Archive for May, 2009

June’s Table of Contents

June 1 George Robertson Terry Untouchable
June2 Nicholas Ozment Tower of Baubles
June 3 Oonah V Joslin Blending In
June 4 Ed Kratz Need To Know
June 5 A P Charman Becoming
June 6 Joseph Helmreich Siren
June 7 Ryan P. Standley Away From Home
June 8 JY Saville Not Such a Cold Fish
June 9 Kevin Shamel A Bedtime Story for Breezy
June 10 Michael Mallory Vision of the World
June 11 Rumjhum Biswas Beneath the Shade of Coconut Trees
June 12 K.C. Shaw Orcs and Trolls
June 13 Magen Toole Stairways and Nightingales
June 14 Sonia Seudfeld Checkout
June 15 C.L. Holland A Primary Function
June 16 Bosley Gravel A Moment (on the Gallows)
June 17 Wayne Scheer When I Heard the Learn’d Marriage Counselor
June 18 Rhiannon Morgan Astrum Exuro
June 19 Shelley Spedowfski Mack’s Trouble
June 20 J. Thomas Arant Cloud Dancing
June 21 Amy Corbin Leaving
June 22 Stefan Bachmann I Am the Spider
June 23 Mark Allen Life Force
June 24 Angel Sharum Saying Goodbye
June 25 Samantha Henderson Chairs
June 26 Casey Curtis Secrets Expired
June 27 Milan Smith Memories
June 28 Patsy Collins Iceberg
June 29 Alf Rogers Life’s Little Pleasures
June 30 Nick Logan Fiddler’s Green

Here is a catalogue of posts from this past week.

How to Inspire the Muse by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley

Creative flashes are similar to flash fiction, both take you for a brief foray to another place. I like to use them to change my mindset and achieve a different focus for a short time. I read voraciously but I can sometimes find that reading-for-inspiration can lead to reading-as-work-avoidance and in extreme cases, reading-all-day-long.   More…

Writing Short by Michael Ehart

As always, the story is the thing. The best flash carries with it all the things that make any other story work, a beginning, middle and end, a protagonist who changes or makes their surrounding change in a meaningful way, strong dialog, vivid description, and some sort of payoff for the reader. It can be difficult to shoe-horn all of these elements into such a small word-count, but good flash fiction stories generally do.  More…

Getting Published by DJ Barber

There is no race. Take your time. Make it neat. Follow the Guidelines. Write something every day. Join and participate in a writing group. Get feedback. Give feedback. Read books of genres you write. Try to write in some genre you haven’t before—you might surprise yourself. And don’t be shy—write what you love, hone it, perfect it. And when it’s ready, submit it!!!  More…

Excuses, Excuses by Erin Kinch

Writing as a hobby isn’t a bad thing. Tons of people do it. But I want something more. And if I want that something more, then I have to banish the excuse monster and his whispers about laundry, returning phone calls, and surfing the Internet, and get writing.

 

Of course, even still, the odds are against me. There are way more aspiring authors/novelists out there than those that get published every year. But, to quote one of my favorite movies, “Your odds go up when you file an application.”  More…

Thoughts on Dialogue-Only Flash Fiction by Jordan Lapp

The biggest reason for rejection? Both voices sound the same. With dialogue-only stories, you’re basically saying as a writer that you’re so good at writing dialogue that you don’t need all that mundane stuff like description, setting, and plot. You can do it all in the spoken word. Well, if you can’t even make two character sound different from each other, you’re in trouble.  More…

 

 

Jordan LappAT EVERY DAY FICTION, we get a lot of “Dialogue-only” stories. These are stories with zero description, just (at minimum) two characters talking to each other.

I can count on one hand how many of them we’ve ever accepted (and have fingers to spare).

The biggest reason for rejection? Both voices sound the same. With dialogue-only stories, you’re basically saying as a writer that you’re so good at writing dialogue that you don’t need all that mundane stuff like description, setting, and plot. You can do it all in the spoken word. Well, if you can’t even make two character sound different from each other, you’re in trouble. As an editor, I should be able to point to a random line of dialogue and say, “Oh, that’s character A speaking.”  I can tell because of his/her (way of speaking/accent/personality/etc).

Other good reasons for rejection are:

  • You’ve inserted a random line of description at the end. If you have description at all, you need it everywhere. Otherwise it just looks like you tried to write a dialogue only story and failed.
  • More than two characters. Two is hard enough. I’ve never seen a successful dialogue only story with three characters. The reader just gets confused.
  • Info dumps. Just because it’s in dialogue, doesn’t mean it’s acceptable.
  • The story sucks. A “clever” format like dialogue-only can’t save this.

Dialogue-only pieces make for great exercises, but poor stories. Disagree? Prove me wrong. And then submit that proof to EDF’s slush pile.

 

Jordan Lapp is the managing editor of Every Day Fiction.  He is a member of both the Codex and Spec 24 writing groups. He recently won first place in the prestigious Writers of the Future contest. In 2007, he decided to combine his love of blogging with his passion for fiction and became a founding member of Every Day Fiction.  He blogs at http://www.jordanlapp.com/withoutreallytrying/. 

Erin M. KinchLATELY, I’VE BEEN FIGHTING THE EXCUSE MONSTER— that insidious little voice inside my head that whispers excuses for not writing. I’m too tired. I’m too busy. I have no ideas. The list goes on and on.

 

Now, there is a difference between a reason and an excuse. Sometimes, you really do have writer’s block or you just worked a ton of overtime and are brain-fried. But, other times, you’re just giving into the excuse monster.

 

I guess it’s the same for any aspect of your life. You have to put time into something to get something out of it or to get to the next level. If I don’t spend time writing stories and honing my craft, I’m won’t have stories to submit or ever improve in my craft. Both of those mean that this writing thing is never going to be any more than a hobby for me.

 

Writing as a hobby isn’t a bad thing. Tons of people do it. But I want something more. And if I want that something more, then I have to banish the excuse monster and his whispers about laundry, returning phone calls, and surfing the Internet, and get writing.

 

Of course, even still, the odds are against me. There are way more aspiring authors/novelists out there than those that get published every year. But, to quote one of my favorite movies, “Your odds go up when you file an application.”

 

What about you guys? Career or hobby? What do you think? And what do you think will help you achieve your goal?

 

 

Erin M. Kinch lives and writes in Fort Worth, Texas. Visit her blog, Living the Fictional Dream at www.erinmkinch.com for links to her published stories and more of her musings on writing. A version of this post was originally posted on her blog on 7/10/08.

 

 

djuse1YOU WRITE. You have some great ideas for a story, a review, a play, perhaps, even a novel. You have reams of scribbled ideas, short stories, a flash or two. But you want and dream of the satisfaction of getting published, not just a writer, but the right to now call yourself a published author.

Author. Has a nice ring to it, huh? And you don’t have to be famous to write the title of your published story in italics. And when someone asks: “Oh. Anything I’ve heard of?” You don’t have to sheepishly answer that your unpublished. You can proudly tell them where and when. (and hopefully, they’ll go look!)

Writers and actors have much in common. Ask one what they do and you’ll get a list of credits—Jack Nicholson and Stephen King obvious exceptions. But don’t think professors, nurses, firefighters, and sales clerks don’t brag about their achievements too!

But there is a void between the published and unpublished. Once there it might well be easier to attain that next publication. And it is frustrating when an editor requests you put any credits you might have in your cover letter and your stuck admitting you’re unpublished. Not that it matters to most editors, they’ll accept or reject your submission on its own merits. But I know what it feels like to write at some point in that cover letter, “I’m unpublished.” It’s like the job interview where you must admit you have no actual experience in the position for which you are applying.

Actors don’t just show up in Hollywood and land a leading role in the latest blockbuster. Neither should a writer expect to have Stephen King’s Carrie experience. So what to do?

Well, you’ve joined that reading group, have sought advice from them and online at sites such as Flash Fiction Chronicles and others. You’ve made a pact with yourself to hone your skills and write every day. Your group likes what you write. (and hopefully your group isn’t polite and genteel, but brutally honest) Then the next step, intimidating as it might be, is to send that manuscript to a market.

But what market?

If you’re minimally computer literate there are sites which separate the wheat from the chaff for you. Two I would recommend are: Duotrope’s Digest and Ralan’s Webstravaganza.

Read everything on each site they have to offer before you submit a manuscript anywhere. Their advice and instructions on how to navigate their sites will save you time and rejections from markets.

Now comes something very important. Send your story to an appropriate market!
If you send your space opera, no matter how great it is, to a market that specializes in horror, your not only going to get a rejection letter, the editor is going to know you never read their submission guidelines (which many markets direct you to before you submit—and many are very picky about writers who do not bother to read their guidelines) So when you send that nice little horror story in the future, that same editor upon seeing who’s submitting might just delete it unread. Things like that can and do happen. It’s best to keep editors happy, just like traffic court judges! Little things mean a lot. Read The Guidelines!!!

If you still live in an uncomputerized state and write on an old IBM Selectric or some such, fear not. For there is a journal called Writer’s Digest which produces lists of every market imaginable in a large book titled, Writers Markets. And you don’t have to go to Barnes & Noble and plunk down $50. to get it. Just go to your local library, it’s probably right there collecting dust.

Don’t worry if your are computer-less! Many markets, especially professional-rate-paying markets, want hard-copies via Snail-Mail—no e-mails at all! And there are still numerous small and local journals and weekly newspapers just dying to have some local writer send a story be it fiction, non-fiction, or poetry. But you must look for these, they may not be laying about on every newsstand.

And one other point: Your manuscript must appear professional. Many markets, right in their guidelines, will tell you specifically how they want submissions formatted—follow what they suggest exactly—you are, after all, competing with other writers. Never forget that! You might have a nice little fantasy that you’ve sent to the perfect market, but your manuscript is single-spaced, no space between paragraphs, typed in a small font, and, well, not very neat in appearance.

It will generally take much more memory space, or paper and postage, to format your manuscript as the editors want. But like that traffic court judge, they look at these things all day long! If you care about what you write—make your manuscript look like you do. The editor will pick up on that, appreciate it, in fact. Like many things, it’s easy for the editor to just quit reading a sloppy manuscript and send it to the oblivion of the rejection pile—so make it neat, clear, and follow those writer’s guidelines!!!

I began writing seriously a few years ago. The Rejection-Connection, that was me! And I deserved all the rejections, too! But I wrote every day, worked on my voice and flow. Tinkered with dialogue and genre. Started using prompts. Joined a writing group. And finally have had at least a modicum of success.

That kind ear of your spouse, or sister, or neighbor is not the best one to read to. Get in a group. They’re not emotionally involved, meaning: They’ll most likely speak the truth. If what you wrote stinks, they’ll tell you so.

And lastly, don’t get bottled up by genre. You may do one thing well, but bear in mind the more differing types of writing you do, the more and more markets open up for you—remember that competing with others aspect I mentioned.

There is no race. Take your time. Make it neat. Follow the Guidelines. Write something every day. Join and participate in a writing group. Get feedback. Give feedback. Read books of genres you write. Try to write in some genre you haven’t before—you might surprise yourself. And don’t be shy—write what you love, hone it, perfect it. And when it’s ready, submit it!!!

 

DJ Barber writes stories, flash, poems, and novels. He was born in the northeast and lives in the northwest. When not writing he has a wife and two dogs that keep him busy.  He has been published online at Every Day Fiction, Moon Drenched Fables, Tales From the Moonlit Path, Big Pulp, Every Day Poets, and Everyday Weirdness.

In print, DJ has been published by Darker Intentions Press, Odyssey Magazine, has a short story in the anthology, Damned in Dixie, and has a flash in the Best of Every Day Fiction 2008.

DJ would like to remind everyone that even a broken clock is right twice a day.  DJ’s website is located at http://canyonsofgray.blogspot.com.