Hey folks. We thought it would be an interesting idea to detail the struggles writers go through when submitting work and how demoralizing the whole process can be. The following piece was written by featured writer, Leroy B. Vaughn.
(You can check out Mr. Vaughn’s original story, The Bo-Jacks, HERE)
I wrote this article one afternoon, after talking to a buddy of mine who had just finished writing a book. We were sitting on the roof of the house I rented in Mexico, and I was complaining to him about our local American Legion magazine that had published a true crime story that I had written about my wife’s uncle. He was a Mexican police officer who was killed in the line of duty.
After the article came out in our little magazine, I realized that the editor had cut so much out of the story that she had missed the point of it. At that time, my buddy told me that I needed a new title.
The story was originally titled, “A Cop, His Dog and Some Gun Thugs.” The uncle was a cop, his dog was a major part of the story, and her uncle was killed by some gun thugs.
(A Cop, His Dog and Some Gun Thugs was published in 2013 on the Crime City Central Podcast.)
-Leroy B. Vaughn
So, You Want To Be A Writer?
After twenty-five years of writing, you realize that you might not make it as a writer, after:
You write a series of short stories, and a publisher actually likes your stories. He wants to feature one of them as the opening chapter of an anthology of short stories in a book he is getting ready to publish.
Six months later, he writes a very nice letter to you explaining that the anthology was cancelled, because he did not get a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
A major magazine offers to buy a short story that you wrote, but they want to cut the word count by one third. You will not compromise your work and refuse the offer.
You enter a short story contest in a big city newspaper and win a t-shirt from the newspaper, along with a nice rejection letter thanking you for entering the contest.
A local newspaper gives you a good review of your second self-published book. After the review is published, you are invited to a meeting at the house of a television/movie producer. He likes your book and invites you to two more meeting with two other Hollywood types.
At the third meeting, the producer shows you a screenplay that he has written. He now tells you that he wants you to re-write his screenplay into a book, using your style of writing.
Two weeks go by and you have had several telephone conversations with the producer. He wants to get started as soon as possible on the book. Three days later, he dies of liver cancer.
You move to Ajijic, Mexico, and find that one out of every three persons is a writer or literary critic. On the advice of your neighbor, an editor for a local publication, you submit one self-published book and another collection of short stories to a local writing contest.
Your book and collection of short stories are returned to you, after the contest. Neither the book or short stories appear to have been opened.
You write a newspaper column about living in Mexico for your local hometown newspaper in the States. The column is not published although the editor loves it. You never hear from her again.
The publisher that you self-published two books with goes out of business.
You submit stories to three English language publications in the Lake Chapala, Mexico area and get rejected by all three publications.
You finally get published in one of the local publications, and the editor cuts over 50% of the words to your story, without advising you, making the story unreadable.
You show that story to one of your writer buddies, and he advises you that he has just read a great book on how to become a writer. It appears that your problem is in the selection of a title for your story. The title is critical, according to the author who knows how to write.
You drink a couple of beers and try to decide what you should do for a hobby, now that your days as a writer are over, before you got started.
Written in Mexico, 2007
Leroy B. Vaughn