I told editor Gay Degani this was what I was writing the day before Christmas instead of wrapping presents. She seemed to agree that writing trumps everything else, so I’ll give you an advance peek at what’s coming up on Flash Fiction Chronicles (http://www.everydayfiction.com/flashfictionblog/ ).
My groaning file cabinet is filed a score of published pieces along with a hundred rejected or unsubmitted orphans that just don’t work. Either I killed the idea or editors responded, “We wish you luck in placing this with another publisher.”
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were an archive for failed efforts, like Jasper Fforde’s brilliant Well of Lost Plots where all unpublished writing resides? My flash story “Alien Nation” (read “Alienation”) about a werewolf vegetarian would sit next to Fforde’s “unread and unreadable Caversham Heights, a cliché-ridden pulp mystery.” My three novels—begun but never completed—would collect dust until some literary archeologist cried “Eureka!” And “Gaslighting,” where I poured my heart into a tale of spousal abuse ending with a Halloween murder, would lie comatose.
Or—and this is the germ of an idea—could my orphan stories be posted where struggling writers might find they serve as the perfect prompt needed to re-energize their spirits? I would get a credit line, much like F. Scott Fitzgerald did when he failed to turn in a satisfactory script for Tender Is the Night. And the new author, bound for the Elysian heights of publishing, would add insights into the successes and failures of humanity.
Let me think about it before taking out the trash.