does not describe me fully
it is where to start

Sunday, May 22, 2011

New Short Story - "Coins Dropping"

Cacti tendrils brim over the clay pots below the peeling Rita’s Resale Shoppe sign. With her mitten, Ana picks at the hoarfrost at the window’s edge, trying to read the movie poster stuck inside the window. She has uncovered “Sandra Dee, Romanoff and” when Mami pulls her to the shop door.

For the rest of the story, please continue reading at Writes for All literary review.


Back Story to "Coins Dropping"

Years ago, this story was accepted by another literary review, but I withdrew it before publication. The Editor wanted to change the title, but I felt strongly that the title was at the heart of the story. Usually, I am very responsive to editorial suggestions. They result in an improved story and, furthermore, accepting editorial change is a normal part of the publishing process. This has been the only time I have dug in my heels and refused to accept an Editor's suggestions.

In the years since, I have had ample opportunity to reflect on my decision to withdraw the story and to second guess my being so adamant about not changing the title. It was only a title, for goodness sake! My second guessing only became more insistent as the story did not find a home; in part, I was told, because it was a period piece. Thankfully, Writes for All recognized that "'Coins Dropping' takes us back in time while addressing stereotypes still relevant today."


A Cuban In London said...

I commend you on your decision not to change the title. One of the keys, in my opinion, in writing, is that you must have codes for a reader to decipher. As I read on, I couldn't quite connect the idea of 'coins dropping' with Ana's inner world. But, then, of course, towards the end, it finally clicked. Provided you have a way of solving the mystery you posed to the reader, titles like yours can stay as long as they want to.

Something else besides the fact that I loved the story: have you thought of asking an illustrator to provide images for your tale? I couldn't help creating my own comic-like characters. Only that instead of grotesque caricatures, these were fully-fleshed personages whose resemblance to actual humans was uncanny. Have you seen 'Chico and Rita' yet? Strongly recommend it, especially for the animation and music. I will be writing a review soon.

Judith, I love, love your short stories. They have so many dimensions and this one was just as superb. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Judith Mercado said...

Thank you, Cuban, for your high praise.

As for the title, my concept of this story was that the three adults had all been placed in a resale shop because they all lacked coin and yet that did not stop at least two of the adults from disaparaging the others. The black man only reacts silently, which would have been typical of the time, but his actions betrayed his acute awareness that he was not welcomed in that resale shop.

That's an intriguing comment you made about illustrating the story. The characters were very vivid in my mind, and I hope I conveyed that sense to the reader. Thanks as always for your insightful comments.

Judy Croome said...

Judith, for what its worth, I think you did the right thing sticking to the title if you felt so strongly about it. A friend of mine worked on a historical romance for years, and she was so so close to being accepted for publication, but the editor insisted she change something she (the author)felt was critical to the story. The author refused, the editor refused. And, over a year later, my friend had her story picked up by a MAJOR romance publisher, who let her keep that small but pivotal scene. So the moral of the story is: know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em! Good for you for sticking to your principles!

Off to read your short now; like Cuban, I love them!
Judy, South Africa

Judy Croome said...

Yes, very interesting dimension about prejudice-how often, victims of prejudice can't see when they're inflicting the same wound on others.

Well written story - I'm hungry enough to go and get myself a tomato sandwich (no meat for me, thanks!
Judy, South Africa

Judith Mercado said...

Judy, I hope the tomato sandwich was good. Certainly my character Ana would gladly have settled for a tomato sandwich with no meat. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment about the story.

Nevine said...

Judy, I completely enjoyed this story! The characters were so real... so alive... so vibrant. The setting was no different. You truly master the recreation of "the moment" as if it is real, and you bring it to y our readers.

I think you did the right thing to stick to your guns on the title of the story. I know that sometimes, as writers, we have to be open to the suggestions of editors, but when this leaves our writing spiritless, then it's not fair to us or to our writing to go with the change. I love the title and think it's perfect for your lovely story, which I enjoyed entirely!

Thank you for sharing, and keep on writing!


Judith Mercado said...

Nevine, I am so glad the story brought you enjoyment. As for the title, one of the reasons I dug in my heels is because I feared that if that early editor could miss the point about the title, I did not trust him with what he might do to the rest of the story. Or maybe because of his critique, I revised the story so that the title made more sense. I don't know. It was so long ago. Thankfully, the story got picked up eventually. Thanks for taking the time to read my story and comment about it.