2020 Writing Log, Part 36

– I posted the third chapter of The Demon King. I’ve really been enjoying writing this. I think I’d like to start talking about it and promoting it more on social media.

– I wrote the first half of Chapter 43 of Malice. I also edited Chapter 42 and posted it on FFN.

– One of my favorite monster artists, who also happens to be a big fan of Wind Waker Ganondorf, created an amazing illustration for an upcoming chapter of Malice. The artist is @BiteDiamond on Twitter, and you can see the full illustration on their Tumblr (here).

– I posted the fifth story of Night of The Final Day, a series of vignettes about Majora’s Mask. This one is about Shiro, the Clock Town soldier who is afraid that no one notices him and gives Link the Stone Mask after the player speaks to him in Ikana Canyon (or the Pirate Fortress in the 3DS version). I based this story on a popular fan theory and used a narrative trick I’ve never tried before, and I managed to genuinely spook myself out in the process.

– I wrote the first half of the story I’m submitting to the Ties of Time zine. It’s called “The Flower Thief,” and it’s about Ganondorf coming to Hyrule for the first time as a child.

– I applied to be a writer for two original horror-themed zines: Midnight Gathering and Carpe Noctem.

– I also applied to be an artist for both zines. I’m much more confident in my writing than I am in my visual art, but I think I’ve managed to develop a halfway-decent art portfolio. In any case, it doesn’t hurt to try, right?

– “Apartment Hunting,” my contribution to the anthology for the 2020 Philly Zine Fest, is now available for free along with the rest of the digital zine, which you can download (here). The first Philly Zine Fest was the first small press event I attended, and I was excited to be able to participate this year. “Apartment Hunting” is an original short story written specifically for this anthology that’s very loosely based on my experience of trying to secure an apartment in Philadelphia in March, which was right when people were starting to understand that the world was on the verge of changing drastically. It was a supremely uncanny experience, and some of the properties I saw were… interesting, let’s say. I probably won’t post the story here on this blog until next year, but you can see the illustration I created for it (here).

– Speaking of zines! I mailed out almost my entire print run of my Haunted Houses zine. Last week I mailed free copies to people who responded to my announcement posts on social media, and this week I received a huge batch of orders for the listing on Etsy. I only expected to mail out maybe thirty copies if I was lucky enough to get a strong response, but I ended up mailing out almost a hundred. That was wild, and I’m still trying to process how blown away and grateful I am.

– And finally! I had intended to release the Legend of Haiku zine I edited this weekend, but the process of mailing out so many copies of Haunted Houses, as well as the blitz of social media messages I exchanged with people in the process, occupied most of my free time during the past two weeks. Still, the project is gradually coming together! I finalized the standard page layout design and the design of a few other aspects of the project (like the cover and contributor info pages), and I only have a few more tasks that need to be completed.

I should say that I’m still submitting original fiction to magazines, of course, and I think I may have even made it out of a few slush piles recently. I still haven’t made the final cut, though – at least not yet. I feel like the landscape of publishing may be changing, though. The zine projects I’m currently applying for and participating in are extremely slick and professional, and they’re much more stylish than many traditional fiction magazines (at least in my admittedly inexpert opinion). Also, because they have dedicated social media editors, their reach is much larger than most people probably think of when they hear the word “zine.” In addition, these zines will usually invite artists with huge followings on social media to contribute, expanding their reach even further. On top of that, many of the artists who submit to the zine as contributors may have giant followings as well.

So, while I’m still trying to establish myself as a writer by submitting to fiction magazines, I don’t think I’m wasting my time or talent by applying to write for fandom zines and original zines while making zines of my own. If nothing else, it’s been an incredible experience to be able to work within a supportive community of other creative people without the pretension (and expense!) of a formal MFA program or writing workshop. I feel as though this is perhaps a secret that I should keep to myself, but I’ve had nothing but wonderful experiences with the new generation of the zine community.

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