Clowns and Pizza for Breakfast
I was looking for an Oswego student that was published and I was thinking "Wow, this might be a little hard" but I got many people shooting their hands up saying they'd love to. I got the chance to speak with Collin Henderson via email about his publishing perspectives. Henderson was a part of Literary Citizenship in 2015 and he was the President of WOF, Writer's Open Forum.
When I asked him what the piece was that got published, he mentioned it was horror. I'm a horror junkie and I was ecstatic to see what it was:
"It's a horror- crime- comedy short story called That Clown Incident. It follows a cop in a haunted town in the fifty first state of America that everyone forgets about as he shows the new guy around town and they go to a gas station to get pizza for breakfast".
That alone made me want to discover more about how this interesting piece came about to be published. As a creative writing major, and the campus being so massive, I never run into anyone who dabbles in screenwriting, especially horror. So, as a result, I had to ask him about how he felt sending this piece in. He said
"I'd actually sent it out to a few other publications, primarily horror ones that were lesser known, and none of them took it. I wound up sending the story in to the GLR twice before they published it".
Sending out pieces to magazines, journals, and publishers can be very tedious and repetitive. There isn't supposed to be a feeling of competition but many writers send in a plethora of pieces. Sadly, not everyone can get in. I wanted to dig deeper and see if Henderson thought how his relationships were with these publications:
"For this publication [GLR], I felt there was a solid sense of community. They always replied to any submissions you may have sent in, and they notified you regardless of whether or not you made it into that semester's issue. I also felt that the magazine had good variety and published a wide variety of pieces- right next to my crass and absurd story about a run in with a nudist clown with a gun were nice art projects, poetry, and sad nonfiction essays. I'd say the sense of community for the magazine was very strong considering the wide variety of content they took in".
Lastly, I wanted some advice from Henderson. Especially since he repeatedly submitted his eclectic screenplay, what made him keep going?
"Just be persistent. Just because you're not accepted doesn't mean your work isn't good. It doesn't mean you're not a worthwhile writer. It just means you need to try again. According to Stephen King, in his autobiography On Writing, he was rejected thousands of times before publishing a single short story. And while most of us will never reach the heights of success of King, it's still encouraging to think of how the most successful writer in the business had to put up with rejection time and time again. So just keep writing and trying. Good things will come"
I want to thank Collin Henderson for allowing me to interview him. Hopefully, one day his manuscript will land in the right hands and see it on the big screen.