Sold My Short Old Guy! :-)
I am more of a novelist than a short story writer. The Old Guy is something I wrote about a year ago as part of my self-training for being a fulltime writer. I figured short stories would be a good way to learn the craft of writing by forcing me to tell a complete tale succinctly and get some experience with prose, dialog, format, and all the other things that go into creating a longer work of fiction. I wrote a few short stories based on the backstory for my novels. The Old Guy is not one of these.
One bit of dubious wisdom I often came across when I did my initial research about fiction writing was to write about what you know. Well, I was an early Twenty-first Century manager working in an office. I was not living in a late medieval society on a planet twenty-four light years away with the remnants of a defunct alien commercial enterprise buried under the surface, which is the setting for my novels. I didn’t know any middle age peasants or princes, and I certainly never met any ancient sentient androids (to the best of my knowledge). I only knew contemporary managers and office workers, people like myself.
The Old Guy was my one attempt to write what I knew about. It is a 4,600-word short story about a financial analyst at an investment firm. He is a dull fellow with no hobbies other than a passion for his work and watching the balance sheets grow. It’s not the money that attracts him but the beauty of the numbers. One rainy day, the firm’s owner offers him a unique opportunity. It might be considered a promotion, but it also comes with some life-changing side effects. Most of us would probably reject it immediately, but he finds it appealing and uniquely suited to his limited interests.
This story will appear in Strange Pulp, a pocket-sized, one-time, print only publication of stories reminiscent of those published in pulp science fiction magazines such as Amazing Stories, Wonder Stories, and Astounding Tales in the middle of the last century. This short story digest is to be released during the upcoming science fiction convention, OASIS 25, which runs May 25-27 in Orlando, Florida.
Big money it’s not, but the publisher is offering payment comparable to that provided by many smaller magazines. Fortunately, money is far from my primary motivation for writing. I consider the real benefit of getting this story in print to be the credit I can use for query letters if I decide to use a traditional publisher for my third book. I think it may also provide a little publicity for my novels, which I would appreciate immensely.