I resumed writing fiction in earnest when our daughter was preparing for college. I never thought I would actually try and publish anything. In fact, my first effort was to find out if I could actually do it. After completing a short story and then a novel, I was ready to try peddling the latter around. I was accustomed to the academic writing process which meant I was used to being rejected. All by way of saying, I expected rejection. Well, I got rejection, and rejection, and rejection. Agents were either non-responsive or sent nice form rejection letters. Then I tried small presses. Same responses. Reject, reject, reject. Finally, an acceptance from Damnation Books for my debut novel, Birth Offering.
Did academic writing and publishing in scientific journals prepare me for the rigor of fiction? The answer is a general “yes”. Yes, there is a submission process. Yes, there is a review (and rejection) process, and an editing process that often includes major revisions. Unlike fiction review, which is often the decision of one person, research articles undergo a blind review conducted by two to three independent scientists who specialize in similar areas as the author of the manuscript. Reviewers provide their review to the editor of the journal who makes a decision based on the reviews.
I thought I was immune to the distress of submitting and resubmitting, but alas…no. The more I got into the life of a fiction writer, I wanted to be successful. When it started happening… well then, phew. In all honesty, “successful” in my mind was not financial (that’ll never happen), but turning out stories that people might enjoy. Of course, I was incredibly surprised that not everyone liked horror. Imagine that. What’s the matter with these people?