Last night I started read Machine of Death (MoD), an anthology of stories centered around the premise of a machine that lets people know how they are going to die, but is annoyingly vague about it. So far, so good. The first couple of stories have been fantastic, but that’s not the point of this story.
The point of the story is: I’ve known about this book for quite a long time. When the editors first started asking for submissions, I became thrilled at the idea of this book and knew I wanted to submit something to it. So,Â I came up with a couple of story ideas, started writing, got bogged down and lost in the writing, and never submitted anything.
While I started reading the stories in the finished book (while feeling a little jealous about it’s shiny and clever cover, as well as the awesome illustrations at the front of each one), I kept thinking about the stories I didn’t finish. Once upon a time, in one of MoD’s emails or blogs, I remember reading that if this book sells well, then they will consider making a second book on the same premise.
Suddenly, a story that I’ve had in the back of my mind jumped up and kicked me in the frontal lobe, announcing that it would work just wonderfully as a MoD story.
But that’s silly, I told the story, why would I work on writing a story for a market that’s not even open. Instead I should be working on things that I can actually submit and share when I’m done with them.
My protests did not, however, stop the story from jabbering in my ear and making a general nuisance of itself, insisting at grabbing my attention at every turn to the point that I finally had to give up on reading for the night and go to bed. At which point the story continued to lay itself out in a provocative display before me, dazzling me and enticing me with plot, dialog, and clever descriptions.
There is no winning against such an onslaught. So I dragged myself out of bed, scrambled around for the nearest legal pad and pen, and began my bleary eyed scribbling — bleary eyed not only due to exhaustion, but also because I’m half blind without my contacts in.
In the end, I had several pages filled with practically illegible writing, consisting of a nearly finished scene and some outline notes for the rest of it. I’m sure I’ll have a fun time deciphering the mess later.
But all I cared about was that the beast was appeased, and I was allowed to sleep.
ETA: I think I may know a way to make this story work without the MoD element to it, which would make it viable for other markets. Hrmm….