Another Writing First: Horror?

Short Story Publication

I am pleased to share that my short story “New England Gothic” has been published in the September 10, 2021 edition of The Chamber Magazine. 

How the Story Came to Be

Several years ago, I became interested in flash fiction, thinking I could salvage a failed novel that had an episodic structure–too episodic to be considered an actual plot, it would seem. (You can read more about that failed novel here.)

Flash fiction wasn’t a “thing” when I went to college and grad school, so I bought The Rose Metal Field Press Guide to Writing Flash Fiction to see if I could get a better handle on the genre. I’ve since read enough flash fiction to know that my short-short fiction isn’t flash, and it never will be.

The Field Guide includes a number of practice exercises, one of which called to mind William Faulkner’s short story “A Rose for Emily,” as well as a 2004 murder that happened in a neighboring town in my local area. That murder was made all the more horrific by the fact that the perpetrator, an elderly woman, had been the neighbor of a work colleague of mine and had even babysat my colleague when she was little.

I’d never before written a story that was directly “ripped from the headlines.” What pushed me into writing it was wanting to use the same point of view as “A Rose for Emily,” first person plural. I wanted to tell the story from the point of view of the town. It would be a first for me.

The Path to Publication

So I wrote the story, which I titled “No Rose for Marjorie,” and sent it out to literary magazines. Seven rejections in return. I changed the title to “New England Gothic” and again sent it out to literary magazines. Three more rejections. Then I saw a call for submissions to a horror magazine. I thought, what the heck, and submitted the story. It didn’t take long for the editor to respond as though it were a horror story. He asked for some revision to make Marjorie’s motive clear. I made the changes, and he accepted the story.

Does this mean I’ve written a horror story?

159 thoughts on “Another Writing First: Horror?

  1. Congratulations on your publication!! It’s a wonderful tale! I’m glad you persisted!! Keep it up!! Yes, I think you wrote horror and did it well too! If you’d shared your news and story with me over my dining room table I would have said, by way of complementing you, that your writing reminds me of Helene Tursten “An Elderly Lady Is Up To No Good”… and I would lend you my copy in hopes of encouraging you to keep going!! Congratulations again!! Keep writing!!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The path to publication ~ not only do you have to “suffer” through the path of delivering a great piece of work, then you have to endure another painful road of seeking publication which seems to be on the other extreme. This process actually fascinates me, in a fearful struggle type of way, but knowing it must be a pretty glorious feeling when you get a “yes”. And then to have it come from a different genre than you expected… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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