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  • A.C. Bauer

Writer's Update #2: 20-20 Vision

What I'm Writing:

Rejection sucks.

There, I said it. No, I’m not talking about the romantic kind of rejection, but the kind of rejection that comes with the writing game. Think about it. You spend hours crafting a story, torturously hunched over a keyboard, only to send it off in the hopes that someone else will like it enough to publish it. It’s hard putting yourself and your work out there in the first place. It sucks even more when that work gets rejected.

Now, unfortunately, I don’t have any acceptances to report. And it’s easy for me to be discouraged by that news, but I’m trying to look on the bright side of two recent rejections. And they both, oddly enough, involve the number 20.

Over the past month, I’ve been writing and submitting new horror stories. One of my latest stories is a mental health-themed micro-story called “You Should See Someone.” When it came to this story, I wrote it all down, scrapped half of it, rewrote it, and then sent it off for an open submission call. Days went by, and I wondered how my little story was doing in the great big world. Then, the fateful day came along: my poor little story got rejected.

But here’s the thing – with that rejection came news that it was in the top 20 of more than 200 stories considered, losing out due to limited spots available. Just knowing my story did that well meant the world to me. Sure, I was disappointed with the outcome of not being published but still. Top 20 is still pretty good.

I also entered the Killer Shorts Screenplay Contest. I’ve followed Killer Shorts on Twitter ever since it started and have been in love with the idea of writing a short horror screenplay. Well, this year (technically 2022), I actually did it. I wrote a whopping 2-page screenplay. My very first. And you know what? I submitted it. And you can probably guess by the context clues of this post that I didn’t advance in the competition. How well did I do though? Top 20% of screenplays. Out of 1,033. I’m going to take that as a win.

Because I might not have won or even advanced in the competition, I still put my work out there and tried. Top 20% is nothing to sneeze at either. I should be proud of placing that high with my first shot. More to the point though, I need to harness that positive energy and keep pushing forward. I can’t let the rejections slow me down. I have to keep going. I’ve made it this far after all.

Which reminds me of a song by my favorite band, Our Lady Peace. You can listen to the song below, but the main takeaway is this:

“I'm not ready to stop,

I'm not hanging it up.

I've come too far to turn back now.

Won’t turn back now.”

So, my advice to other writers out there: keep trying. Don’t turn back just because of a few rejections. Even though those rejection may suck, trust me, they’ll make the wins all that much sweeter.

What I’m Reading:

I’ve cycled through like five books since the last time I wrote one of these, but I’ll only talk about a few of them here.

I mentioned in my last update that I was wanting to read Stephen King’s The Dead Zone. Well, I’ve been there and done that. Besides just being a really well-written story, it also has some oddly evergreen takes on American politics that are still relevant today, which I appreciated. I also read Grady Hendrix’s Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires, which was another enjoyable read from a talented author. I liked the spin on the vampire he used as well as the cast of strong female characters.

Oh, I also read Love Me, Love Me Not: Dark Tales of Love, Lust, and Lunacy from Black Hare Press which features my original horror drabble “Clay and Ashes.” There were a lot of fun (and dark) drabbles in there. Valentine’s Day may be over, but there’s plenty of heartbreak to go around with this anthology.

What I’m Watching:

So, I finally got around to watching The Menu and The Pale Blue Eye, and I have some good news and some bad news.

I’ll start with the good news. The Menu is amazing. It’s been a long time since I fell in love with a movie, but The Menu deserves a lot of love. For the first 20 or so minutes, my heart beat with anticipation and there was this curious smile on my face as I tried to figure out what was going on. Safe to say, none of my guesses paid off. The twists and turns are original and fascinating and brilliant. The performances are top-notch. GO WATCH THIS FILM.

Now, onto the bad news. The Pale Blue Eye was pretty lackluster in my opinion. Despite the star-studded cast, this movie just didn’t do much for me. It was beautifully shot (except for one pivotal scene), but I just wasn’t invested in the mystery. I guess I thought it would be… more fun(?) like in a Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow kind of way, but it wasn’t. Honestly, I’d probably skip The Pale Blue Eye and just rewatch that Burton’s classic instead.

I watch too many movies to discuss them all here, but you can stay up-to-date with my movie watching by following me on Letterboxd.

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