Today was a good day.
Today I signed my name to a contract.
The contract is for a 800 word short story that I sold to Woman's World magazine.
According to that that perfectly wonderful contract, on May 18th I will be able to find my short story inside the current issue of Woman's World with my name on it. Even better they are actually paying me for this privilege, and not the other way around.
How cool is that?
Like all things writing related the seeds of this very good day were planted a very long time ago. The story was written and submitted all the way back in September of last year. I'd read on a message board that Woman's World accepted short romantic stories and paid well for them and thought that maybe I could write something that they would like.
I did some research on the kinds of stories that they printed (thank you Archy for the stories you let me read from some current copies of yours.), and then I wrote it and had my crit group take a look at it and help me chop it down to the 800 word limit and just generally make it better. (Thanks Passionate Critters! You guys are the best:)
However, the idea for the story goes back to 2002 - the summer before I started film school when I was playing around with ideas for short screenplays.
I wrote this silly little thing about a woman with an overbearing mother, a crush on her neighbor across the hall, and a addiction to chocolate that she couldn't kick. As a short film it didn't really work, and eventually it got stuck into the gigantic pile of little bits and pieces of things I've written that I may or may not come back to someday.
Every so often I go through this pile, mining it for ideas and inspiration. Sometimes I'll break off a chunk of something I've written and graft it into another story, and other times I'll take it and use it as the starting point to build something completely different and new.
This is why I do not subscribe to the "kill your darlings" school of thought.
Instead I find it is much more sensible that when I have some element in a current WIP, whether it be a character, bit of dialogue, or an entire scene, and it just isn't paying the rent of it's current residence, then as the landlord of that story, I obviously need to evict them. However, this eviction does not mean that this element can't become a very good and reliable tenant somewhere else.
So, anyway, that is the whole story of my very first professional credit. Yes, it is only one tiny step up the gigantic ladder to success, but it is one step higher than I was before.