Unpublished stories

Are all your stories - not only short stories - made with a publication in mind? Or are there stories which you wrote for certain friends or family members? Asked the other way round - are there stories you don’t want to publish for everyone?


I am a chicken and instead of making a complete failure of my job as a parent I tell my kids stories to start dialog.

My daughter is 15 and we are able to discuss “what guys are really after” in a way that is honest, sincere, and yet, not embarrassing. Since she serves as my editor for for a work that I may look to publish some day we start the dialog with little notes bout the story.

My son, who is 12, is so different from me emotionally and mentally that it seems impossible for me to “teach him the things a man needs to know”. Since it worked with the daughditor I tried it with him. Guess what, success.

Yes we live in the same house. Yes I know this seems ridiculous. Did you read my opening line?

With fiction, I never have a publication in mind, which may be why I’ve not sold much. With non-fiction – articles, commentary – I almost always have a publication in mind.

That is not to say I write in some kind of creative isolation: I always have an audience in mind, even if it’s only one. I read a lot to my six kids, and enjoyed occasionally sneaking a story of my own into the lot, to see if they’d notice. At first, I’ was disappointed if they recognized a story as mine; later, when they grew into adolescence, I was pleased when they recognized my voice, my ideas.

To paraphrase John McPhee – one of the most graceful essayists I know – “I sit down and write, ‘Dear Aunt Marie: I just came back from Alaska, and here’s what I saw… Love, John.’ Then I erase the first and last lines and send it to my editor.”


I’ve been working on a series of amazing adventure stories as gifts to my wife for about three years now. I’ve missed a deadline as it is. These stories are also my sandbox, where I go to play with different styles and concepts.

They’re probably too weird to be published… that first novel too… :mrgreen:

I don’t write with publication in mind; I write the kind of story I want to read: dark, gritty, with themes people like avoiding, but without the foul language and sensuality that tend to pepper those kinds of works.

I also like experimenting with styles. I have one short that’s mostly a monologue, and another that’s second person + monologue (which is actually on submission right now).

The weirdness means that I have a hard time figuring out where to submit my work. Well, the weirdness + thematic material + way I handle the thematic material. I don’t want to purposefully write without cursing to submit somewhere that doesn’t mind liberal use of the f-word, y’know?

That said, I do have one story that freaks me out, so I don’t want to publish it. It’s the closest I’ve come to writing horror.

@ Jaysen:
I didn’t really like the idea of reading out books or listen to them read out because I read very fast, so hearing it would be slowing my reading down and distracting me from imagining it.
But this morning, I wanted to start to read “I am Legend” because my brother was too lazy to leave his bed. Because I just started the book, he asked me to read it to him. Actually, reading out loud is pretty nice, maybe I’ll “publish” my story / stories as a podcast and spice it up with some background sounds. :slight_smile: