Which was a fine attitude for the protagonist in the short story to have (or not). It won’t, however, cut the mustard for a wannabe writer.
I baptized myself as a writer wannabe on 2 January 2008 when I typed the first lines of the first draft of The Ensign Locker. Since that time, I’ve completed five novels plus the short story collection. All those works were subjected to critiques and edits and courtesy reads and reviews.
I’ve submitted my books and other pieces to contests (I only do so if feedback is promised). Every judge, except one, who has judged my books has been female. The last four books, I’ve submitted to Kirkus, Clarion, and Blue Ink. These reviewers have all been female. At least 85% of the editors I’ve either hired myself or use through my publisher are female.
Point being, writer wannabes, of the other gender, better think about wimmin’.
When I was working on Sundown Town Duty Station, I took in a chapter to my critique group. It concerned a US Navy pilot who was the new guy in his squadron, and he was tired of being the new guy. The scene played out in an O Club bar in Yokosuka, Japan. When it was Lou’s turn to critique my five pages, she said, “I didn’t like this at all. It’s just another stupid men-drinking-in-a-bar story.” I treasure her words in my heart. I think of it as my story was a pie I baked for Lou. When she poked her fork through the crust, she found no apple, peach, berry, or cream filling. Nor any four and twenty blackbirds. Just crust. I won’t say Lou made a woman out of me, but she sure learned me a thing or two about reader perspective.
I add now an excerpt from the Clarion Review of War Stories.
Another highlight of the collection is “Voices,” the final short story in the book. “Voices have always swirled around—yours, theirs, his, hers, mine,” the narrator says. “It’s the first-person, plural possessive pronoun I have trouble hooking onto the word voice. Our Voice.” While the story deals with very concrete details of the narrator’s thirty-six years in the navy, this abstract exploration of “voice” captures the essence and ingenuity of War Stories in a lyrical, almost poetic way.
I love you, Clarion Reviewer. In a lyrical and poetic way.
And thanks; Lou.