Category Archives: Seeking Publication

Friday Links for Writers 02.21.14

BlackrockIn months when carving out writing time is challenging, I remind myself that Toni Morrison wrote The Bluest Eye while working full time and raising 2 boys as a single mother, by writing before they woke and after they went to sleep.  Doesn’t make it easier, but busy months take constant self-coaching to get it all done.

This week, I was thrilled with a provocative question from a friend that led to a new way of looking at a key scene. The upside of fighting for time to write is it is that much more satisfying when the work that comes out really rings true.

The week’s work has also led to discovery of some great links online, which is your benefit as I share this week’s Friday Links for Writers.  As always, let me know in the comments which links resound with you, what you’d like to read more of, or share your own links.  Best wishes for a great writing week!

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Sally Clements: How to Write a Synopsis

Among my writing friends, several are somewhere in the process of submitting novels as part of their winter goals.  This article by Sally Clements, on the Irish Writing Center’s website, does a good job of addressing how to write a synopsis as part of the submission process.

Secrets to Querying Literary Agents: 10 More Questions Answered

Along the same lines, this round-up of querying advice from Chuck Sambuchino (at Wendy Tokunaga’s site) answers some more interesting questions about query strategy.  Bonus: click the link in the first paragraph for another 10 answers.

Style Sheet: A Conversation with my Copyeditor

Here’s a good resource on copyediting basics, whether you are trading manuscripts with a beta reader or your novel is in the hands of your publisher’s editor, or you are providing copyediting services to other writers.  This article at The Millions includes a chart of standard copyediting notations and an interview with writer Edan Lepucki’s copyeditor.

Clashing Tones: a peril when we spend a long time writing a book

It’s time to share another great post from Roz Morris. I like this post on shifting tones within a manuscript, because it addresses a revision issue we not have heard others name, point-blank: the need to read for consistent voice or tone in a novel that has been written and revised over long stretches of time.

Interview with NBCC John Leonard Prize Winner Anthony Marra

I’ve said before that I am very excited to see the success of Anthony Marra’s debut novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, as I first ran into Marra in an online forum around the time he would have been writing it.  He has received nods for several national and international awards, and has just been awarded the National Book Critics Circle’s first ever John Leonard Prize.  Here is an interview with him from the School of Writing at the New School.  So many of us could relate to Marra’s inspiration: “I wrote this book as much as a reader, as a writer.  It was the kind of book I wanted to read and it wasn’t there yet.”  I love the revision process he shares: “I retype everything.” As soon as he finishes a draft, he prints it out and retypes it, revising with new eyes as he goes.

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What About You?

What writing goals are you working on this week, or what other priorities interfere with your writing time?  My best wishes go out to several of my regular readers who have been sharing their February goals and helping to keep each other motivated.  Feel free to share yours in the comments, below.

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c. Elissa Field

c. Elissa Field

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Friday Links for Writers: 06.21.13

Sloans summer 2013

Today is a great day to take your writing outside — hopefully it’s as gorgeous where you are as it is here, on this first day of summer.

Summer brings busy writing days. I spent this week transcribing 10,000 words in scenes I’d handwritten or scribbled in margins of books I was reading (!) since January. Looks like I’ll be continuing with this for another week — and then it will be time to integrate this new material and newly-envisioned ending with the fourth draft I’d left off on last fall.

Novel revisions are job enough — but every week has time for reading, and here are some of the great Links for Writers I’ve come across this week. As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments — let us know what you’re writing this week, or tell me what links were meaningful, topics you’d like more of or share your own.

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Okay, and Here’s My Advice to You and Young Journalists in General

As much as I talk about fiction here, I studied journalism before fiction and spend much of my time online following international journalists. Which is lead-in to say it was sad news to hear of the death of award-winning journo Michael Hastings this week. Find inspiration in this link — his frank list of advice to young writers.

How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method

“Writing a novel is easy. Writing a good novel is hard.” I love the opening line of this article by Randy Ingermanson, as he shares his method for writing a novel that begins by building organization following the nearly scientific structuring of a snowflake. This link was shared by my friend, writer and photographer Rebecca Barray. While it arose in a conversation of plotting for Camp NaNoWriMo in July, several of the steps are useful for a writer evaluating the structure of an existing draft during revisions, and result in wording for an effective query as well.

Story Contest Deadlines by Month

Do you submit short fiction? There are debates that suggest — despite the additional cost of entry fees — contest submissions fight smaller numbers for publication. Here is a surprisingly practical tool via About.com: click on any month to access a list of literary contests with deadlines in that month.

Opportunities for Writers: July and August 2013

Along the same lines, Aerogramme’s blog post lists several unexpected submission targets with deadlines for now through August. “Surprising?” There are classics, like the Katherine Anne Porter Prize (for a short story collection) — but also a haiku contest sponsored by NASA, related to a Mars mission, and a deadline for McSweeney’s internship applications.

Our Lost Jungle 30 by 30 Challenge

My writing friend Khara House is one of the best at hosting challenges on her site, Our Lost Jungle. If you are not overloaded in the throes of existing work, her 30 by 30 challenge this month offers fab inspiration to get artists in any medium creating new work every day. Or, if the last 2 links have you thinking about getting your work out the door, work your way through her prior month’s Submit-O-Rama. She is a great blogger to follow.

A Celebration of Maurice Sendak at 92Y

Other sad news provoked this link, but look for joyous inspiration with this recording from a celebration of children’s author and illustrator Maurice Sendak’s birthday with James Gandolfini’s amazing reading of The Night Kitchen, followed by Dave Eggers reading a chapter from his book The Wild Things, inspired by Sendak.

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Annual Sing for Hope installation of pianos in public parks, NYC. Photo credit: posted by Ashley Butler on Sing for Hope facebook (http://goo.gl/2PVae).

Annual Sing for Hope installation of pianos in public parks, NYC. Photo credit: posted by Ashley Butler on Sing for Hope facebook (http://goo.gl/2PVae).

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Friday Links for Writers 06.14.13

fl beach

Welcome back to Friday Links for Writers, which has been on a 3-month hiatus while I focused on other work. Today happens to be Flag Day which is also my birthday. I am celebrating on a gorgeous South Florida day with a little writing spree — and a short break to visit with you!

As writing friends here may know, my fiction competed for time with a new teaching role from February to May (remember my post: Writer Day Jobs: the Time-Money-Credit Trifecta? Street cred & money have been winning out, while time-to-revise… not so much) — so the idea of uninterrupted time to “make neat” of the frantic writing done in 15 or 30 minute chunks in the past several months is a fabulous luxury.

Luckily, there is never too little time for reading, and below are some great links I’ve come across in the past week or so. As always, let me know what you find useful, what you’d like more of… or let us know what writing goals you’ve been up to lately. Great to see you here.

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The Map and the Trail

Truth: I have yet to read any advice from literary agent Donald Maass that wasn’t immediately useful. As this essay opens with a rambling piece on a family hike, I thought maybe this was the one. But no. He pulled off great insight into the power of setting, including a great series of prompts to provoke thinking about how to make setting more powerful in your own WIP. Yup, I’ll be considering these in today’s work.

Book Editing

This post, featured on K. M. Weiland’s blog, Wordplay, features advice from ghostwriter Karen Cole on what to expect from the book editing process. In particular, her definitions of 5 types of editing give interesting terminology and clarity for discussing the possible processes during book edits with an editor or agent.

What to Write in the “Bio” Section of Your Query Letter

Working on getting queries out to agents this month?  This is a great article from Chuck Sambuchino at Writer Unboxed, breaking down the finer points of what to include (or leave out) of the bio paragraph of your query letter.

Race, Identity & Writing

As someone who has written outside culture and in foreign settings, I’ve often weighed the different challenges (and permission?) writing faces when an author writes outside their own race or identity — a topic taken on in this article by Kathy Crowley at Beyond the Margins.

Forging Words

I read this in a week that my former hometown, Detroit, has been declared bankrupt. What poet would be more fitting to profile than Philip Levine, a former Rouge Plant auto worker turned Poet Laureate of the United States? There is something humbling and inspiring to hear of work and decay spoken of in the same breath as creation of art.

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air-show-snow-cones

Where Else You’ll Find Me

One of the projects I’ve been up to has been writing about resources for educators. You’ll find the beginnings of that project, including Twitter 101 for Teachers: Steps for Getting Started on Twitter, at Mrs. T’s Middle Grades.

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Friday Links for Writers 03.08.13

maximo

Maximo, saltwater croc at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. Yes, he’s real. c. Elissa Field

Chomp. Something must have eaten the first week of my March calendar, as this post is overdue.

In fact, two writing distractions have kept me away: one was preoccupation with following posts from AWP 2013 (check hashtag #awp2013 to find lingering conversations from the conference weekend). The other was application deadlines for May and summer conferences.

To that end, I ran a special post last week featuring major writers’ conferences: 2013 Writing Conferences & Workshops.

CastilloSanMarcosAt the same time, I headed north to St. Augustine to tour historic sites in America’s oldest European-settled city on the eve of Florida’s 500th anniversary. Yes, there’s more to Florida than bikinis and snowbirds. From early colonial settlements to the fort to the gilded age to listening to alligators roar… my brain is on overload.

But, lucky for you, this week’s reading yielded some fabulous links. A theme could be “debates” as links below take on topics from writing for free to PR scams to bullying, in addition to writing advice.

As always, let me know what you found inspiring in these or what topics you’d like to see more of.

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Lucrative Work-for-Free Opportunity

Atlantic Senior Editor Ta-Nehisi Coates takes on the debate of professional writers being expected to write “for exposure” in lieu of pay. In particular, Coates considers the ruckus raised when writer Nate Thayer very publicly rejected a request that he write a piece for the Atlantic for free (his spicy email is included), by reflecting on Coates’ and other writers’ common history of having published for free at various times in their careers. It’s a debate worth considering at a time when it is more easy to publish ideas than in the past, yet often more difficult to earn a living.

The Bad PR Hangover (and How to Avoid It)

In this post at Writer Unboxed, Sharon Bially addresses the services a writer should expect when contracting with a reputable PR agent. She begins with a frank rant about ineffective and even unethical PR approaches that make her “blood boil,” which leads to her “laundry list of must-haves in determining whether the firm you hire to publicize your book is up to par, and in understanding whether it’s doing (or will do) what it should for you.” A great resource, especially for those with a first book coming out.

Down the Rabbit Hole of Research 

When is research part of the hard work of writing, and when is it a time-sucking distraction? Bethanne Patrick offers thought-provoking insight on preventing research from leading a writer “down the rabbit hole” of fascinating tangents that eat away at writing time. Patrick’s own interesting insights are supported by reflections from published writers on whether they research before writing, while drafting, or not until completing a first draft, and more.

How to Stop the Bullies 

This article in The Atlantic caught my eye as it addresses the ubiquitous (and never-ending) conversation of bullying, cyber-bullying and bully-prevention. It is a fascinating read if you are a parent, educator or YA writer — but also for anyone involved in social media, as the writer traces the path of a complaint through Facebook and discusses the developments being attempted in writing algorithms to predict an abusive post.

The Rejection Generator Project 

Friday Links on February 1st shared the endearing Written Kitten. This isn’t that. No, in fact, it’s a bit more like hair of the dog that bit ya. Why wait for that painful rejection on the litmag submission that’s been pending for more than twice their stated response time? Generate your own brass knuckle reply with Stoneslide Corrective’s Rejection Generator Project. Like walking on briars to toughen your feet, you give it your email address and it shoots you a fireball of a rejection. All in fun, of course.

Tweet Spotlight: 2 Agents on Querying

Agent Pam van Hylckama tweeted to a YA writer: “If you just write a good query letter and follow sub guidelines, you are ALREADY in the top 10% of queries” (@BookaliciousPam, Mar. 9). Along the same line, Dawn Frederick of Red Sofa Literary Agency tweeted: “Why it’s important to follow submission guidelines: honoring such a basic request shows a willingness to work as a team w/ agent. #pubtips” (@RedSofaLiterary, Mar. 6).

What did you find in these links that is useful to you? Let me know if you want more on a particular subject, or share your own best finds.

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Shared by the Library of Congress, this poster is from a Chicago promotion 1936-1941. No known copyright restrictions.Did you see my Winter 2013 Reading List? As the list shows, there is clearly no shortage of great new fiction to keep our reading hours full.

But what of books that linger from one list to the next — or even from one decade to the next — and never get read?

It’s nearly time for me to post the March Reading Challenge: inspired by this vintage public service announcement from 1939-41, it’s time to “read the books you’ve always meant to read.”

If you have a minute, please click here if you’d like to share the kinds of books on your 2013 Reading List – including any you’ve always meant to read yet never gotten around to.

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January Challenge Week 2: Start Something

Successful launch, Kennedy Space Center. c Elissa Field, repro w permission only

Successful launch, Kennedy Space Center. c Elissa Field, repro w permission only

Time to launch Part 2 of the January Challenge — starting one new project from your 2013 goals! 

Today’s kick-off addresses claiming time and selecting which project to start.

But first, for anyone who hasn’t read previous posts: the January Challenge arose because many of us have competing goals we want to tackle in 2013. To get the year started, I applied strategies from freelance writing (and teaching and parenting…) to stoke projects in various stages and keep progress moving forward.

write start badgeEach week of the challenge focuses on finishing one thing (last week), starting one thing (this week), improving one thing, then evaluating and planning the next step.

Links to prior posts are embedded in today’s kick-off where relevant — or find them all at the bottom of this post.

Join the challenge at any time and adapt it to fit your needs. If you join in — even well past the end of January — let us know what you are working on or the kind of strategies that work for you. If you blog about it, please share link to the challenge (you can use the JC badge, if you want to be festive), and share link to your post in the comments below.

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Week 2 Launch: Start Something

I mentioned last Monday, the challenge in starting is sometimes the pressure to finish a lingering project first (read more on that here). 

I’ve felt that way this week: I need to start production of this literary magazine, but ideas for revising my novel jump into my head (“finish something”), my reliable truck spent the week in the shop having its fuel pump replaced (“improve something”), and I’ve had to drop everything to attend meetings to plan events later in the semester or next year (“evaluate and plan“). 

Too often, the project you need to start is like a guy trying to elbow his way to place an order at a crowded bar, vying to get the barkeep’s attention.

This week’s first motivator: give yourself permission to claim the time.  Don’t wait to be less busy. Steal a chunk of time to get going, right now. Well. Finish reading this, then go.

Part of the pressure in starting something new is the feeling you have to set aside something else to do it. Not necessarily. You can continue using strategies to tinker with other projects, even as you focus on starting your new one.  I’ll post more later, but here are a couple strategies from Week 1:

Today: Select the Project You Will Start

In talking to friends, most have several things they want to start in 2013. For this challenge, pick one.  Don’t stress: you can start one now and start another one a couple months from now, or string several small starts to quick finishes.  The key is to stop waiting and jump in.

My goal is to start production of the literary magazine I have to produce for 150 writing students, which needs to be printed and delivered by the end of May.

If that were not mandatory, here are some of the other projects I could imagine taking on — which might be similar to your goals.

  • Apply for acceptance to a conference, workshop or MFA program. Summer programs like Bread Loaf, Sewanee, Tin House or Grub Street will announce programming and accept applications now through March. (check my links page for more info)
  • Begin final revisions of a novel manuscript. Revisions might be “improving” or “finishing,” but this step is also the beginning of a new process, including new formatting, finding beta readers, finding agents and beginning querying, or learning the self-publishing process.
  • Begin submitting stories for publication. Submitting is a new step, involving finding publication targets, drafting cover letters, or organizing your tracking process.
  • Begin an online business. Several outlets allow for uploading materials I (or any of you) could market, and it’s the next step in projects I share with peers.
  • Beginnings in your day job or personal life are fair game. The literary magazine will parallel projects in your day job or for a freelance client. Same goes for projects like looking for a house, starting a job search, planning a wedding, getting ready for a baby.

How Do I Decide Which to Start?

My reflections on 2012 revealed that I’ve made my way through some challenges in recent years. One of the ‘rules’ that led to my best progress is:  Do first the thing that will make your life better tomorrow.

Ask yourself, for any project you consider taking on: will my life be better when this is done, or more of the same? What you start today is an investment in what your life will look like next week, next month and beyond.  If deciding between projects, do first the one that gets you closer to your overall goals. This might include:

  • Honor deadlines. Start first any projects where you committed to a fixed deadline.
  • Invest in tasks that empower you or give you more options. If you need to be employable, start a course that buys you credentials, certification or street cred, rather than one that’s just for fun.
  • Plant seeds for future success. Market now for clients you will need in the summer. Build your website or social platform now for the novel you’ll need to market next year. Submit stories, then wait for replies while working on your novel.
  • Take the first step in big projects. Some starts are just that first step on a big project. My litmag, for example, was really started with mock-ups and volunteer meetings and soliciting work last fall. Grad school starts with investigating programs or soliciting recommendation letters. You might only tackle this one step for now, with other steps taking place much later.
  • Did you try the 3-column to-do list in this post, to identify obstacles preventing you from moving forward? If so, consider starting a project that removes an obstacle. Start a task that increases income if lots of your projects are held back by a lack of money. While you might normally fight for time to work on your novel, starting a client project (or spring cleaning and yard sale) might allow you to replace your laptop — in turn, letting you work more on your novel.
  • Certain goals take priority in the category of: “Twenty years from now, you’ll regret more the things you didn’t do than those you did” (attributed to Twain, repeated by many). For those trying to finish a novel, prioritize that. It takes a long time to go from draft to edited and published copy in a reader’s hands; invest in getting closer to that. Every day you put off starting puts that end goal that much further out of reach. Other intangibles — like foreign travel or falling in love or dropping everything to play with your kids — fall in this category.
  • Protect the status quo. As with honoring deadlines, be sure to start projects that keep good things present in your life, like maintaining a healthy client relationship or success in your job.
  • Peace of mind counts. All this talk of improving life for tomorrow doesn’t mean you can’t have “start an herb garden” or “organize family photos” as your challenge this week. Will you feel better tomorrow for having done it? Go for it.

Your task for today is to select what you want to start. Share your goal in the comments if you want us to cheer you on. Tweet your goal with hashtag #januarychallenge or blog about it and share your link below.

Here’s what I’m wondering, for the next post:  What keeps you from starting a project that is important to you? Are you unsure what to do first? Are you afraid it won’t go well? Do you need resources, materials or answers before you can start?

Now, go!

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grasp c Elissa FieldThe January Challenge:

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Writers’ Day Jobs 01: Balancing the Time, Money & Credit Trifecta

Summer hours spent revising Wake. c. Elissa Field

In the years I’ve been participating in social media with other writers — beginning on early boards at Poets & Writers Speakeasy – one of the most common discussions to arise among writers was over “day jobs.” Like superheroes not yet fully embraced by Gotham, so many writers work on their fiction but pay bills with another job.

Today’s post is part 1 of a series sharing my experience with day jobs.

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Day Job Balance: Money vs. Time

The repeated refrain in evaluating the perfect day job is the need to earn a living against a writer’s hunger to preserve time and creative energy for writing.

Camp counselors, bartenders, odd jobs, temps. Writers are mercenary in their willingness to fill a resume with a string of odd jobs that load the refrigerator while buying time. Writers’ parents may roll eyes over what seems a stubborn inability to assemble a genuine career — while the writer squirrels away hidden hours that mean not thousands in income but, if well-played, thousands of words toward a polished manuscript.

Of course some day jobs include professional titles or even high paying roles, but often writers are willing to take less income in order to avoid overtime hours or retain more braincells undrained at the end of the day.

The Trifecta: Time, Money & Street Cred

In a perfect world, a writer’s day job produces the trifecta: money to pay the bills, time and energy to write, and street cred.

Street cred, in this case, would be jobs that earn a writer credit for experience in the writing or publishing world. It could be a legitimizing title, it could be professional interaction within the publishing world. Booksellers, business writers, journalists, freelance PR or social media consultants, agents, teachers.

In our less perfect world, writers often trade time or money to gain recognition: write for free or trade lower pay to chock up a byline or tear sheet. I say this while spending hours blogging income-free, and having published my short stories without payment.

What is less obvious are those who went into becoming editors or agents out of their own writing aspirations, only to achieve the money and professional accomplishment but surrender all free time and creative energy so their own writing never occurs.

The Goal: Balance

It might seem that all writers would seek the trifecta. Yet, really, the key is for each writer to balance money, time and credit as fit the writer’s current goals. For example, there are times when a writer couldn’t care less about street credit, because all that matters is time to get that novel draft written. At the same time, having all the time to write can be meaningless to a writer who is unemployed and preoccupied with how to feed their kids. And street credit can be shiny but meaningless if the industry continues pushing writers to be unpaid for their work, or if the attention becomes a distraction that keeps an accomplished writer from writing new work.

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Evaluating Your Day Job

Today’s post is motivated, in part, by what all writers need to do from time to time: I’m evaluating my current day job.  There are times — no matter where we are in our career — when things are out of balance, and I’ve been feeling a significant imbalance over here for the past couple months. At the moment, my job is earning me street cred, but not sufficient income to minimize distractions, and with what feels like suffocating demands on my time.

In evaluating what change is needed, I’ll ask myself these questions:

  • Is it temporary? As a part-time teacher, overwhelming demands on my time from grading should be temporary — limited to the school seasons. The key is for me to evaluate if it is balanced by coming free time, and if that time can be used adequately to accomplish my writing goals. So far, each time I reach a vacation break I find myself writing like crazy, addressing those goals that have been on hold.  If not, I need to adjust — and adjustment, in most cases, comes through discipline.
  • Am I using my free time well? This is where discipline comes in. My litmus test on how well I am using my free time is reminder that Toni Morrison wrote The Bluest Eye while working full time as a single mother to two young boys. She wrote before they woke in the morning and after they went to bed at night. Um-hmph. My arms cross in accusation over some unused hours I’ve let slip. The key is to know your goals, seek out your writing hours and get your butt in the seat, writing.
  • Are there alternatives? Last Sunday, I spent 8-9 hours cleaning house. It would take me 4 hours to earn the money to pay someone to do that. Is that an alternative that would remove a distraction? I could leave my current job and get a different job, possibly doubling my income, but would work longer hours and not have summers free. Which option would be more liberating? Are there alternatives to bring in income with less demand on time? In some cases, there are no alternatives. If that is true, go back to the two points above to find your writing time.
  • Are my priorities aligned with my current writing goals? Right now, I have two novels drafted that need substantial hours for editing — but either one would then be ready to query an agent. For this reason, it works that I kept a part-time writing position this year, as it buys me holidays off and the potential for writing mornings. In another year, if I were working on short stories or just blogging, it might make more sense for me to give up time to increase income. It’s also been a year where I wanted more writing connections, so it has made sense for me to take more time with social media and workshops than in other years where I just wanted time on my own to write. It’s important to respect your own current projects and goals when applying any writing advice. What is great for one writer may not be for you — at least, not at this moment.

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Coming Next: 

How About You?

What experience can you share about day jobs that worked well for your writing, or those that didn’t? Can anyone share experience working at a publishing house or agent, to say if this helped advance your writing or took over your time? Or have you held a profession completely outside of writing that made it easier to write? It would be great to hear readers’ insights.

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Filed under Novel Writing, Seeking Publication, Writer's Day Jobs, Writing Life, Writing Mother

October Writing Challenges: Week 1

Need a challenge to keep your writing moving in October? Here are two:

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Get Your Work Out the Door!

Khara House is a fabulously elegant writer whom I have gotten to know as a fellow Founding Member of the writing group, Wordsmith Studio. She’s generously offering us all opportunity to participate in a kick-in-the-pants challenge with her October Submit-O-Rama.  That link takes you to her blog (Our Lost Jungle) for explanation; or find it on Facebook: October Submit-O-Rama on Facebook.

Whether you are a fiction writer, poet or journalist, it’s a great opportunity to push yourself to get your work out the door, among the camaraderie of other writers who won’t give you the blank stare your spouse, cat or friend-on-the-treadmill give when you brag, “I just sent out three submissions!”

My participation this week? I’m busy reading manuscripts by others and working on novel revisions, so will not be submitting this week, but I did take time to update my submission target lists.

How do I manage information about magazines I submit to?  I use contact cards in Outlook to maintain my own data on hundreds of literary magazines (and agents).  I use this and Duotrope to actively research the magazines I submit to, updating guidelines, reviewing their latest publications, tracking their interests, keeping track of my communication with editors, and otherwise doing my best to connect with like-minded publications.

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Herding Your Inspirational Dragon

On her blog, Herding the Dragon (can we pause and appreciate what a fabulous title that is for a blog about writing?), Samantha Holloway shares a 30 Day Writing Meme that is perfect palate cleanser for writers hard at work on a novel draft or nose to the grindstone in revisions. Yeah, that includes me.  You, too?  Read my note below on joining in, so we can write together.

My participation this week? Here is my answer for day 1:

How many characters do you have? Do you prefer males or females?

In my current WIP, there is a female protagonist (Carinne), a male protagonist (Michael Roonan) and their son. In early chapters, there is vibrant interaction with people around them while traveling (the family Carinne travels with, the lively couple who manage a hotel). As Carinne and Roonan flee through several chapters, they are isolated, accompanied only by Roonan’s childhood best friend, Aidan, and pursued by an unseen antagonist. They are pointedly isolated until the resolution, where Roonan again meets Aidan as well as members of his mother’s family.  That makes three main characters, three important side characters, and less than a dozen other named characters.  This work is about isolation, so feels spare as compared to another draft, Breathing Water, which has half a dozen main characters.  Prefer male or female characters? I write each just as readily and enjoy getting to experience the story from multiple perspectives, so no preference.

Read my Reflections on Writing Character & Place (Days 2-4) on 10/10.

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Want to Participate in Either Challenge?

Here are links to both :

  • Submit-O-Rama on Our Lost Jungle: on the blog or on Facebook
  • 30 Day Writing Meme on Herding the Dragon: begin here with Day 1

Are you going to participate in either challenge, or are you at work on another challenge (how many of you have NaNoWriMo on your horizon)?  Let us know in the comments below and keep us posted on your progress.  If you’re doing the Dragon challenge, copy the questions and post your answers on your site, but feel free to share a link to your blog in the comments here.

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Filed under Novel Writing, Seeking Publication, Writing Life, Writing Prompt