In the Wilds

It’s interesting to see what happens to your stories when they are sold.  In a podcast, what will the reader emphasize?  What sounds and music will they use?  In print or on a website, what image, if any, will be paired with your story?

The Cats of Santa Agatha is out at Page & Spine.  I’m amused by the picture of cats next to the start of my story.  They are all squinty eyed, which a cat lover knows is a sign that the cat is relaxed and trusting but to a non-cat lover looks like a glower.

Dogs speak human body language.  They make eye contact and wiggle their butts when happy.  They sigh heavily when you scritch the right spot on their ears.  A content dog is easy to understand even for the dog novice.

A content cat just looks like an asshole, with the tip of its tail twitching and its eyes narrowed at you.adorable-animal-cat-290263

Writers are their own species as well.  In workshops, classes, and writers group we create a dialectic feedback loop.  We teach each other to be better writers in service, we hope, of being more readable.  We go off into dark corners, be it at the coffee shop or the basements of our houses, to write, alone.  There is no reader standing over our shoulder explaining what they feel.  And when we pick beta readers to read our work, they are almost always other writers.

In high school and college, we try to teach everyone to read like a writer.  Not everyone does and some people just stop reading after school ends because it feels like too much work.  Others find their nitch. Science fiction, romance, and war non-fiction are their own types of readers.  There are the people who love all stories (cat, dog, and turtle home, here), but most people settle into to a species they love and are content there.

For a story to get published, it has to speak “writer” but you can’t help but wonder does it speak “reader?”  It certainly won’t speak to everyone.  You just have to hope you found a reader or two that will let you snuggle up next to them and rest your chin on their ankle.