Blood-Red Ink

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

It’s ISWG Wednesday again. The first Wednesday of each month, members of the Insecure Writers’ Support Group answer a question about writing and then hop about the blogosphere, checking out each other’s answers.

From the ISWG website: “The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a home for writers in all stages; from unpublished to bestsellers. Our goal is to offer assistance and guidance. We want to help writers overcome their insecurities, and by offering encouragement we are creating a community of support.”

ISWG offers an impressive number of resources for writers. And this month’s question is: What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?

In Writing Fiction from Point Zero, June 6, 2016, I wrote about my first act of murder on paper, a story inspired by a crazy student during my early teaching years. I never finished that piece. Further literary murders followed as my then-marriage descended into nastiness. Just last week I found two short stories from that era than involve the demise of a scornful, demeaning husband. So therapeutic! I had no intention of publishing back then; I was just flexing my muscles, enjoying the creative process.

The first piece I wrote for publication was a cozy mystery entitled Murder on Principal. It’s the tale of a high school teacher who finds her principal dead in his office. Of course, she falls under suspicion, and when a second staff member is found dead, she tries to find the killer’s identity before s/he can strike again. You can read a sample in this year’s Guide to Literary Agents, in the section where a panel of agents critique first pages. Their comments were mixed; it’s a first novel, after all.

While my goal is traditional publication, I had a pretty realistic idea of my chances for getting this first novel published—that is, slim. Whisper-thin. Like, one cell thick. I used the revision and submission process as my training ground for future, more salable novels. I’m still entertaining notions about self-publishing it, though. There must be teachers like me who would enjoy reading about the demise of a sadistic principal. For now, my first novel is waiting patiently on the shelf for further attention.

Meanwhile, the blood-red ink continues to drip from my computer, as well as from my revision notes. I’m happily remarried and retired from teaching, and yet I can’t control my murderous impulses. I guess once you’ve tasted blood, there’s no turning back.

7 thoughts on “Blood-Red Ink

  1. patgarcia

    Sounds like you have some interesting short stories that also may be bought by a magazine. At least, If I were you, I would consider it or you may want to consider publishing a book of your short stories. Either way, good luck. I am sure that you have some great ideas. So now start implementing them.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Patricia @ EverythingMustChange

  2. Jo-Ann Carson

    I sure hope you don’t curb your murderous intentions. I think your stories will be well-received. I’m a retired teacher too and schools have slipped into my stories here and there. I’m an Indie writer/publisher, if you ever decide to come over to the dark side just holler if you need advice. I also suggest following the Indie writers Yahoo loop. Lots of tips there. The publishing world is changing so fast no one can keep up. We have more opportunities to publish now than ever.
    Whatever avenue you decide to take, I wish you the best of luck.
    I enjoyed your post, but I think the date you put in must be wrong (sorry the editor in me sneaks out sometimes).
    Anysways, all the best,
    Jo-Ann Carson
    who is thankful that you visited her blog.


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