Thursday, October 28, 2010

Vicarious Bragging

Hello Everyone! I know it's been a long time since I posted here. I claim stress, insanity, and laziness as my excuses. :-) Be that as it may i know that they are horrible excuses and I am trying to correct them all and get some writing done here now and again.

I had to write today and brag for my friend. She's an amateur writer who has been going through a heck of a hard time lately, so much so that she's commented a few times questioning her ability as a writer.

Folks we all face it. Someone we care about says we don't have it in us or some editor tells us that our story didn't fit and we think its because we suck. Whatever it is we all face discouragement. There's only two ways to deal with it. Either accept it all as the black hole you think it is and give up, or say to heck with the naysayers and soldier on making your writing as awesome as it can be.

I'm proud of my friend. She took the second route. I hope my friendship has helped her in doing that but whether it did or not she pressed on, and guess what? She just got accepted to a magazine that is a perfect venue for her and will be released at an awesome convention getting her story directly into the hands of hundreds of people interested in just what her story is, Steampunk.

Her success has inspired me to renew my efforts in my personal writing and I hope it'll do the same for you. And hey, right now is a perfect time to push your writing talents since Nanowrimo starts next Monday.

If any of you have any news you want to share, anything good at all writing related or not, put it up in the comments and we'll raise a hoorah your way as well. :-)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

To be or not to... What was the question?

Hey Folks. Just like most writers, I am always trying to learn more about the craft and improve my writing. As a part of that I've subscribed to several newsletters from different authors.

Today I got one from Larry Brooks that I think EVERY writer should read. It's probably the most concise stating of these simple principles that I've ran across. So please head over and check out "The Most Important Question(s) in Storytelling and the Ensuing Two Questions That Allow You to Answer" by Larry Brooks. And get on his mailing list too. He's a bit of a pompous, arrogant bugger at times, but the guy knows his stuff.

And another one more geared at science fiction and fantasy writers out there is David Farland's Daily Kick in the Pants. Good stuff that only gets sent to your email.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Saturday Silly

Ok, so it's been a while since I put a good Saturday Silly up for you guys. Figured you may want a good chuckle. So this one comes from one of my favorite web comics, Looking For Group by Ryan Sohmer and Lar Desouza.

I seriously started laughing out loud at this one and kept at it for a good five minutes. It does what every speculative fiction writer wants to do. Takes something ordinary and mixes it with something extraordinary. In this case the lines are VERY well known so they count for ordinary. But the place and ending? Definately extraordinary.

So enjoy this page of Looking For Group. And if you like it, there is a deep archive with lots of laughs and beautiful artwork.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Oooooo Shiny.

So had a few things happen lately I wanted to share with you all.

First off I had an experience today I wanted to share with you all. In the whole process of submitting stories and trying to get published,we run into a lot of people. I mean seriously tons! And in all those interactions how do we come across? I know a few writers, thankfully few, that are so sure that their stuff is the ultimate creation of written language that they get angry at editors who reject their stuff. So much so that one or two have even sent angry letters to the editors. I've even run into this a little since helping with the acquisitions at Abandoned Towers.


I'm serious if you ever get the urge to do that, write the rant in a document and then hit delete. It will only kill your chances of being published if you actually send it.

On the other hand if you are professional and courteous you can seriously stand out in the crowd. Take for example the something very small that happened to me today. I sent something to a fairly prominent magazine back in January. Hadn't heard anything from them since. So yesterday I wrote a little email, as politely and professionally as I could, asking what they thought of it or if they even received it.

Apparently the Internet gremlins struck again and they never got it. Oh well. No big, it happens in this electronic age of ours. The only real drawback is that this mag is temporarily closed to submissions. Bit of a let down there. But I sent a quick thank you note and figured that was that.

Then imagine my surprise when I checked my email and got a nice response back.

Some of you are probably asking so what? You sent emails, they never got it, and now you can't submit there for a good while. Where is the good little shiny bit in it?

Right here. That editor now knows me. Even if she forgets my name from now till the next time I can submit, when she sees my name now her mind will have a positive feeling about me. It's small. It's subtle. But I can now begin building on that and maybe, just maybe, it will help me crack that market.

Shiny little things my friends. We have to cling to them. Because not only do they give us hope in the rough patches, but they are the way to break into the market in a more permanent way.

The second bit has nothing whatsoever to do with the first. :-) (insert shameless plug) Abandoned Towers Magazine, of which yours truly is an editor, has a new website! Its beautiful! If you haven't already you should really drop by and check it out. Great stories, cool articles, and a background found by yours truly. How could you go wrong? ;-) And the new print issue came out this month. Its good. Seriously worth the money and you're getting all new stories not found online.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ready, Set, Write!

OK so it is REALLY late right now, about 3am local time, And I've been at the computer for the last five hours writing a story. Why you may ask?

Well the short answer is I'm insane. ;-)

The longer answer is I have a deadline to meet and I really want a shot at getting into this magazine.

So this got me to thinking why on earth is it so important that I submit to this magazine? It's not like they're gonna know that I didn't submit. They aren't waiting for MY particular story. Heck they probably don't know I exist yet. So why am I staying up so late?

I'm addicted. And I don't want any twelve step program to cure it. I am totally in love with the written word and the thought that someone out there just might like my words enough to share them with others and pay me for the privilege to do so. And beyond that I'm having a major Steampunk phase in my life and this particular magazine is perfectly positioned to reach that exact market. So if I can get in then people I want to know about me will find me.

If any of you have something steampunky or want to pull an all nighter to write one check out Fissure Magazine. They have an upcoming Steampunk issue open to submissions till July 30th.

And now i'd like to know if any of you have ever found yourself doing something like this. Have any of you pulled an all nighter for something you love? writing, painting, singing, whatever. Let me know. I can't wait to hear your stories. :-)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

X Marks the Spot

You know when I started out I didn't understand exactly what a treasure hunt looking for a market can be. In my naivety I thought it was simple, write a brilliant story or book, send it out to the publisher of your choice and viola! A published manuscript would appear. :-) Ha I say, HA!

Any number of things can keep your brilliant piece from being accepted at one place or another. Maybe the imagery is too intense for that particular magazine, perhaps the brilliant plot twist you had was similar to one recently acquired by the magazine, maybe the thing just doesn't tickle the fancy of that particular editor that day. Heck maybe it just really isn't a good fit for that one magazine or anthology. Anything is possible.

But don't give up! For heavens sakes don't give up. For all the reasons that your story may not be accepted the same amount of things can get your piece accepted. then sometimes you look and look and just cant seem to find a market that fits your story. Good News! there are ALWAYS new markets coming around.

Case in point. I've wanted to write a story for a while now about someone with the same religious background as me in a purely speculative fiction setting. I haven't done it. Why? Because frankly the places I've seen that take speculative fiction generally frown on having religion as a core point in it. And the places that take the Religious stuff don't take speculative fiction. I thought it was a waste of my time to write it.

Then last night, looking at markets for a totally different story of mine, I ran across an anthology taking subs for EXACTLY that! I AM SO EXCITED!! I can't wait for another few hours to pass so I can tell a friend of mine who I know has been looking for something similar.

So don't give up. If something you have isn't getting accepted, keep polishing and keep looking. It's just a matter of time till you find that right market and get that acceptance letter. And share those markets my friends. If you've been looking for them then someone else has too. and if you dont already have these websites book marked I highly recomend doing it. Duotrope and Ralan's make market research so much easier.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pass on the vinegar, PLEASE!

I've said before how you have to be several different people to be a writer. Sensitive, determined, and rhino hide all in one. There's one person though that you don't ever want to be, EVER! and that's the pissy negative one.

It's beneficial to be humble. It sure helps a lot when those rejection slips come in. But realizing you can improve your work and obsessing over the thought that it just isn't going to ever hack it are two TOTALLY different things. There are a lot of people writing out there. Thousands of folks scribble down ideas and send them into editors hoping to have those ideas ensconced in the immortal realm of published material. and you know what? Its true that there are people out there who never will be published. But if you're serious about wanting it, and willing to work hard and to learn, then you most likely will get published.

And when you're sending out your stuff, praying for it to join that ascended realm, remember that the world of publishers and editors is a small one. taking a pissy attitude of "my work is going to be published my way and I'll break any rules I want to!" will make it ten times more likely that you wont be published. Read the writers guidelines my friends. Then FOLLOW the guidelines!

I know it can be frustrating to trim your story or expand it or only send it to one publisher at a time. Heck no one ever accused me of being a patient person. :-) But like it or not editors have to allocate their time and they aren't just looking at your work or my work. They have lots of other writers too. Like the old saying goes You'll catch more flys with honey than vinegar. So pass on the vinegar, please?