• Melanie McCree

Post #17: Find a Way

Updated: Dec 8, 2021

Today I did a terrifying thing. I emailed somebody I've never met. Go ahead and laugh. Whatever, I'm an introvert, we don't even take occupied elevators.

Somebody I work with told me about an author friend of hers and suggested I contact the person (we shall call her "Heidi," because that is her name) and ask some of my pressing unpublished-writer questions.

I contacted Heidi, she said it was okay to ask, and so I asked. I finished that email and sent it to her a few minutes ago. Let me sum the email up for you in one sentence:

"What do you do if you are a born social media fail?"

I'm a little afraid of the answer. Not because I think she's going to tell me to do something unreasonable. Not even because she might tell me to do something way outside my comfort zone (which is, as previously stated, far larger than an occupied elevator.) No, what scares me is, the answer might be "find a way."

I can't build a rocket to the moon (find a way.) I can't reproduce the Statue of Liberty in a string cheese medium (find a way.) I can't invent a better alternative to Esperanto (find a way.) I can't stop a moving semi with one hand (find a way.) I can't journey to the center of the Earth (find a way.)

You see? "Find a way" is a terrible answer.

I've been looking at the submission guidelines for a publisher called Uncommon Universes Press. They seem to be a very good match. I've read several of the books published under their label. They are looking for my kind of weirdness, I'm pretty sure.

They want a Marketing Plan. They want social media account names and addresses.

Well, slather a biscuit.

They also want me to sum my book up in one sentence. And also in one paragraph. And then in one page. The butter just keeps on slathering.

However, they also want to know how my story incorporates the themes of wonder, adventure and sacrifice. Ha! In the basket! I'm pretty sure I can't write stories without wonder, adventure and sacrifice. Seriously, I don't think I can. My stories are not ordinary. Example: here is a story I wrote about a marsh elf and a ring fairy named Creepnugget. I'll paste part of it below.

The fairy lifted into the air in time to avoid a dunking, hovered until Jeff clambered to his feet, then landed on top of his head again, fanning its wings to stay upright. It threw back its head and did its weird bug-zapper laugh, then stomped twice. Jeff sloshed forward, his big arms churning up waves, his wet hair flattened over his forehead and half-covering his eyes.

Barry stopped at the water's edge and crossed his arms, but he was grinning. He had some kind of elf trick he was dying to show off, she could tell, because he kept on standing there and grinning the whole time Jeff was huffing and splashing like a crazed buffalo to get to the other side of the river.

By the time he stumbled out and started up the bank, Cam was wondering whether Barry expected her to intercept Jeff. She was about to explain why that was a ludicrous idea when Barry stepped onto the water. His foot landed on the surface, right near the patch of cattails, and didn't sink in. He put his other foot down and then, eyes full of mischief, he strolled across the surface of the river like he was wandering down a sidewalk. A breeze tugged some strands from his ponytail, and she could see now that his hair wasn't just plain brown, but brown mixed with bronze and caramel and a green so dark it was almost black. The sunlight dappling the river glinted on his hands and face and long, pointed ears like he was coated in gold dust.

He stepped onto the opposite bank, his shoes perfectly dry, and grabbed Jeff's sloppy arm, hauling him up the hill to the car like a wiener dog on a short leash. Then, smiling at Cam with all the wild otherness of endless marsh and open sky, Barry said, "caught him."

Boom. Wonder and adventure, am I right? (I feel it won't be necessary to provide examples of sacrifice. If you've seen my blog, you know I'm comfortable with the topic.)

So, yes, Uncommon Universes Press's submission requirements are like every horrible final exam I've ever taken, but at least I know some of my answers will get me a passing grade. There are plenty, however, that will not. They don't grade on the curve in this business.

Guess it's time to check my email. There's probably something from Author Heidi in there. I'm... stoked.

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