Tag: writer

Video Saturday: Writing advice, superheroes, and science fiction from @CatRambo via @MisanthropeMike Davis’ #LovecrafteZine

I don’t have much to say about this week’s video.  Mike Davis does a great interview and Cat Rambo is charming and informative and just fun to listen to.

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Submitting your Writing – Paying Markets Only?

I was recently in a discussion with a colleague about where to submit my short stories. I’ve had a few sales but am still very much the “shiny new writer.” Her suggestion was to publish wherever, get my name out there, and my work seen. Then I become more of a known quantity and at least for some collections and editors, have a greater chance for that  “extra second” in the reviewing process or potentially, an invitation to submit somewhere.

Less than a week later, I ended up in a similar discussion with a colleague from my writing group. Her response was – Absolutely not! Send your work to paying markets.  It doesn’t matter if your story is a perfect fit for this anthology’s theme or what they’re looking for; you should be looking for paying markets only.  If one doesn’t take it, keep sending it out.  Better to take time and receive rejections until it finally sells rather than “throw it away” on a non-paying market.

Now I’m somewhere in the middle of this argument.  Some of you may have read my post about using a Submission Matrix to determine where I send my writing to (although that mechanism doesn’t work particularly well with the rising number of anthologies – paid, unpaid, and “prestige” currently out there).  It’s a combination of looking at pay scales and publication reputation (based on awards such as Hugo or Nebula winners) to prioritize where I submit to.  Although I will say I am occassionally tempted by some themed anthologies, even if they are no-pay because the subject or issue interests me.  That’s where it becomes difficult for me to determine whether or not to follow through on submitting to that market.

So, when it doubt, I sought the advice of the internet and Harlan Ellison answered my question.  Albeit rather vehemently.  🙂  He says, writers should be paid and agreeing to work for nothing is amateurish and destructive for writers as a whole.  It isn’t just about money, but about respect for the work, and recognition that writing IS work.  I have to admit, I found his argument relatively persuasive.

What do you think?  Will you send you blood, sweat, and written work to non-paying markets?  Why?  Does this really benefit the “new” writer?  I’m curious to hear from other people.


Thinking about your Writing Mission Statement

WriterDayJobBookCoverLast night at #cvswrites, I brought in an exercise for us all to do.  But first, just as a bit of background, the current writing group membership has been together for a little over 5 years; I’d say about 80-90% of us have been published – usually for short stories – and all of us are working on our first novel.  As a group, we’ve had ups and we’ve had downs; we’ve shared in each others successes such as a new publication, we’ve encouraged each other when an agent has requested a manuscript and we’ve consoled each other over rejections and even more personal losses; and throughout it all, we continue to write – Humor, horror, science fiction, fantasy, steampunk; it didn’t matter as long as the stories were unique and moved us. We have our weekly goals and annually, we announce our hope-filled plans for the new year.

Last night, we embarked on an exercise that looked at our writing a little more broadly.  Recently, I’d begun reading Aine Greaney’s Writer with a Day Job.  Every so often, I peruse the writing books in the store and come away with one that tempts me.  It’s been a couple of years since that has happened.  However, after flipping through this book, I was intrigued.  From Aine Greaney’s site:  Writer With a Day Job: Inspiration & Exercises to Help You Craft a Writing Life Alongside Your Career offers guidelines on how to balance a day-job with a creative writing life.  The exercise is from the early part of the book and urges writers to examine their: Personal Writing Mission, their crazy dream, and in a worksheet really parse out what that MEANS.

DL Thurston has posted three of the questions along with his very thoughtful answers in a post titled, “The Kind of Writer….”  And that really is what the exercise is about:  Think about what kind of writer you really want to be and from there articulate what your writing dream/goal is.

To add to the discussion, I thought I’d post 3 additional questions that were part of the worksheet along with my answers.  🙂  If you’d like to examine the full sheet, I recommend picking up a copy of the book.  I’m not very far into it, but so far, it’s has been an enjoyable read and has already got me reconsidering how I view myself and my writing and what actions I need to better guide me towards my goals.

When readers read my work, I want them to:
Stay up all night because they had to finish the story.

When readers write to me, I want them to compliment my:
Characters.  Because they can really empathize with them and view them as real people.  (e.g. I soooo love X, I wish he’d fly into my house and sweep me away)

Three writing successes/wins that I want to have on my writerly resume are (okay, this one I made up and added to the worksheet as I thought it added to the discussion):

  • Be on a panel at a writing event
  • Be a part of a signing
  • Be a Guest of Honor at an event
  • Be nominated for an award
  • Be a Wikipedia entry  🙂     (Yes, I know I listed 5 successes.  What can I say, I’m an overachiever)

If those seem incomplete, it is because DL Thurston has the primary questions posted (and it seemed redundant to repost them) so make sure you stop by and take a look at his site.  Basically, you think about and write down your answers to the questions; those answers then help lead you to your overarching goal and mission statement as a writer. 

It was a really illuminating discussion we had amongst ourselves and fun to share.  Feel free to post YOUR answers too.  And of course check out Writer with a Day Job for yourself.


November Literary Birthdays

I was perusing the Internet and came across a page that listed literary birthdays. How cool is that? All right, for anything other that writers it probably isn’t that interesting, but did you know that there are a lot of famous writers with birthdays in November? Seriously!

Just to name a few. Let me start with those whose books we probably read as children:
Robert Louis Stevenson, the Scottish author of Kidnapped, Treasure Island, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. As my quote in my high school graduation yearbook, I used one of his poems from “A children’s garden of verses.”

Pippi Longstocking

Pippi Longstocking

Swedish children’s writer Astrid Lindgren. If she doesn’t sound familiar, don’t worry, I’m sure you might be more familiar with her creation – Pippi Longstocking.

Frances Hodgson Burnett is probably most well known as the writer of The Secret Garden but I think most of us today were might have been introduced to this classic through the many television and film versions.

The same could probably be said of English poet; and satirist Jonathan Swift and his classic Gulliver’s Travels which definitely has some unchildlike ideas.

And of course I have to mention Louisa May Alcott writer of Little Women and Little Men.

Rita Mae Brown

Rita Mae Brown - Sneaky Pie Mysteries

Then there are the famous November genre writers –
Mystery writer Rita Mae Brown, author of Rubyfruit Jungle and the Sneaky Pie mysteries. I have to say that I totally dug the idea of a cat solving mysteries.

For Horror, November is also the birthday month of Bram Stoker, creator of perhaps the most iconic vampire of all, Dracula.

Of course I have a couple of cross-over writers who, depending who is mentioning them are either listed as Christian writers or Fantasy and Science Fiction writers such as NYC-born Madeleine L’Engle (1918), novelist, and author of ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ who we sadly lost this year.

And of course, C. S. Lewis, the writer of the Narnia series. I just recently got to see the new movie version of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and although I enjoyed it, I still love the rich characters and worldbuilding in Lewis’ books better.

Whew! And there are even more – Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone with the Wind; Russian novelist Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky; Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes, Pulitzer Prize winner, Marianne Moore, Margaret Atwood, Nigerian writer Albert Achebe whose first novel was Things Fall Apart, David Mamet, the Chicago-born playwright and screenwriter of Glengarry Glen Ross fame and of course, Mark Twain, perhaps my most favourite writer of all time.

Mark Twain

Young Mark Twain

I hadn’t quite intended to have such a large list, but let me tell you, the original count was much higher. Seeing all of these writer’s whose work I loved and still love makes me want to go back and read them again. Remind myself what was so great about those works. After all, what better way to learn than from the best. Of course, this also makes me wish I was born in November.


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