A Short Story's Journey - Publication Tales - Run
Most people know by now that I studied Greek and Roman History in university and that I love horror. Naturally, the myth of Actaeon and Artemis appeals to me. A young man, Actaeon, is exploring the woods when he stumbles upon Artemis bathing with her nymphs. Mesmerized by the beauty of the naked goddess, he cannot look away. Artemis catches him and as punishment, she turns him into a stag. He flees to his home, but his own dogs, not recognizing him, tear him limb from limb. In some versions he is punished for boasting that he is a better hunter than Artemis, but the end result is the same. I love this story for its ruthless, brutal inevitability.
The idea behind "Run" came to me completely separate of Artemis/Actaeon. The original version was a young woman is invited camping by her boyfriend and his friends only to find out they are werewolves looking to recruit her. She is faced with a difficult choice whether to save herself or another. I wrote it down and then it sat, unfinished for years.
In 2020, when I began submitting short stories and actively pursuing writing, there was a call for Mythology stories. The myth of Actaeon was on my mind and I decided to give it a go. I remembered my pseudo-werewolf story, "Run" and realized it already had the elements of Actaeon in it, it just needed some work. Several rewrites later, I sent it off for publication.
But, with that rejection came a note about how compelling my writing was and that it was good, just not the right fit for that publication. They even returned with a suggestion that I submit it elsewhere, but no promises. That anthology was in the end also not the right fit, but I was encouraged that there was something to this story. I took it through another set of rewrites and sent it out again.
Eventually, after six total rejections, including another "almost", my little story found a home with Brigids Gate Publishing and I couldn't be prouder. This little story is one of my favourites that I've written. I'm proud of how well I developed my two characters and the tension in my chase scene. It's taught me a lot about adaptation and writing thrilling scenes. I've been inspired to write a thriller novella (still in the drafting stage) by this story. It's completely unrelated plot-wise, but I think the writing style will end up similar.
I share these details with you because I am as interested in the process and development of fiction as I am in the actual stories themselves. I think it's also important sometimes to not only talk about our successes, but of the challenges along the way.
Anyway, if you're curious how this story turned out, pick up a copy of Musings of the Muses. And even if you end up not enjoying it, there are 64 other stories in there.
Thanks for reading!