Probably the thing that drives me the most insane about shitty writing, is bad exposition. I see it everywhere, particularly in films nowadays. You know the drill: “But look…I’m your father, don’t you remember having that phone conversation with me two months ago when we decided you should come live with me instead of your mother?” THAT’s horrible exposition, in my opinion.
In any case, I bring this up for a reason. One of my short pieces called “The Rubber Penguin” has been picked up by Necessary Fiction to be published in the near future. It’s a pretty important story, I think, politically (and the editors thought so, as well). But in my usual attempts to bury the details (the ol’ “Iceberg Writing Theory” Hemingway so successfully pioneered), I think originally I had left out a huge chunk of the backstory, which I was afraid a lot of people wouldn’t quite get. In particular, the ending paragraph of the piece really throws one for a loop without some previous details. I confess to originally not being able to resolve that problem without exposition (which, if you haven’t figured out I sort of hate; even good exposition really), despite days of trying to sort it all out. I confess to finally being lazy (frustrated?) and letting the story go as was. But the editors at Necessary Fiction caught me.
And so, for the past two days I’ve been working on how to insert exposition in the story, and give it context, so that the last ‘graph would make sense. I think I may…MAY have resolved this problem without sounding like the movie line above. We’ll see…the edited version is now in their hands and I’m awaiting a decision.
I shopped the story around to a handful of ‘zines, but Necessary Fiction gobbled it up in less than 3 days. I always hate withdrawing pieces from other publications (I simultaneously submit, like many writers); I feel…guilty somehow that I’ve wasted editors’ time…although most (if not all) pieces I’ve so far withdrawn were not listed as “In-Progress” on Submishmash. I like to believe that at the time of withdrawal no editor had wasted her/his time reading it. Ok, shouldn’t say wasted…maybe invested.
Some of you may have read “The Rubber Penguin” on this site a year ago. It was on briefly, before I took it off and started shopping the story around, with some additions/edits. I look forward to Necessary Fiction publishing it; I’m so happy to see certain subject matters being taken on by American independent lit ‘zines.