Tag Archives: short story

Closing Soon: Open Call from Sunspot Lit

Since launching in January of 2019, Sunspot has amplified multinational voices from around the world. The pSLJFrontublication is accepting fiction, poetry, nonfiction, scripts, screenplays, photography, and art until November 30. Translations and extremely long-form pieces are accepted. Submit here or visit the website here.

New Multi-genre Writing Contest

SunspotSunspot Literary Journal wants your best fiction, nonfiction, or poetry opening. No restrictions on theme, category, or length of the piece from which the beginning is excerpted.

Length for the entry: Up to 250 words for prose. Up to 25 words for poetry. 

First place winner will be published, and finalists will be offered the opportunity to be published. Enter as many times as you like. Simultaneous submissions accepted. Work can have won other awards without being disqualified.

Cash award of $250 for the winner.

Link here to submit today. 

Closing October 31, 2019. 

Contest for Authors and Artists

C*nt Contest for Authors and Artists from Sunspot Literary Journal

Words are important. Words are so powerful that certain ones have been weaponized to use against specific groups of people.

C*nt is one of many, but in the world today, it is more incendiary than ever. Submit a story, essay, poem, or art piece that talks about c*nt in your life:

-When did you first encounter the word?

-Have you taken on this word and ones like it as a rallying cry?

-Have you ever used it to refer to someone else?

Send your rants, your ribald comedy, a poem, or a photo that cuts to the core. You do not have to use the word within your submission as long as you are conjuring the essence of some element of this word and its use.

All submissions for this contest will be compiled for a special edition of Sunspot Literary Journal. First place winners and two runners-up from each category will be published in summer of 2019.

All first-place winners will be considered for a cash award. The best of the best will receive $50.

The C*nt Contest is now open for submissions. Deadline: March 31, 2019.

Tin House to Close; Sunspot to Open

books-2158737_1920June of 2019 will see the last Tin House literary magazine roll off the presses. After twenty years publishing original fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, Tin House is saying goodbye.

The move was done in the face of mounting costs associated with print publishing. Rob Spillman, the co-founder and editor, is moving on to other areas. The closing brings an end to a very long stretch of quality contributions to the literary arena.

While some new works will still be published on Tin House’s website, the loss of yet another print publication is difficult for writers. Much of the industry still gives more weight to credits in print publications, so the loss of even one magazine can be bad news.

There is a bright spot, however. Sunspot Literary Magazine is launching in January of 2019. For the first year, one print edition will be published. The magazine hopes to add additional print editions in subsequent years.

Meanwhile, digital editions are scheduled for every quarter. The founder is also considering adding frequent special editions that focus on a single author or a single category.

The magazine’s mission is to “change the world through words,” and is open to new and established authors and artists. Submissions of short stories, flash fiction, poetry, essays, art, interviews, and reviews of books, movies and galleries are being accepted through Sunspot’s Submittable portal.

This is an excellent opportunity to be heard and to enact the change you want to see.

Ficton Contest Now Open

The Laine Cunningham long-form fiction contest is open. Now in its fifth year, the contest awards $1,000 to first place, $500 to second place, $250 for third place, and a certificate for honorable mention.

Fiction ranging from 30,000 words up is eligible. The manuscripts can be novels, novellas, short story collections, mixtures of various forms (including short prose and flash fiction), YA, New Adult and adult romance, sci-fi, literary, mainstream…pretty much as long as it meets the minimum length requirement, anything goes.

Details are available on Writer’s Resource’s website under the Writing Contest tab.

How Much Will a Written Analysis of My Book Cost?

A written analysis is one of the most popular services authors request. This examines the structural and storytelling elements of fiction and memoirs such as opening chapters, the
ending, primary events, character development/history, point of view, use of narrative and dialog, and other critical components. When the work is nonfiction, the structural and writing elements of that category are considered.
The write-up for a manuscript of average length is usually between 10 and 15 single-spaced pages. This is all narrative text; no tables, charts or graphs are used as filler. The commentary points out major and minor issues that should be addressed. It also makes recommendations for how to correct the issues along with discussions of how specific changes might resonate with other areas of the manuscript.
The usual turnaround time is 3 to 4 weeks.
The rate for a manuscript of standard length is $6.50 per double-spaced page. Short story or article/essay collections have a slightly higher fee if each piece is short.

There is a minimum fee for shorter books; if the project is longer than average, a flat rate is applied because the per-page rate would become prohibitive.

If you decide that you do not have the time to implement the recommendations or would like the work done for you for other reasons, this can be accomplished as the second step. A price quote will be created at that time based on the amount of work to be done. If the work progresses within 30 days of delivering the write-up, 60% of the write-up fee will be credited to that price quote.

Another way to approach this issue is to work with only the first 100 pages, including a synopsis. This allows me to see how you are handling the primary structural elements on the page. Since so often the primary issues appear in those first 100 pages, the mini-analysis can help you take a big step forward in a more affordable fashion. The write-up you receive averages 4 to 6 single-spaced pages. Once you see how certain issues impact those opening pages, you can extend the lessons learned to the rest of what you’ve already written.

Turnaround for a mini-analysis averages 2.5 to 3 weeks. The rate is a flat fee of $985.

Book Agent Info: Barer Literary

William Boggess of Barer Literary is looking for fiction with strong voices and a fresh perspective. He loves Southern fiction and story collections.

In nonfiction, he’s interested in literary memoir, popular science, narrative history, and smart sportswriting. 

Publishing Short Stories as Single Downloads

Earlier this week, I wrote about the rising interest in short stories. Check out this article for more on singles and how they can impact your writing career.

Short Stories are Gaining Popularity

In the New York TImes, Leslie Kaufman says,

“Story collections, an often underappreciated literary cousin of novels, are experiencing a resurgence, driven by a proliferation of digital options that offer not only new creative opportunities but exposure and revenue as well.”

The resurgence of short stories as a viable book form has been growing steadily for the past three  years. A combination of factors impacts this trend.

First, publishers have been adding more short story collections to their catalogs because they recognize that a portion of dedicated readers want to be able to pick up a book for a shorter period. Reading one short story in a collection allows them to read for a brief time. They return later, sometimes much later, to the same story collection without having lost the threads they have to remember when reading novels.

Second, stories can be marketed directly to readers through programs like Amazon’s shorts. Publishing a short story as a single download allows readers to sample an author’s work…thus having the added benefit of potentially driving new readers to their novels.

Third, although the internet allows for individual stories to reach certain audiences, they are still within the walls of that magazine’s readership. Collections and single downloads can reach broader audiences.

Finally, short stories have traditionally had an upper limit that doesn’t necessarily serve every story. Electronic publishing of singles and print publishing of collections allows for very long short stories that might otherwise never be published to be disseminated.

Short Stories

Over the past five years, there has been a resurgence in popularity for short stories. Usually authors have had to work with a book-length collection before getting a publisher’s eye. With digital technology, though, there’s a much bigger market for shorts. Check out this article from the New York Times for more.

Brainstorming

Writers know that they have to help readers suspend their disbelief. It’s also critical that viewers watching a film do the same. This interview comes from the corporate world but if you read it with your author’s eye, you’ll find some great advice.

–Present your story in their context. That is, connect with readers where they are, not from your lofty position as all-seeing author. Use concrete details to evoke emotions, paint images and usher  readers into the fictional world.

–Be curious. Ask questions. What if the plot twists here? Why does this character act that way? Where does this one plot point happen? When in his life does the major turning point come? How can the character grow, change, develop?

–Weaknesses are irrelevant. Focus more on your strengths. That doesn’t mean ignore the weaknesses; just don’t get so hung up on them you forget your strengths.

Amazon Reviews

If you’ve been following the recent controversies about Amazon’s reviews (and the reviews that show up on other sites), you know the problem: marketers and/or authors are paying for good reviews to help boost their ratings at Amazon and/or sales.

Here’s the flip side of that review process. This article talks about how fans of Michael Jackson are hitting a new biography with one-star reviews to sink the book’s ratings.

The author calls the attack a way to use the right to free speech against the right to free speech. The reviews themselves aren’t flawed. But the engines that rank according to the number of stars on the review clearly is flawed. Any author who’s works are sold on Amazon or other e-retailers needs to be aware of the kinds of social movements that can impact their sales.

Story Ideas: Tips

Here’s a post that lists 5 ways to generate story ideas. One of the tips is to read your junk mail…um, OK.

Now, I’ve been writing and editing for twenty years. In my experience, it’s pretty rare that writers actually need ways to come up with story ideas. It’s actually more of a problem to decide which of those ideas is strong enough to support a story, what format that story should take, and how best to put it on the page.

However, the same article suggests taking a small scene from one story or book and expanding it into an entirely new story. I’ve had clients do this with classic works of mythology to great success. And of course there’s the retelling of Gone with the Wind and other classic novels from different points of view that recently have become bestsellers.

So…what’s your take on story ideas? Do they come in a flood or a trickle? What helps, what hinders?

Workshop: Query Letters in NC

Writing the Perfect Query Letter with Laine Cunningham, presented by Alice Osborn

Location: Center for Excellence, 3803-B Computer Dr. Suite 106, Raleigh, NC 27609

Saturday, March 9     Time:  1:30-4:30pm

Fee:  $55 (Early Bird till March 1st)/$75 after

Registration: Click here  

Your query letter is every bit as important as the opening pages of your novel. It’s your first opportunity to show your writing skills to a prospective agent or editor. Make it count! Make it shine! A good query letter should make that editor and agent want to read your material…and it should grab their hearts in the thirty seconds or so they give each query in their pile. In this class, publishing consultant and owner of the Writer’s Resource Laine Cunningham will discuss the three important elements to inject into your query so you can get published. Fiction and nonfiction authors writing books, stories or articles will benefit from this class.

Laine Cunningham’s clients consistently garner attention from the nation’s top publishers and agents. Several of her clients’ books have been shopped around Hollywood and have received film options. She has been quoted on CNN MoneyMedia Bistro, and The Writer Magazine for her opinion on the end of the Harry Potter series, the “Oprah Effect,” and Sarah Palin’s ghostwriter. She has presented workshops and lectures for The Loft, the nation’s largest independent literary organization; the National Writer’s Union; The Writer’s Workshop in Asheville and writing conferences across the country.

Short Story Collections

This article from Review Review is probably familiar to those of you who write short stories. Too often authors hear from agents and publishers that their collection is fantastic in so many ways…but they aren’t interested unless the author also has a novel.

I’ve sponsored a writing contest for the last four years. When I first approached the literary magazine that administers the contest, the publisher and senior editor both agreed that short story collections, linked or not, would be accepted and encouraged as submissions.

Last year a collection won first place, and in previous years, collections have placed second, third, or as honorable mention. The Blotter and I are very clear in our support of short stories as viable, living art.