Two posts in one day. What's going on? Well, I've been busy looking at markets lately. My main focus has been trying to find a home for 13 Seconds. There were many possibles, a few probables, but in the end I opted for Horror D'oeuvres which is produced by DARKFUSE.
Why? Well for one they actually pay you. 5 cents a word is pretty good. I also liked the design of their website. You can't read the stories in full unless you subscribe. However, from what I could see all of the stories were well written, and professionally presented.
The submission information is clear. The rights they ask for is listed clearly. They use Submittable to handle the submission process. As a fan of Submittable this was also a bonus. Oh, and did I mention that they pay you?
They also seem to genuinely care about the writer. The author bio, which was mandatory not optional, allowed you to express yourself in a significant 250 words. If you've got a website they want to have a look, and they're interested in how you will market the work too. Two way partnerships. They're great.
And of coure they pay you. Damn, that jokes wearing thin. Note to self...must do better! To be honest, it looked like a website that I'd be proud to have my work displayed on.
I hope they like my work as much as I liked them.
Here's a link to their website which I shall also add to the Useful Links page: http://www.horrordoeuvres.com/
You can also find them on twitter @DarkFuse
if you're a reader of Horror fiction check them out. If you're a writer of Horror fiction check them out. What have you got to lose.
I was having an online chat with my writing buddy, and fellow Project 13 collaborator, the immensely talented J T Harrell.
JT was telling me how he'll initially attempt to write out a story idea as a 250 word piece of flash fiction. If he manages to get to that limit, or below, then the story stays as a piece of flash fiction. If it just can't be done then he sets about writing a short story, or possibly even a novella.
It's an interesting technique / process.
The feisty fellow also laid down a flash fiction challenge: Write a max 250 word story. The theme was voyeurism, but we agreed we were able to interpret voyeurism in any way our muses demanded.
Prior to the challenge I'd never managed to finish a story in under 600 words.
The challenge turned out to be a great piece of creative fun.
It wasn't without it's frustrations. I aborted the first attempt. I was thinking about it too much, trying to be too clever, and failing.
I then did what I usually do best. I emptied my mind and just wrote. Those who know me well will tell you there's not a lot to empty!
The end result was "The Man on The Train" completed in 220 words. I doubt anybody would call it a masterpiece. It isn't. But it's very me. Simplistic and above all it's tongue in cheek. Nothing more than a bit of fun.
Creatively, I took a lot from the challenge. 250 words isn't much. I found myself ruthlessly editing. If a line of prose wasn't moving the story forward then it became history. I loved some of the lines I had to delete. I can honestly say that I've never been so hard on myself in any previous story edit. It was a real eye-opener and I know that all my future edits are going to benefit.
I doubt I'll work in the same way as JT but I wanted to share the experience.
JT came up with a story that had more depth than mine. A kinky tale about a blind man who shares his wife with a sighted man. The sighted man has to describe what he's seeing as the blind man's wife reaches her climax. I loved the concept. As a writer it's an idea that can be tackled in many ways. My only complaint is that he thought of it before I did.
I'm beginning to understand, and appreciate, flash fiction to a much greater extent.
A lot of the story can be outside what we see on the page. The trick is to use the right words to make it so.
I won't be neglecting the longer short story, but I can see my flash fiction output increasing.
Hello, to one and all.
I've been quite busy lately. Yesterday, I finished a short little horror story which has been titled - 13 Seconds.
The idea behind 13 Seconds was originally conceived at the inception of Project 13. For reasons I can't recall I decided not to progress the idea at the time. Yesterday I was in one of those writing moods / zones where the muse was in total control of everything I did. The story just poured itself out.
Usually when I finish a story I'll lock it away in a drawer for a week or so and then go back to it. As soon as I finished this particular story I had a really positive vibe about it. I sent it off to one of my writing buddies, the incredibly talented J T Harrell.
J T pointed out a few areas for tightening up the feel, and his points were relevant and honest. He also described the story as "Fun, and unnerving" which really made me happy as that's exactly what I was aiming for.
On another front the editors of the 13 Anthology have told me that the final story in the anthology will be The Thirteenth Camera. I'm quite proud of this. Ordering the story content of an anthology is a really difficult task. The two hardest positions to fill are the first and last stories.
The first story has to be the anchor, the story that will intrigue the reader enough to draw them in to the rest of the anthology. The final story is - presuming the reader tackles the anthology in order - the last story the reader will read. It will be the one most recent in their memory. It will be the one that completes the experience of the anthology. Nobody wants to end on a bum note so I'm more than happy with where they've placed me.
Night Owls has been sent to a literary magazine for their consideration. I'm expecting a rejection as I targeted one of the toughest markets to crack, but you've got to roll the dice. I'll do a post on the submission experience once I've had a response.
I've re-written The Flower Woman again. This will probably be its final straight forward re-write. Any further revisions will be radical. In some respects I haven't given this one too much of a chance. It was only ever entered into one competition. I'm currently getting feedback from a trusted source after which I'm going to make a point of submitting it to every qualifying market I can find. It's always been a popular story on TSL & Zoetrope so there must be an editor somewhere who will take a shine to it.
We're in July and 2013 has already been my most productive year. Three short stories finished, and one existing story re-written. Hopefully, I can maintain the productivity.
Keep writing, and keep reading, but most importantly take care,
The ‘rules’ below stem from an essay Heinlein wrote in 1947 on the art of speculative fiction writing. Point 3 generates some debate these days. I’ve even heard it referred to as ridiculous. I’ve added my own comments under each rule.
1. You Must Write
It sounds obvious but there are a lot of wannabe writers out there who will talk a great masterpiece but never actually get anything down on paper. Thinking up stories is great fun, but if you're serious about writing you have to put pen to paper.
2. You Must Finish What You Write
Oh, I can identify with this one - see here. I've managed to address this issue with my own writing, and it was something that needed addressing. Having thirty or forty unfinished stories is not good for you as a writer. It represents a lack of discipline. I know it can be difficult. Some stories are harder than others, but you need to get it down from beginning, to middle, to end.
3. You Must Refrain From Rewriting Except To Editorial Order
I've heard this rule referred to as ridiculous. I think that statement takes the rule too literally. One issue I used to be plagued with was rewriting my work endlessly...before the story was even finished (See rule 2). I think that's what Heinlein was saying. At some point you have to let the work go. I also think that Heinlein was saying "Believe in yourself". Don't re-write elements of your story that you totally believe in because the friend next door says they weren't sure about chapter 2 or the last paragraph on page 6. If you believe in your work then the only other view that counts is that of a publishing editor, and you do need to listen to them.
4. You Must Put The Work On The Market
Boy do I agree with this one. I've met some really talented writers but you'd be surprised about how many don't put their work out there. It's fear of rejection which I totally understand. I think it took me three years from the day I started taking writing seriously to the day I sent a short story to a magazine. The story got rejected. What's the big deal? Am I publicly humilated the next time I walk out of the house? Sure the ego takes a dent, or let's put it another way...the ego gets a reality check. You know how good your writing is at this stage. You pick yourself up, you dust yourself down, and you try again. Which brings me nicely to Rule 5...
5. You Must Keep The Work On The Market Until It Is Sold
It's a simple message - Don't give up. Perserverance pays off. If a magazine turns down a story it doesn't necessarily mean it's not publishable. It could mean you haven't researched the magazine properley and it's not for them. There are many successful novels that were rejected out of hand by one publisher only to be picked up by another. Let's just say that the same work does get bounced by multiple publishers / markets. Ok it's time to admit that the story needs work. Well, work on it. Try to figure out what's wrong with it. Are the characters cardboard cut outs? Is the plot too thin or too cliched? If it's a magazine rejection buy the next couple of issues to see what stories they did buy. Compare your rejected work to the accepted works and learn from the experience. Perserverance is an outstanding attribute for a writer. Embrace it wholeheartedly.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know.
Take care and happy writing,
M J Wolfson - That's me.