Tag Archives: fiction writing

2016 Holiday Roundup For Fiction & Poetry Submissions


two-hot-toddy-cocktail-drinks-cinnamon-lemmon-whisky-rum-apple-brandy-set-rustic-wood-35766231 Happy Holidays Creatives!

Now that I’ve completed my six week free fiction writing course, How Writers Write Fiction 2016 For Storied Women,  which I enjoyed immensely and obtained a writing buddy to boot, by the way, I’ve decided to take a well deserved holiday time out!

But, I’m not leaving y’all high and dry here either. Here are a few 2016 Holiday roundups that are accepting fiction and poetry writing submissions in December. This is a last shout out for folks to submit something wonderful in 2016, before ringing in a brand new year.

So, come on people, let’s do the dang thing!

http://www.boulevardmagazine.org/short-fiction-contest

http://www.poetrysociety.org/psa/awards/annual,

http://www.lascauxreview.com  lascaux prize in short fiction

I hope there’s something here you might want to tackle and if you have a link to last-minute submissions for 2016, feel free to share. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a productive and Happy New Year!
Good luck in all of your writing endeavors and I hope to see y’all back here, sharing great news in 2017!
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How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women


Happy  October everyone!  I love to watch the seasons change and fall is one of my favorite times of the year, just because Mother Nature brings vibrant colors that are so darn awesome 🙂  This is also the time for freelancers to take stock and do inventory on their accomplishments and yes, failures, in order to make strategic plans to learn more, grow more and implement better. Knowledge is power and I love learning.

On that note, I’m happy to share information on another upcoming Iowa University’s free fiction writing class. This class, although opened to everyone, is geared specifically toward women stories! Take a look-see  🙂

Registration begins on Oct 11th for Iowa University’s~How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women. I think these 6-8 week classes are valuable because seasoned writers and newbies get to interact on  the class forums, with these alumni professors of writing and teachers who critique your work and offer valuable nuggets to drive your stories to publication. And did I mention that the classes are free?!

Participating writers who take the class are provided class discussions before assignments are handed out and get to share with other writers who become this family of creatives from different areas and stages in their careers. I love this class and recommend it to all who want to up their game. Certifications are available to those wanting to showcase their achievements.

I look forward to seeing you all there. https://novoed.com/how-writers-write-…

As you all know, I will be posting at my sites monthly, preferably on Mondays, but I wanted to get this info out because the time to register is fast approaching and for all of you  Johnnie-come-latelys, you can opt to register later, but who wants to be late for an exciting writing class!

Quote:

freelancers feel more empowered, respected and motivated than ever before. Let’s use that energy to come together and make freelancing better for all.

Yours in solidarity,


Sara Horowitz
Founder & Executive Director
Freelancers Union

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How To Get Better At Your Craft


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This week, I received rejection letters in my email for two short story submissions. I thought, Okay, back to the drawing board, people.

I could have used those competition winnings,for sure, but I learned early on in this business, you don’t cry over cryptic rejections. Trust and believe, those fiction pieces will be proofed and re-edited for submission in due time.

Get this: You can become better at your craft!

Those of us in the business of using our creative gifts, in hopes of making a sustainable living , understand this process. It takes time to create something great! Success will not be a walk in the park. But, every writer,  poet, author, entrepreneur business owner and artist, can become a winner if they keep practicing their craft.

The late comedian Bernie Mac learned the lesson of rejection and practice the hard way. He started doing standup in various venues and really won over the crowd . When he got an offer to appear on stage with Arsenio Hall, at a famous comedy club, Bernie knew he had finally made it.

His wife remembers asking him if he was going to write his monologue for the gig, but Bernie reportedly told her that he didn’t have to write any jokes because they were all in his head.

Needless to say, Bernie Mac bombed. He was mortified and it took him four months to regain his confidence and get back to what he loved doing most.

This time the comedian came prepared. He took notes on some of the biggest names in comedy. He studied their movements, mannerisms, timed their improve; took note of their deliverance and zingers. When The Kings of Comedy came knocking, Bernie Mac answered and became a rising star in comedy, film and television.

A participant in the creative arts have to develop a thick skin and persist. Rejection comes with the territory and are mere stepping-stones to seeing that return on your investment. You have to keep going; take classes in your area of expertise and study the experts.

(Study the experts,creative; don’t try to emulate them. Be yourself)

I can’t guarantee continued practice will make your work perfect, but I do know you will become better at your craft.

Today’s quote sort of put things in perspective for me. I hope it brings a smile.

Enjoy!

“Most of the writers I know work every day, in obscurity and close to poverty, trying to say one thing well and true. Day in, day out, they labor to find their voice, to learn their trade, to understand nuance and pace. And then, facing a sea of rejections, they hear about something like Barbara Bush’s dog getting a book deal.” — Timothy Egan

Interesting Writing Projects


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Happy Friday, writers!  Today is a good day and I’m thankful. I’ve been working  on proofreading and editing a bunch of my formerly rejected fiction stories and fine tuning  selected poems for upcoming contest submissions.

Most of these  contests are non fee based and open to those of us who appreciate a financial boost from time to time, on this freelance writing road to acceptance. I hope you find something of interest:

http://writersrelief.com/peter-k-hixson-writing-award/

http://www.freelancewriting.com/writingcontests/072015-narrative-poetry-contest.php

http://writingcareer.com/post/121777231126/the-virginia-quarterly-review-reopens-for-prose

https://mastersreview.com/short-story-award-for-new-writers/

There’s something here for every writer and I know the writer in you can appreciate a good challenge as well as I do. So go at it. Flex your creative writing muscle and take a break from the mind suck that comes from writing your huge book projects.

“Or, is it just me?” 🙂

Here’s your writing inspiration for today:

“If you ever get stuck, ask yourself what happens next, then next, then next. Don’t get an idea for a situation; develop the arc for your story. Pretty much every story goes like this: Someone is complacent, they face a challenge, the challenge nearly beats them, they find a way to conquer the challenge, then emerge changed at the other end.” — Sean Platt
Do you pencil in small writings projects to take a brief hiatus from your huge projects or do you soldier on to completion?

 

 

 

Building Characters In Fiction Writing


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The best part of writing short stories for me, in the past, has been building characters from my imagination. Granted, most of those characters weren’t as well rounded as they should have been. Perhaps, that’s why I’ve only placed in fiction writing as a runner up or with an honorable mention,but never won first, second or third place- penning a winning poem is a walk in the park in comparison!

I’ve always done well with my personal writings also, but after numerous rejections of my stories in fiction writing competitions this year alone, I was prompted to do something about it and that’s why I took not one, but two Fiction Writing Classes! Dang, I’m so glad I took the plunge and followed through with something:)

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It doesn’t matter if your characters are for an animated tale, a thrilling suspense novel or a shoot em’ up cowboy in a Western, characters have to be realistic to you and to your readers. I feel I’ve learned a lot more than when I started writing fiction from taking the online classes at FutureLearn and Iowa University. These are free classes lasting 8 weeks and taught by some of the bestselling authors and masters at teaching aspiring writers and authors the business of fiction writing.

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Here are some refresher tips from my FutureLearn Writing class I thought worthy of a fare thee well shout out:

Get to know about your character’s inner life: what they want, think, remember, resent, fear, dream, deny.
Get to know about your character’s behaviour, what they wear, buy, eat, say, work at and play at.
Get to know how your character speaks and how this changes according to context, mood and intention.
See and describe your character vividly, how they look, how they move, their possessions and surroundings.
Focus on your character’s contradictions and conflicts in order to create a complex person and also to generate plot.
Remember the main methods of character presentation: summary, appearance, habit, scene, self-portrait and combinations of these method

Workshop Writing Critiques


thstory critiqueToday marks the completion of The University of Iowa’s 8 week “How Writers Write Fiction” class . The moderators of the class chooses a participant’s story to discuss and dissect in their workshops at the end of each assignment. I was astonished to get an email from one of the class Moderators, telling me that my story “Inside Bailey’s Department Store” was chosen for critique, along with that of another writer, from our last class assignment called “Revision and Rediscovery.”

 

thbekiniLet’s just say, this is not my first rodeo and prior experiences weren’t very comforting! I didn’t know how to take this news and I didn’t want to read what an oasis of established writers and authors had to say about my work. What if I never recovered from the sharp scrutiny?

The revised version of a story I wrote, called “Inside Bailey’s Department Store” was compared to the original story. The story’s protagonist is a ten-year old girl facing down her bullies in a dept store. All Sam wanted to do was buy a couple of mystery books by Ellery Queen.

Here are some of the critiques to my story:

In my opinion, Clara is particularly good at tying precise details to character.  Some examples from her original:

He was turning the page to a Popular Science magazine and muttering to himself.

She had waited a long time to buy  ‘City of Gold and Shadows’, the new mystery by Ellis Peters whose books were her favorites, next to the Ellery Queens mysteries.

Sam wasn’t afraid to fight, but, she was taught to avoid it if she could, so even though she just felt like the wind had been knocked out of her, Sam retreated from the school grounds and a quickly gathering crowd of animated kids.  (This might have worked better expressed with more action or dialog, but had it been in the revision, it would have made her telling on the kids at the end more believable.)

Your suggestion to focus on writing what we’re good at and not our failures is so helpful to me as I prepare to review exercises from this course for revision.  What a great parting gift Christa.  Thank you!

In the revised version, Clara has cut out all the little storytelling details that don’t directly address the main event and I think the piece is so much stronger because of this.  We don’t get sidetracked by secondary characters who have no real part in the story and instead can concentrate on the three girls.  We understand Sam, the reader, eagerly saving her pocket money and we understand the two bullies who are also budding thieves.  I love the neat ending where the bullied reacts in a clever way.  She may pay for this the next day but for now she can make a stand and enjoy the consequences.  What a great revision.

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Moira, it is a quite a satisfying ending, isn’t it? If the story were freed of the 400-word constraint, how would you feel about the extra characters and storytelling details? In other words, do you think the word limit makes them extraneous or do you think they are actually extraneous?Yes, what they all said. This is a highly effective revision. The first one has some lovely descriptions, but then puts me outside the scene hearing what’s happening between the girls. The revision brings the scene to life with an immediacy and a directness that puts me with the girls. I agree that the detail of the place is lost, which is not critical to me if this is a standalone piece but I’d be more interested if Bailey’s had relevance to a wider story. I also agree that all the measurement details are a bit distracting. It’s enough to know that the bullies are bigger, and intimidating. Oh, and the dialogue in the revision was far more powerful, believable and effective. I wasn’t particularly buying the line ​’You are plain and ugly and you have no friends!” Mary said . and the use of indirect speech had a distancing effect on me.

 I think it would be interesting to imagine this as a longer piece in which Bailey’s has some critical role in multiple storylines. Your comments are spot in about the immediacy and directness in the second version. I think that the emotional distances are greater in the first draft. I do love so many things about the first draft, however. Most particularly, I adore the setting that is established inside the store. I hope that Clara is able to meld the best of these two versions into one story later.

I agree with frostyfreya that the measurement details are distracting and unnecessary.

Also, most of the world outside of the U.S. uses the metric system, not our antiquated English system of measurement. To those folks, heights like 4’9″ don’t mean anything.

StoryOctober14P1I suppose from these and other professional writers opinions/critiques, I might have a “writing” chance! I enjoyed participating in this online class. It was a massive gathering of writers worldwide, who came to write and share with their colleagues. I highly recommend The IWP MOOC for newbies and seasoned writers.

How do you feel about having your work critiqued?

How To Animate A World: Fiction Writing Class


My Fiction writing class is going well. We’re at the 5th assignment mark , where we are  instructed to write a 400 word dialogue between three characters who are put in a conversation where they don’t know what’s happening. I’m also looking forward to starting the FutureLearn Writing Class on Monday.

If you’re interested in this class, go to http://www.open.ac.uk/choose/ou/open-content or visit their Facebook page at https:.www.facebook.com/theopenuniversity .

I thought this video might stir the juices of creatives who want to become the next Stephen King or somewhere there abouts 🙂

This week, the class is “How To Animate a World” and it’s about creating character and dialogue. We’re learning from some of the best established authors out here. For this assignment, two moderators said something that resonated with me.  Margot Livesey, author of seven novels and one short story collection reminds us that dialogue in fiction is more than ‘showing not telling;’ it’s showing what can’t be told.”

Mahsa Mohebal , author of 4 works of fiction tells writers that it’s very important to be a writer for yourself-not for your friends.

Hmm, I suppose I should start drafting those character dialogues, because I’m plain tired of having my short stories rejected.

What are you doing to enhance your professional development ?