Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Finding Inspiration

One of the things often asked of writers is where they get their ideas. And the answers are as varied as the authors.

Not long ago I was chatting with another writer who is a truck driver. Together she and her husband take turns driving across the country. She prefers to drive at night. Says she thinks better. One of the things she told was about watching the sunrise in Colorado. How cool would that be:-)

Another writer mentioned she gets a lot of her ideas from things her kids say. I have to agree. My kids are a wonderful source of ideas. They look at things so different than I do at times. That freshness keeps things interesting.

Just by looking around us, we can find so many ideas. An old oak in my front yard became a "hanging tree" and a ghost/western/mystery was born. A rainy day and a car accident became the start of a romance story I'm working on. And, a Discovery Channel show on how carousel horses are made gave me the idea for a smuggling mystery.

Just by asking who, what, where, when, why and how we can come up with more ideas than we'd ever have time to write. Plus, it's such fun to brainstorm ideas. Even if you never use them.

So for today, share with us your favorite place/way to find inspiration?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I'm a list maker. No way around it. And most of the time, most of the things get done. Usually the ones that are most important. Or at least the ones with deadlines looming. I'm getting better about meeting deadlines. In this business, you have to be.

However there was a time when my favorite thing about deadlines was the "whooshing" sound they make rushing by.

I've done the goal setting thing, the resolution thing, the do it and reward yourself thing and failed at all of them. I want to share what works for me. It's a little thing called DUH!

D - Do it first or as close as humanly possible.

U - Understand it may be inconvenient and/or difficult and do it anyway.

H- Hurray, celebrate! You did it!

Here's why it works for me. There isn't much worse than going to bed with things that needed to be done still needing to be done. The guilt robs me of sleep and I lay there berating myself for not getting things done. By applying "D", I don't have to dread doing it or the results of not doing it.

The "U" also reminds me it may not be fun. For example, exercise. Not fun but definitely got to be done.

My favorite is the "H". We should celebrate our accomplishments everyday. No matter how small they are.

I'd love to take credit for this little system but just can't. I found it on Margie Lawson's website several years ago.  I didn't see it there the last time I looked but  here's the link.

Now, apply as needed:--)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Market Monday

Zombidays - Here's an anthology for all you zombie lovers.  This one gives you plenty of words to play with (5-8k) but your story must be holiday themed.  There is a list of holidays given for you to choose from.  No deadline for submissions yet but don't wait too long.

Whortleberry Press has two anthologies taking submissions now.  One for Halloween and one for Christmas.  Be sure to check out their guidelines and deadlines.  These also have themes so be aware of that.

Short Story America - all genres and from 500 to 12k - I think this market might be very literary.

Port Iris - open to most genres and up to 5k.  You'll have to scroll down a bit on the page to find the guidelines.  Or at least I did...

Kasma - mostly science fiction but doesn't limit themselves.  If they like it, they'll publish it. 

Now, go submit something!

Friday, March 26, 2010

It's Friday!

Ever have one of those days when you really just want to crawl back in bed and stay there until the next day?  Well, it's been like that here for a little over a week now.  What I really want to do is hibernate until about May but that won't be happening.  So, here's to Friday and flash fiction.

365tomorrows - No more than 500 words - Science fiction in all it's many forms - no pay

Bards & Sages Quarterly - Up to 2,000 words - Spec. fic.

Bayou Magazine - Flash fiction and shorts up to 7,500 words - literary - no email subs.

Defenestration - Humor in any genre. Be sure to check their guidelines for submission periods.

On Spec - Flash fiction up to 1,000 works and shorts up to 6,000 - Spec. fic.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Link Salad

Here's a site for those of you who have a day job and need to take an occasional break.  Right now, there are three games that won't get you noticed by the boss. 

Need a banner for your website?  Check out BannerFans

And for all you writers out there...  This Business of Writing.  This is a nice blog I found yesterday.  I haven't read it all but what I have, I really like.

Worried about your story opening?  Read this great advice.

Lastly,  exposition.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The eyes have it...

The other day I was reading something, I forget what now but one of the characters "rolled her eyes" at another character.  While I realize this is a standard thing, I still get the image of someone taking their eyes out and rolling them across the floor.  And, makes me wonder if the other character caught them and gave 'em back.:-)  Remember the pirate with the wooden eye in the movies? His went rolling several times.

Or their eyes met.  Did they greet each other and shake little eye hands?    Or he held her eyes.  Ewwww...

Same thing with throwing body parts.  For example, Jane threw her hand into the air.  Again, I know what the author means but did she catch it when it came back down and how did she get it off in the first place?

Yes, these are kinda petty and probably more my own personal issues but we're writers.  We should be able to say things better.

What do you think?  Is it alright for someone to roll their eyes and so forth?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Flash Fiction Friday

Flash fiction is generally considered to be under 1,000 words though some markets have their own limits on what they consider. Some flash fiction has exact word counts such as 55 Fiction (55 words), 69ers (69 words), and Drabble (100 words). And while flash fiction still has the same elements of a longer story, (protagonist, conflict, complications, resolution) many times these are implied.

I love writing flash fiction.  I love the challenge of putting a whole story together with so few words.  Writing flash fiction is a great way to learn to make every sentence, every word count.

And so, today I challenge you to write a flash fiction story.

Here's some markets just for flash fiction and a great place to read it too.

Flash Fiction Online - 500 - 1,000 words.

Vestal Review - No more than 500 words.

FlashQuake - No more than 1,000 words.

SmokeLong Quarterly - No more than 1,000 words.

Now, go write a really short story. :-)

Thursday, March 18, 2010


If you plan to submit to most NY publishers, you need an agent.  Unless you meet an editor at a conference and they ask you to send them something of course. 

So, in order to give your work the best chance of acceptance you must do your research.  You must study each agent's guidelines to determine if you should be submitting to them along with just what they want to get from you.

Not sure where to find an agent?  Try AgentQuery.  It's the largest internet database of agents so you have plenty to choose from.

Here's some good agent blogs to start with.

Janet Reid

Nathan Bransford

Jennifer Jackson

Rachelle Gardner

Kristin Nelson

Jessica Faust & Kim Lionetti

Order listed has no significance:-)  And if you haven't checked out Miss Snark, you need to.  The blog isn't active any longer but the archives are stuffed full of information.

And don't forget to check each potential agent out with AAR. (Association of Author's Representatives.)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It's your career...

You are responsible for the success of your writing career. 
And you are responsible for it 100% of the time.
Christina Katz

The first time I read this, it hit hard.   My lack of publishing success was my fault.  I wasn't studying my craft like I should have been.  I wasn't writing like I should have been and I definitely wasn't sending out like I should have been.

It was easier to sit and complain about how hard it was to break in to the "good" markets, how difficult it was to figure out what publishers wanted and that the editors just didn't "get" what I was writing.

After sulking a bit, I realized I could change my lack of success.  I could steer my writing career in a new, better direction.

Sure, there are some things I can't control such as whether an agent dislikes my work. But I can control how many agents get the chance to see it.  I can do the research needed to make sure I'm targeting agents who do like things similar to mine.  I control how polished my work is when I send it to that agent, again giving it the best chance of acceptance.

I can't control whether an editor will want my piece for their magazine.  But again, I can control the research needed to ensure I target the places with the best chance of acceptance.

I can't control rejection letters but I can control how I react to them.

So, to remind myself that I'm in charge, I tweaked the quote and made it mine. Then, played with it a bit so it looks something like a little tree. (see below) I printed it out, posted it on my bulletin board.  I even made a few bookmarks out of it.  I've taken responsibility for my writing career. 

Today, I want to encourage each of you to take control of your writing career.  Get rid of whatever things are holding you back.  Sure, it's work but well worth it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Writing Conferences

First, I confess.  I love attending writing conferences.  Big ones, little ones, not so big ones.  Doesn't matter, I love 'em all.  Writing conferences combine two of my favorite things - chatting with writers and learning more about writing.  They're like mini vacations except when I get home, I want to write and put all that new knowledge to use.

Even if you are just starting out, I encourage you to find a nearby writer's conference and attend.  While you may not be ready to pitch to an agent or editor, you'll learn a lot and meet some great writers. 

Here's a few tips to make your conference experience the best it can be.

Know what you want to get from attending.  Do you want to pitch your book, attend the workshops or just network?

Study the scheduled classes/workshops and decide which you most want to attend.  This saves you from having to decide at the last minute between two workshops.

Pitching to an agent or editor?  Then be sure to research that person and find out what they are looking for.  Pitching a horror novel to a romance agent is waste of time.

Listen as much as possible.  But don't take everything as fact. 

Don't sit on the sidelines.   Take part in things.  Chat with the speakers and other authors.  If you see someone that looks lost, befriend them and have fun together.

Collect business cards and make notes of important information on the backside for later.

To find a conference near you, check out Shaw Guides.  You can also google your state with the words writing conferences.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Market Monday

Since Saturday's post was mostly contests, I've decided to make today "Market Monday."   Enjoy.

Untied Shoelaces of the Mind - this is relatively new market but they do pay.  They publish most genres so check them out.
Tower of Light - another fairly new online ezine.  They like fantasy and pay a small amount. 

Magic Mountain - an anthology of "Spellbinding Tales of Appalachia." 

Sword & Sorceress -  Another anthology - Stories should be the type generally referred to as "sword and sorcery" and must have a strong female protagonist whom the reader will care about.

Now, the question of the day... 

What genres would you like to see markets for?  If you let me know, I'll see what I can come up with.:-)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Bonus Saturday - Contests

Grant for writers 50 and older - sponsored by the Speculatice Literature Foundation with a application deadline of March 31 so apply now.  This is an annual event so remember for next year.


Win a Publishing Contract....CRR has some “breaking news” for all aspiring authors, so I’m letting you all know before the word gets “out there” officially. CRR Publishing is officially launching on 7th April 2010. It’s something we’ve been working towards for a long time, and we’re hugely excited. Our First Flight Contest, which we have put together for aspiring authors (i.e. not published or contracted) is part of the launch and we are now able to offer a publishing contract for our winner! (For more information, visit: their website for all the details.   


The School of Humanities at East Texas Baptist University is sponsoring the 2010 East Texas Christian Writers Conference on April 9 and 10. A writing contest is part of the conference with a Grand Prize, First, Second and Third Place prizes available in three categories: Essay, short story and poetry. An entrance fee of $10 for each submission is required and entries must be received by March 19, 2010.


Warren Adler, Short Story Contest, Stonehouse Press, 300 East 56th Street, New York, NY 10022.
(212)350-9357. Evan Nisenson, Assistant
Deadline: April 11, 2010  Entry Fee: $15

A prize of $1,000 and publication on the Warren Adler web site is given annually for a short story. Warren Adler will judge. Visit the Web site for complete guidelines.


Crab Orchard Review, Literary Prizes, English Department, Faner Hall, 2380, Mail code 4503, Southern Illinois University, 1000 Faner Drive, Carbondale, IL 62901. Jon Tribble, Managing Editor.
Deadline: April 30, 2010    Entry Fee: $10

Three prizes of $1,500 each and publication in Crab Orchard Review are given annually for a group of poems, a work of fiction, and a work of creative nonfiction. Submit three poems of up to 100 lines each for the Richard Peterson Poetry Prize, a fiction manuscript of up to 6,000 words for the Jack Dyer Fiction Prize, or a creative nonfiction manuscript of up to 6,500 words for the John Guyon Literary Nonfiction Prize. The $10 entry fee includes a copy of the prize issue. The deadline is April 30. Send an SASE or visit the Web site for complete guidelines.


Glimmer Train Press, 1211 NW Glisan Street, suite 207, Portland, OR 97209. (503)221-0836. Susan Burmeister-Brown and Linda Swanson-Davies, coeditors.
Deadline: April 30, 2010  Entry Fee: $15
A prize of $1,200 and publication in Glimmer Train Stories is given biannually for a short story about family. Submit a story of up to 12,000 words with a $15 entry fee by April 30. Visit the Web site for complete guidelines.


The Journal, Short Story Contest, English Department, 164 West 17th Avenue, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210. (614)292-4076. Michelle Herman, Prose Editor.
Deadline: May 1, 2010

A prize of $1,000 and publication in the Journal is given annually for a short story. Kee K. Abbott will judge. Submit a short story of up to 7,500 words. Send an SASE or visit the Web site for complete guidelines.

Glass Woman Writing Contest

Don't forget this writing contest for just us women.  Deadline is March 21, so you need to get busy if you plan to enter this time.  Word count is up to 5k and there's no reading fee.

This contest has a VERY nice prize.

Here's the guidelines.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Reading for Writers

I absolutely love books on how to write.  Almost to an obsession, at last count I had over twenty books on how to write a novel.  And even now, that's the first place I head to whenever I stop by the bookstore.  While not every method works for me, I take a little from this book, a little from that one and a bit from the other one and then add them up and get a method that does.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. As one of the top agents he knows what it takes to make a novel stand out above the crowd. The companion workbook gives you practical experience with building plot layers, creating in depth characters, building conflicts and much more. I have really enjoyed reading these and plan to come back to them as I get closer to completing my novel.

The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing by Evan Marshall. This is a “formula” for writing novels which doesn’t work for me but there are some good tips and ideas in it. This one also has a companion workbook with worksheets to develop the storyline. Marshall is also a top agent and the book has some good advice.

How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card. I thought I’d never write any science fiction but when the muse brought me a great sci-fi idea, well I had to listen to her. This is a practical book that I really enjoyed. And while I’m not quite ready to tackle any major sci-fi idea, reading this book made me feel not so in over my head. Plus, a lot of the information works for any genre so check this one out.

Writing for Story by Jon Franklin. This one I really, really enjoyed. Geared toward short stories it helps with getting an effective outline, writing the rough draft along with polishing tips that really make sense. Not only does he tell you how to make your writing better but he shows you with actual stories. Very helpful!

Creating Unforgettable Characters by Linda Seger. Written as a “practical guide to character development in films, tv series, advertisements, novels and short stories” it uses examples of characters we know to help us create characters that go beyond the stereotype. Geared toward screenwriting yet contains something anyone who creates characters can use.

The Writer’s Idea Workshop by Jack Heffron. This is a nifty book. Whether you have an inkling of an idea or none at all, this will help you take it to the next step. Each chapter gives you questions to consider and prompts to think about. I bought this one for myself as a Christmas gift, didn’t want to wait for hubby to get it:-)

The 10% Solution by Ken Rand. This is a small book packed full of editing how-to. Not only will your writing be much tighter, your editor will love you for cutting out all those useless words. You can find this book at Fairwood Press and it is completely worth the small cost.

Deadly Doses: a Writer’s Guide to Poisons by Serita Stevens. While this isn’t a “how-to” book I really enjoy browsing through it. Not only does it tell about drugs, poisons, toxic plants and animals, it gives the symptoms, reaction times, where you can find it, along with antidotes and treatment. Along the way you will find interesting tidbits such as when tiger whiskers are ground up and fed to a victim, they act the same as ground glass causing internal bleeding. I just know sometime I’m going to use that idea...a tiger whisker smoothie. Tasty but dangerous. There is also a chapter on creating your own poison. This is such a cool book!

These are just a few of the many books available. Next time you visit your local bookstore, check out the writing never can tell what treasure you will find.

And, while you're here, let us know your favorite "how to write" book.  I'll be heading to town on Friday and naturally Books a Million will be getting a visit.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Link Salad

I don't know about you, but I LOVE reading articles about writing. And while not every article is useful, I still enjoy reading how other people write, where they get ideas and so forth. With that in mind, here's some links.

CopyBlogger is a blog about blogging. Not everything applies to writers, but there are some really good tips spread around.

How do Agents and Editors Decide Webinar  taught by agent Rachell Gardner.  This should be really good.  And everyone who signs up gets a query and five pages looked at.  It's not free but should be worth the price.

If You're Writing a Memoir then check out these great tips. 

Seventh Sanctum is just one of the coolest places online.  Not only do they have name generators, they have so many others, you just have to go check them out for yourself.  I especially love the tavern and room generators.  Now, some names won't work but they often can be tweaked or will inspire one that will.  Be prepared to spend time there...and take a pen and paper.

And lastly...if you love cats,  you need to stop in HERE.  This is another place you might be tempted to spend a lot of time so only visit when you aren't busy. :-)  I follow them on Twitter so I won't miss the new ones.  Plus, it saves me from having to catch up later.


Monday, March 8, 2010

The Next Step...

Sooner or later there comes a time in every writer's life when they have to send something out.  At least if they want to be published they do. 

It's not the easiest thing to do either.  We risk rejection to start with and even when we are successful and become published, there is always someone ready to let us know just how much they didn't like our work.  Someone once mentioned writers need skin like a rhino to get along in the publishing business and sometimes I tend to agree.

Today on Facebook, a writer commented about receiving a rejection letter, that it still stung and wondered if it was all worth it.  And while I feel for her, it's just part of the business.

So, today I encourage you to send something out.  Whether it's that short story you've been holding on to or a query letter for your novel or an article, go for it.  Take the next step.

Just remember to look where you're other words, do your research.:-)

Oh...I get to brag too.   One of my 'practice, just for fun' pieces is up at Abandoned Towers Magazine.  You can stop by and read it HERE.

It takes practice...

Saturday my son had a piano thing so most of the day was taken up with that.  It was a regional competition and if you scored well enough, you could then go on to "State" and compete for the coveted "All State" title.  He played six pieces total.  Two hymns, two folk songs, and two classical pieces.  To be eligible and move on to State you must be rated Superior by the judges.  And color me excited, but he was!  On all six pieces.  So, he could compete for All State if he wasn't over the age limit. 

But I'm still proud at how far he's come.  He taught himself to play the keyboard we bought for my daughter.  I'd taked lessons when I about 16 so gave him the basics of reading music and he did the rest.  Within a couple weeks he passed by my two years worth of lessons and within a couple months he was filling in at church when our regular pianist was missing. 

This is his fourth year of lessons.  I figured if he was going to keep at it, then he needed help with some techinal stuff.  He's competed at the "State" level twice and was rated Superior both times, he's now the official fill-in pianist at church and tomorrow night, will be his instructor's "spotlight" student at some sort of regional thing for instructors.  (They bring their best pupils, let them perform and then bask in the glow of their students greatness.)  I'm very proud of course.

It took him a LOT of practice to play this well.  And even now, he still practices at least 2-3 hours a day.  Scales, chords, whatever pieces he's learning as well as pieces he's already learned. 

And here's where this relates to writing.  We have to practice too.   We's that simple.  If we don't, we won't improve.  When I look back as some of my first pieces of writing, I cringe.   They weren't that good.  Sure they showed promise, but they needed work.  Work that at the time, I didn't have the ability to do.

But just like my son, I've practiced.  I've taken some lessons, read some "how to" books then practiced some more.  I've been practicing for a little over eight years and still have a lot to learn.  I don't expect improvement in my craft overnight.  It'd be nice but I'm not holding my breath.:-)

So, I want to encourage each of you, take time to practice your writing.  Block out some time each day just for yourself.  And don't be discouraged if it's hard or improvement doesn't come quick.  To become a master at anything, it takes lots of time and lots of practice.  Writing isn't any  different.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Bonus Saturday

100to1 Productions - Urban SciFi
We are looking for completed feature-length urban sci-fi scripts, i.e. something in the vein of "Terminator," "Minority Report," or "Bladerunner."

Budget will not exceed $5 million. WGA and non-WGA writers may submit.  Our credits include "The Action Hero's Guide to Saving Lives," among others.


1. Please go to
2. Enter your email address (you will be signing up for InkTip's newsletter - FREE!)
3. Copy/Paste this code: pps1egr7za
4. You will be submitting a logline and synopsis only, and you will be contacted to submit the full script only if there is interest from the production company.

IMPORTANT: Please ONLY submit your work if it fits what the lead is looking for EXACTLY.

If you aren't sure if your submission fits, please ask InkTip first. Please mention you heard about this from Jeff Gund at and please email any questions to:

***CAXTON PRESS has a long tradition of publishing Western works of timeless appeal. We always are looking for new material. Caxton publishes nonfiction trade books for general audiences.

We prefer to publish western or frontier history, travel, pictorials, or narratives: nonfiction with a western theme. We will consider historical fiction if it deals with the West. We do not publish poetry.

Send submissions to:

C. W. Cornell, Editor
Caxton Press
312 Main Street
Caldwell, ID 83605

Contests. . .



Deadline: April 20, 2010 (postmark). Prizes: 1st:
$100; 2nd: $75; 3rd: $50; 4th: $25 and up to 4

Honorable Mentions in each category.
Fiction - maximum 2,500 words.
Short Fiction - maximum 1,000 words.
Juvenile Fiction (stories for ages 4-12) - maximum 2,500 words.

MUST LIST GENRE AND TARGETED AGE GROUP (i.e. picture book, 3 & up).

Nonfiction - maximum 2,500 words (PLEASE

Humor (fiction, nonfiction, or poetry) - maximum 2,000 words or 50 lines (for poems).
Traditional Poem (any "form" poem, i.e. villanelle, sonnet, sestina) - maximum 40 lines.
Free Verse Poem - maximum 60 lines.
First Chapter of Novel - up to 10 pages, first chapter ONLY.


ENTRY FEE £5 ($8)
The first prize is £150 ($242), with a second prize of 30 ($48) and a third of £20 ($32). Ten further prizes of £10 ($16) each are on offer to writers whose short fiction shows the greatest originality, mastery of the craft skills of creative writing and power to move the reader. Accepts prose fiction in any genre up to 3,000 words.

DeadlineMarch 31, 2010.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Stomp Them Grapes

Raise your hand if you have seen the movie A Walk in the Clouds.

I don't know anything about growing grapes but I do know about gardens. They take time, effort, sweat, and when you get right down to it, part of ourselves.

To get the type grapes usable for wine making, there's a lot of effort put into it. And they took care while harvesting the grapes not to injure them.

Remember somewhere about the middle of the movie when they harvest the grapes and Keanu dropped a bunch? The father picked them up, cleaned off the dirt and gently placed them in the box.

Once harvested though, they dumped them in this huge vat and people started jumping on them and squishing all the juice out of about a change in attitude!

What's this got to do with writing you ask? Well...

Our words are like the grapes. During the growing process we put them on paper, nurture them. Their care consumes us. We save, back up and resave them. (or at least we should) When our story is finished, it's just like the harvest. Our words/grapes have been gathered.

Then comes the change in attitude. We take our words and change them. We cut out weak verbs, add stronger ones. We change the abstract into the concrete, telling is gotten rid of and changed into show. This process is hard on the words just as all the stomping is on the grapes. Ahhh...but once finished, we have a product ready to be packaged and sold.

Again, the comparison continues. Not everyone is going to like the wine, just as not everyone will like our stories. But for those of who continue sending our stories out, we will find someone who loves them.

So...what is my point from all this? Just that as it takes a lot of work to get wine from grapes, it takes a lot of work to get a story from a bunch of words. Don't be afraid to take your words and work with them to get the best from them.

Today, harvest some words...make them into a story:-) Stomp 'em if ya' have to.

And...if you haven't seen the movie, go rent it. You'll love it!

The Writer's Toolbox

Imagine you're browsing along the how-to write shelves of your favorite bookstore.  Now, as you trail your fingers across the spines of the books lined there, you come across one called "The Writer's Toolbox."

Intrigued, you slide it off the shelf and make your way over to the chairs where you settle in with whatever "chino" your drinking.  You open the book and start to read.

What do you want to find there?  What would you hope to see? 

Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

In the News...

Publish America will now send your PA book to Random House.  I'm sure Random House is thrilled.

See why this is not a good thing here.

Be sure to check out the comments along with the link to the original source at the bottom of the post.    Then tell your friends.

And while you're at it...bookmark Janet Reid's blog.  It's a great place to spend a few minutes each day catching up on things.

Monday, March 1, 2010

How To Be Edited by Danny Birt

Dedicated to all those writers out there who will go through the editing process.

There are many tales about the experience of having one’s story edited. Most of those tales are told from the author’s point of view, but focus on the editor’s actions during the process. For a change of pace, let’s take a look at a few of the author’s possible re-actions during the sort of editing process wherein the author actually gets a say in what happens to their manuscript. Do any of these hit home with you?

1. The “Les Miserables” Reaction: Author sends in the ‘perfect’ manuscript which they understand might be read by an editor as part of the publishing process. Naturally the manuscript is accepted because of its perfection, but when the author receives a copy of their manuscript back, instead of unbridled praise of their genius they find the editor has made actual CHANGES. Weeping, gnashing of teeth, beating of breasts, et cetera, occurs. Author either withdraws the manuscript or complains bitterly throughout the editing process and argues against the editor taking such drastic measures as correcting misspelled words.

2. The “Fainting Goat” Reaction: Author timidly mails in a manuscript they fear might actually get picked to be published. Author faints. The manuscript is accepted. Author faints. The first round of edits comes back to the author for their perusal. Author okays everything, changes nothing else just in case the editor would get mad at them for daring to suggest something that might actually improve the story, then faints. Story is published as-is. Author faints.

3. The “Premature Ejection” Reaction: Author types up a story and emails it to a publisher, all during their coffee break. Author then rereads the story and makes some changes to it. The original story is accepted, and the author receives an edited copy. Author sends the editor the revised story, then rewrites the rewrite and sends it before the editor has even gotten back to them on the rewrite. Author decides to rewrite the rewrite of the rewrite, and sends it right before the editor finishes editing the rewrite of the rewrite. Author sends another rewrite, but the story has already gone to print. Author receives published story, and rewrites it.

4. The “Professional Author” Reaction: Author has written a story, set it aside for a length of time, and has edited their own work to their satisfaction. Story is accepted by a publisher, and author receives an edited copy of the manuscript. Author accepts majority of editor’s changes, explains why other changes do not quite work, and after having considered how their reader’s point of view differs from their own, makes changes to overall story. Manuscript is returned to editor; process repeats until both are happy with end result. Author learns from editing process, and their writing style improves.


Learn more about Danny and his writing here.


Writing short stories is a great way to spend a day or three plus you learn to make every word count. And submitting is a good way to get your name out there in front of editors.  Short stories are also a good way to get a fan/reader base for those longer works.

One of my favorite regular contests is from Reading Writers.  The prompts are interesting and a challenge themselves.  I haven't won yet but I have had several Honorable Mentions that I call "ties for second."  The prompt for this quarter is a good one and I'm pondering an entry.

So, here's my challenge to you...

Go to Reading Writers and check out the prompt.  Ponder up a story and submit it. The deadline is May 15th so you have plenty of time to write, revise and send it in.

Then, become a follower of this blog, post in the comment section that you've entered and the name of your piece along with your pen name.

If your piece makes it to the second round, I'll send you something special.  If you make it to Honorable Mention then you'll get a book of some sort.  And, of course, if you're the winner, then you'll get something extra nice.

So...if you aren't a follower of the blog, become one.  Write and submit your story and then let me know so I can look for it as she posts them to her site.

Good luck to all of you.