In short, KAS is the brainchild of one Bernard J. Schaffer, who is putting together a short story anthology for Kindle of various independent authors. The proceeds of the anthology will go to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Who wouldn’t want to throw their writing hat into a ring such as this?
So, I did. I submitted a horror short story. And, two days ago, I got an email from Bernard.
He said he can’t accept the story as-is.
But he can’t reject it either.
He wants me to fix it.
His email gave me the freak-out.
Not because he was mean or anything of that sort. Yeah, the critique was tough to take (what critique isn’t?), but I came away from the email feeling like he respected the story and respected me as a writer.
No, the freak-out came from the realization that this was the first critique I’ve ever received from someone with whom I’d never had any prior contact.
I sent my story to a total stranger and actually got specific feedback on it.
That has never happened before.
- I’ve sent novels to strangers (i.e. publishing houses) and received polite rejections.
- I’ve turned in writing assignments to writer and long-distance writing coach Elizabeth Engstrom and received critiques in return. But this was under the umbrella of a writing course via correspondence, and I had at least communicated with her before sending her my stuff.
- I’ve shared my writing with friends and family who gave me honest but kind feedback. But they were friends and family.
Mr. Schaffer was a stranger whom I’d re-tweeted a few times on Twitter. But we’d never exchanged emails before; he wasn’t friends or family; and he was telling me specifics on story-fixing instead of politely telling me I sucked.
Hellllooooooo, broadened horizon.
I love it.
I intend to spend today working on the fixes. I’m hoping to finish them and send the story back to Bernard by the end of the day. This is a wonderful and crazy challenge to set myself, and the writer kid in me is jitterbugging with the most cramazing glee.
In his email, Bernard did not say that if I make the requested changes, I’m definitely in the anthology. But even if I don’t end up making the cut, I won’t regret this experience.
I did a First. I got some great pointers on becoming a better writer. I got to look Fear in the eye and say, “Shove it, sugar. You’re not the boss of me.”
I got to squash that little voice in my head that is so given to negative self-talk.
Step outside the box?
I smash the box, y’all.
And that’s WILAWriTWe.