Last Thursday, I had lunch with several good friends, one of whom was Lynn, a fellow writer. While we were chatting, she mentioned that an editor friend of hers had mentioned that she was sorely lacking in submissions for an anthology call and that if Lynn had any other pieces to submit, or writer friends who had pieces to submit, for her to please consider it.
It wasn't my usual thing, being hetero and contemporary with a military theme, but the length requirement was pretty short (less than 4500 words) and I'd just finished the first draft of the other WIP and needed something to redirect my brain a little so I can go back to it with a fresh eye. So I had her send me the link and I checked the requirements and let it stew in my brain overnight.
The next morning was the first day I'd had at the Day Job in a good while where I had any kind of time to breathe, so I sat down to write up a Flash Fic that Lynn had given me the prompts for a while back. And since I'd been mulling over this hetero/contemporary/military theme for a while, that was the direction my brain went when I threw Lynn's prompt words into the mix. I wrote. And I wrote. And I wrote.
When I looked up, I had over 800 words and I still wasn't at a stopping point. And I still hadn't posted the fic. So I backed up, made a few changes to tie it off at about 500 words for the flash post, and posted it. And then I kept writing. And writing. And writing.
By the time I went to bed that night, I'd dropped 3000 words and brought it to enough of a conclusion to call it a rough draft. I slept on it, and when I got up the next day, decided that the touch of melodrama I'd added was a little too much melodrama, and that a 3000 word story really didn't need that much drama. It was like putting six tablespoons of ginger into a pumpkin pie (long story, but trust me: way too much). As long as I was going to write against my usual type, I might as well go way against type and make it something light and fluffy and sweet.
So I backed out the melodrama and re-wrote that bit of the scene and by the time I was done, it was 3300 words and I had a beta draft.
I sent it to Lynn Saturday night for the "fastest possible" review, since her editor friend wanted stories fastnowplease. Lynn read it Saturday night and then again Sunday morning and sent me two bits of advice (one word-repetition that jumped out at her as jarring, and an anatomical impossibility, or at least unlikelihood). I fixed those, did one last quick read-through, then re-formatted everything the way the submission call wanted it (I can not write in a double-spaced document) and submitted it.
Three days from hearing about the submission call to submitting the story. Definitely the fastest turn-around I've ever done. It's definitely not my usual kind of story, being a contemporary and sorely lacking in angst, and part of me feels like its sweet and fluffy tone makes it too generic to make the cut for the anthology. But, well, it's probably not a submission call I would have answered if Lynn hadn't told me her editor friend was pressed, and it did do its (to me) primary job of clearing the previous story out of my head so I can come back to it fresh. At worst, Lynn's friend now has a light, fluffy piece to kick to the curb if some better stories come in. At best, it can serve as a sorbet course in the anthology, to put some distance between pieces with more emotional weight.
It would, I have to admit, be really, really cool to see my name in actual print.
I'll let y'all know if anything comes of it.