When I was young, I would carry notepads and loose-leaf paper around the house. Stacks of paper with disorderly lists, scribbled stories, and transcribed facts I learned in school, and the sporadic sketch detailed my weekends, summer, and evenings after school.
In middle and high school, I enjoyed English class the most and enrolled in as many creative writing courses as possible. In college, I majored in communications, English, and creative writing. It is a safe bet to say my lifestyle is centered around the creative process and exercising my literary voice.
During my senior year of college, I registered for a short story course that taught the elements of a short story and how to best compose the form. Up until that spring semester, I hadn’t attempted to write a short story. Most used to writing novels and poetry, I was excited about this new writerly journey.
The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.”Vladimir Nabokov
After reading several examples of short stories, including Ernest Hemingway’s Hills Like White Elephants and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Cask of Amontillado and other classic and modern stories, I caught up with the tips from some of the best writers of our generation. Finally, pulling inspiration from a storyline I originally envisioned back in eighth grade, I pursued my first draft.
At the conclusion of the course, I graduated with five short story drafts that flow on the spectrum of suspense. Suspense fiction is a genre my novels and poetry naturally shied away from. Interestingly, my short stories refused to keep away from the style.
Back in summer 2021, I sifted through my short story portfolio following a long year of not actively thinking about, looking at, or in anyway engaging with the stories. In June, I reopened the document of the first short story I composed. Rereading, I began to revise the story, investing more time in characterization, adding necessary details of the plot, and removing sentences that were not pushing the story forward.
From draft to the most recent version, I am proud of how far the story has come.
You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.”Annie Proulx
As this story became part of my life, I knew the publication I wanted to submit to, hoping for an acceptance. While a highly competitive literary journal, I believe the story is nearing completion. With each finishing touch added to the text, I feel satisfied with the outcome.
However, a submission doesn’t guarantee acceptance.
It makes me wonder, will I ever be a published writer?
Since I was walking around my house with paper and writings tucked under my arm and graphite smudges on the side of my hand, I had a dream of being a published writer. At 23 years old, the wish never waned. I am excited for the day when my stories are in the hands of devoted readers and my books are displayed at local bookstores.
I know, someday, I will be a published writer.