My journey through the world of writing and everything that lies in between…

Posts tagged ‘short stories’

Organization Time

Hopping back onto the writing boat has been difficult. But I started today by organizing some of my files for my two main WIPs. I had gone a bit “save” crazy and had like 8 copies of one draft 😛 But it’s all better now!

Now to decide which story to focus on again. I’m thinking the fantasy one since it’s the one currently going through critique group. I still haven’t forgotten about Scarlet Daughter–the story that’s been part of me for like five years–but I need to stop switching back and forth and just focus on one or I’ll never have a finished draft of anything.

I also wanted to try and work on some of the short story ideas I had. But one step at a time. 🙂

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Short Story Markets

So, I’ve been trying to work at writing a few short stories lately, just to help exercise those writing muscles. But I wanted to look up places where I could actually submit these stories, and I’ve found a few promising ones.

Most are fantasy/sci-fi related, but I’ve just started looking. Here are some of the few promising ones:

Tor.com–I heard of this one from one of my crit group friends, who had submitted something to them. It’s for speculative fiction (fantasy, sci-fi, alternate history and anything that you think can fall into this). They accept up to 12k and will go over, but prefer that amount or slightly less. If accepted, they pay $.25 per word for the first 5K. They’re wait time though is 6-8 months and they do NOT want simultaneous submissions. So you’ll have to part with your short story baby and wait until you hear back from them 🙂 Considering you can make $2000 for a 10K word story if accepted, I can wait.

Glimmer Train–This is a rather well known literary magazine. They pay pretty well too but they have monthly themes you have to follow. For example, this month is “Family Matters” or Standard.  If you submit in the Standard category, there is no reading/submission fee but the amount they pay you is much less. Also, this is a literary magazine so you have to craft a “literary fiction” piece. I know I’d like to try my hand at this at some point.

Solander–This is the official magazine of the Historical Novel Society, so you know I had to post this 🙂 They pay $150 for accepted stories with a max of 5000 words. History has to play a major role in the story too and only two stories per year are published. Still, it’s something I’d like to try for since I’m such a history nut 😛

These are just a few I’ve found–I’m planning on buying the Writer’s Market for 2011 to look up more. Are there any good short story markets, magazines or contests you’d like to suggest?

Short Stories vs. Novels

I’ve been trying to develop a short story for the Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. It’s harder than I thought, since I’ve been working almost exclusively on writing a novel for well, at least two or three years now.

I’ve found as a writer that working on a short story and working on a novel exercises two different types of “writing muscles.” I know, that’s pretty obvious. Short stories have to be completed in a certain amount of words (generally under 4 or 5K) while novels are much, much longer.

 It’s become harder for me to switch back to short story mode. In a novel, you have to make the story more complex, while the short story has a limited amount of complexity that has to be resolved in a certain number of pages. I used to write short stories all the time. The stories had to be 750 words or less. I got used to learning how to pace the story and develop it in such a short amount of space.

I have to admit, I’m a bit out of practice 😛

I now know that if I want to be a successful writer, I need to make a habit of writing short stories. Not only will it help me fine tune my writing, but it’s also another way to get myself published and earn some credits before I start sending manuscripts out.  It’ll be challenging, since my mind has been in novel mode for so long, but I’m certain I can do it.

Do you write short stories at all? If not, why? Is there anything holding you back?

A Writer’s Pen Never Stops

I find that I’m constantly coming up with ideas–whether they’re detailed or just a little spark of inspiration–yet I never seem to explore them all like I should. And sometimes my “pen” stops, especially when I’m in one of those lazy “I-don’t-care-about-anything” phases.

Over the last few years, it seems all I’ve focused on were novel ideas. Howver, not so very long ago, I was an avid short story writer.

Ok, let me revise that–I was an avid flash fiction writer. What do I mean? Well, back a few years ago–sometime around December of 2005, I found a website called FaithWriters. They have a Weekly Writing Challenge; each week has a specific theme. The stories submitted can’t be longer than 750 words.

The first time I entered, my story actually placed in the Editor’s Choice–the top eight entries of the week–which meant it was published in their quarterly anthology. It was the only one that actually placed that high; however I nearly always placed in the top 50 (and they cap it at 200 entries per week).

I used to write almost faithfully for the challenge. Most of the stories came to me while sitting in class in college and I’d write part of it in my notebooks.  (If you’re curious, you can see some of what I’ve written here. ).It’s since waned significantly–I think I’ve written one story in the past year, and it wasn’t all that good. 😛

I wonder sometimes how I lost that spark for me to be able to write flash fiction.

But all is not lost. I’ve been focusing on trying to come up with short story ideas (in the middle of trying to figure out my novel…). I think writing those flash fiction pieces really helped me practice my ability to write–even if they weren’t all that great–and I think I’ve regressed a little.

I already have one idea–sort of–for a little “series” of short stories. It’s still going to have a Japan setting however–brace yourselves for this–it’s going to actually be a contemporary setting 😛 Me, write contemporary? Yeah…it’ll be a challenge. It’s the first contemporary piece I’ve tried to write in like, forever.

Anyway, I’d like for the stories to revolve around the stranger aspects of Japanese mythology (of which there are MANY) although I’m unsure as to how to tie that in to an actual story with a solid beginning, middle and end 🙂

I’ve also come up with the idea to write a brief story about the background of my Yuki-onna and how she developed into it. If anything, that will help me identify with her character and story more and perhaps I can make it decent enough to submit to short story contests. We’ll see. I still have to write the thing–it may not come out like I think.

If you’re a writer, have you ever tried your hand and writing short stories? What do you find difficult about it? What do you like about it as compared to writing a novel?

Also, this Monday (the 7th), will be my 200th blog post. In celebration, I’ll have a little giveaway, so come back and see how you can win 🙂

Writer’s Block: From Blogs to Novels

I’ve been desperately wanting to keep this blog updated at least three or four times a week and so far I’m probably only posting twice a week. That’s not a way to get readers! You’d think with all the blogs I read on writing and publishing, I’d be able to think of something. Especially for a hopeful author-to-be like myself.

It’s important to get that audience, and I do have a few faithful readers (thanks, guys–you know who you are :)). But I don’t want to lose readers because my blog is not updated frequently enough for them. In today’s fast paced world, attention spans are short, and if a blog doesn’t look like it’s being updated with new posts, people will stop visiting.  But how do you keep coming up with ideas? Perhaps I’m still quite a newbie at this writing thing as my brain seems to hardly be able to come up with anything of interest, whether that’s related to the blog or writing in general.

I know I shouldn’t be making excuses–I should just sit down and write–but I have to constantly battle the lazy slob within me. That’s really my biggest flaw I think–I don’t have the motivation or control to overcome the lazy side; I often let it take over. However, I also know that if I have a deadline imposed on me, I’m able to get my butt into gear and write (for example, with NaNo, I was able to reach the 50K goal before the deadline). But if it’s left up to me, the motivation isn’t there.

Sad, isn’t it?

I think it’s changed in a few years too. I used to be able to write all the time. Most of it had to do with passing the time in boring classes in high school and college; I also used to write short stories all the time for a weekly writing challenge at another website. But even that’s stopped.

Part of that may have to do with the novel mindset I’m in; I wasn’t actively working on a novel until late college and that’s when the short story ideas started to dry up. I guess when I’m in “novel mindset” it’s hard for me to come up with anything that’s not related to it. It’s certainly not a family trait; my younger sister is also a writer and she’s able to crank out the short stories like crazy while she’s working on a novel. Perhaps that’s just how my brain is wired.

Anyway, how do you keep the ideas coming? Are you like me, where you have a difficult time with the motivation factor? Or are you able to come up with new ideas all the time? It could be related to updating your blog or writing new stories or poems. I’m just curious  how others are able to do it! 🙂

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