Welcome to the next installment of Night Walk Wednesday, where I talk about the submission journey of a story from my upcoming flash fiction anthology Night Walk & Other Dark Paths. This week’s story is the comedy/horror mashup “Do Me a Favor.”
This section is going to get repetitive, but like most of my flash fiction pieces, “Do Me a Favor” started out in a one-hour writing exercise. I honestly don’t recall what the prompt was, but I do remember that when I finished, I knew I had a pretty good story on my hands. That’s somewhat rare. Most of the time, I’ll end up with a good start or even a pretty solid story that needs a little work. Once in a while, though, it all comes together, and I’ll have a complete and sellable piece with just a little polish. “Do Me a Favor” was one of those.
Howard has a problem. He’s pretty sure he’s a monster. Howard is also convinced his problem has only one drastic solution. Over beers, Howard asks his friend Toby to help him out. Yep, that’s it–a really simple setup. The story also begins with one of my favorite first lines. “Do Me a Favor” is definitely light-hearted, despite some fairly horrific undertones. I generally have good success with stories like this. (I should probably write more.)
“Do Me a Favor” is one of my few one-and-done stories. I wrote it, polished it, sent it to exactly one market, and they accepted it. This is definitely a time where I had my submission targeting dialed in. The Arcanist had purchased a story from me called “Cowtown” (also in Night Walk), which has a very similar tone, i.e., it’s also a little silly. I thought they might dig this one too. I was right. 🙂
Can’t get much better than those numbers. I finished writing this story on 6/3/18, so the total time between story genesis and story acceptance is a mere 34 days. I wish all my stories fared half that well. 🙂
If you enjoyed the submission journey of “Do Me a Favor”, consider checking out 39 other tiny tales of terror in Night Walk & Other Dark Paths. You can preorder the collection in print and eBook by clicking the cover below.