche” in the format of your choice.

And another opportunity to win a prize!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan started reading at the age of three and only stops when absolutely required to. Although she hasn’t been writing quite that long, she did compose a very simple play in German during middle school. Her science fiction novella Move Over Ms. L. (an early version of Lyon’s Legacy) earned an Honorable Mention in the 2001 UPC Science Fiction Awards, and her short story “A Reptile at the Reunion” was published in the anthology Firestorm of Dragons. She is a founding member of BroadUniverse and a long-time member of the Online Writing Workshop for Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror. Her undergraduate degree is in molecular biology/English, and she has a Master of Technical and Scientific Communication degree. Her current day job is in the laboratory of an enzyme company; she’s also been a technical writer and a part-time copyeditor for a local newspaper. Some of her other accomplishments are losing on Jeopardy! and taking a stuffed orca to three continents. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, Eugene; and son, Alex. In her rare moments of free time, she enjoys crocheting, listening to classic rock (particularly the Beatles), and watching improv comedy.

Sandra can be found online at her website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads

Letters to Psyche Blurb:

When the Greek god Cupid visits Verona, he foresees no problems uniting the Montague and Capulet families. But when Elisabeth Capulet and Giovanni Montague's love ends in tragedy, Elisabeth places a powerful curse not on just the families, but Cupid himself. Unable to visit his wife Psyche, he sends her letters detailing his efforts to undo the curse. Can the two of them save another generation of lovers, or will Cupid and Psyche be forever parted?

Twinned Universes:

Paul Harrison always wanted to play Hamlet, but he never expected he'd live the role first.
In the aftermath of a family tragedy on 21st century Earth, Paul discovers he's the clone of Sean Lyon, his great-great-grandfather and a famous TwenCen musician. Suspecting his mother's death was no accident, Paul comes up with a plan to trick the answers out of the great-uncle who had him cloned. But in order to make his plan work, Paul needs help from Sean himself-and Sean's time is running out in the TwenCen universe next door. Although Paul's family lives on the spaceship that travels between the universes, he's never been allowed on TwenCen Earth. Now, with the help of his friends, his disguise-creating holoprojectors, and a quantum quirk, Paul must make his way to Sean while evading other time travelers who fear he'll change the history of the TwenCen universe. If Paul is to achieve justice, he must not only risk his own life, but the wormhole connecting the universes. "To be or not to be" was a simple question in comparison....


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sometimes a complete rewrite is necessary. I did it with my very first story and it ended up becoming my first published novel.

Cherie Reich said...

Congrats, Sandra! And it's amazing how a new perspective can change everything.

Steven said...

I have a few trunk novels I just couldn't get right years ago. Just the other day I had a huge epiphany about one, so we'll see if revising it works.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Thanks, everyone! The random number generator picked 1, so Alex gets a copy of "Letters to Psyche!" I'll e-mail you later to ask about the format you prefer.