Over the weekend I submitted my story The Cat Eater to a magazine. Besides my crit group wncmysterians.org and several close friends, the story hadn’t seen much daylight. I’ve been holding it back because I want to release an ebook of my short pieces. At the same time though, I want to get some magazine publication. Submission means waiting months for their positive/negative response, but that’s life, ain’t it?
I’m not sure where the idea for the story originally came from. Mostly, I think it came because I was stuck on my larger novel projects and was looking for a shorter story I could knock out quickly in the meantime. Did I say “quickly?” I must be kidding. Even the shortest project becomes an involved research quest and an attenuated writing effort of several weeks. It was the same with The Cat Eater.
The research started with a Google search for “cat recipes.” I was surprised when hundreds of hits showed up, and I was able to get some very cool stuff. Some of it was satirical but much of it was real, including the info on cultures around the world that relied at least partly on feline protein.
The title of the piece was a major problem. I went through The Cat Burglar, The Cat Bungler, and Cooking Cats.
In the end, I settled on The Cat Eater, a title that some people find so unsettling that they refuse to read the story. I feel bad about their refusal, because I think that the story shows some excellent writing and has twists and turns that make it thoroughly macabre. My critique group agrees. By the way, one of the refusing readers is in that group.
Another little known fact, is that my cat, The Half Montie (a fixed ex-male), hasn’t read it either. I don’t want to upset him.