Archive for August, 2014

STRUGGLING TO GET IT PUBLISHED: FINDING MARKETS, DUOTROPE

Back in the day when I was on the road to becoming a famous poet, a hint on where that road led – picture the final scene in the movie Thelma & Louise, I used books and magazines to fine markets where I could submit my work. Pounding out poems on my electric typewriter, going through gallons of white-out, off they would go along with the required SASE. This was long before the home computer came into existence, before the internet was even a twinkle in Al Gore’s eye.   How things have changed since my early writing years. The books and magazines still exist, but I can guarantee, at least for the books, by the time they are published much of the information is outdated, unless the book is accompanied by a website to maintain currency, save your money.

My go-to source for finding markets for my work nowadays is the website Duotrope, providing over 4000 markets for poetry, fiction and non-fiction and constantly updated. Up until a few years ago it was free, now it will cost you $5 a month or $50 a year. If you register, you can get a free trial. If you are serious about submitting your work, you can’t go wrong giving this website a try. I’ve included a link at the end of this piece.

The site offers searches by the publisher’s name, or if you want to search all markets for your specific piece, you can do that too. In the later type of search, you are given the options of genre, length, pay scale, and a more specific breakdown within your genre. You can also query to see if the publisher accepts reprints, simultaneous and multiple submissions. Also available for most publishers is their response time and percentage of acceptances.

Upon completion of your search you are provide with a list of primary and secondary markets that meet your criteria. On the Duotrope page listing the publisher’s specifications you will also find a link to the publisher’s website. This feature saves tons of time in your submission process. Your search and then be saved if for some reason you first offer of the piece is rejected. I’m trying to be both ironic and humorous.

Finally, you receive a weekly email listing current market updates. One look at this list of weekly market activity will clearly demonstrate how rapidly a book of markets becomes outdated.

If you want to stay on the cutting edge of where to submit your work, I highly suggest you look into Duotrope.

https://duotrope.com/index.aspx

August 26, 2014 at 12:32 am Leave a comment

SOUNDS OF SUMMER OUTSIDE MY WINDOW

 

Pity those locked away in their air-conditioned sanctuaries safe from the heat, but sheltered behind those closed window they are also prohibited from hearing the sounds of summer. The silent night is not silent at all with windows open.

During the day, even with windows closed, you cannot deny the scream of cicadas. Beginning slow and then building to a crescendo only to suddenly go silent, as if a mighty hand has pulled the plug powering their song. This everyone will hear, but it is the muse of the night lost behind closed window.

Throughout the night, setting a background mood, are the soft whispers of crickets. Late in the evening, frogs join in with a chorus of croaks and calls telling on another to come a callin’.   Late in the dead of night you might hear a fox join in with its own mysterious music calling to a mate, a call liken to the scream of a woman in the grip of terror. On occasion, that fox may provide a more true sound of terror and fear, the death of a terrified rabbit caught during a midnight hunt.

All the sounds of a summer night come to a close as the eastern horizon lightens with the promise of another day and birdsong fill the air.

August 22, 2014 at 11:55 pm 2 comments

STRUGGLING TO GET IT WRITE: A WRITER’S NEED TO READ

I want to approach the making of a writer from a new direction, that with reading in mind.

These thoughts are the result of the ongoing question I have: Can imagination be taught? I have pondered this topic in past posts. You can be taught how to write, but can you be taught what to imagine, taught how to provide that spark which becomes a work of fiction. Some writers use prompts to get their writing juices flowing, but I feel these prompts could provide either the imagination trigger for a piece or merely a subject, depending on the individual. The crux of the effort is the individual.

The birth of this piece is the fact we are told over and over that when a writer is not writing he should be reading. As I write this I continue to perform mental gymnastics. If you must be encouraged to read can writing be in your future? For some reason, I have always had a burning desire to read which required no encouragement and feel naked when books are not present or readily available. I’ve always felt that the more vivid your imagination, the more enjoyment you derive from reading, the more vivid your imagination the more brilliant the pictures created in your mind as you read a book. Images which a video game or television show cannot compete with. In this sense, a writer can’t help but be a reader feeling incomplete without a book close by. For that book is feeding what is the life’s blood of the writer – his imagination.

 

August 20, 2014 at 7:47 pm 2 comments

STRUGGLING TO GET IT PUBLISHED: INTRODUCTION

While contemplating topics for my blog, I came to the realization that I needed a new category. In my much acclaimed (in my own mind) STRUGGLING TO GET IT WRITE category I found I was considering areas having more to do with publishing and less with writing. With that in mind, my discussion of self-publishing will move to this new area, STRUGGLING TO GET IT PUBLISHED.

Yes my friends, I find little connected to the art of writing that is not a struggle, at least for me.

The primary topics I plan to cover are finding a trustworthy publisher, finding an agent, again identifying the unworthy, query letters and organizations which may help you along that bumpy road to publication. And as mentioned above, I’ll continue to take a look at self-publishing under this heading.

That’s what I have planned for this new ‘struggle’. Hopefully this information will aid you on your journey to becoming a published writer.

August 17, 2014 at 7:11 pm Leave a comment

REFDESK.COM, AN AWESOME WEBSITE FOR WRITERS AND NEWS JUNKIES

,’Refdesk,com is a website I check on a daily basis.  It overflows with connection to other sites of varying interests and links to newspapers to name of few of the rewards it offers.

Here’s the link.

http://www.refdesk.com/

As a science fiction writer and also a reading addict, I thought I’d share three sites I always check.

The first is ‘Today In Literature’ which serves to provide a wealth of literary background.

http://www.todayinliterature.com/

The same can be said for ‘Writer’s Almanac’ hosted by Garrison Keillor.

http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/

Finally, there’s ‘Science Daily’ chock-full of articles on up-to-the-minute scientific findings.  I use this site as a source of ideas for stories. If the lead story in Top Science News generate a story idea for someone I’ll eat all my Arthur C. Clarke novels.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/

August 10, 2014 at 7:39 pm 2 comments

LYNN’S WORLD KEEPS ON ‘GROWING’

My daughter, Lynn, had an article published about the farming in the Philadelphia Inquirer today.
Of course, I thought I’d share.

http://www.philly.com/philly/food/20140807_Farm_food__stat_.html

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20140807_inq_fd1rodale07z-i

August 7, 2014 at 5:03 pm Leave a comment

STRUGGLING TO GET IT WRITE: PEOPLE WATCHING

Reading as a writer, I am constantly in awe of details ‘good writers’ see in their characters. The emotions, mannerisms and body language, to say nothing of physical description, bring a writer’s characters off the paper and strut before you, and let you hear them speak when the tone of their voice is described. One of my favorite details, which I have seen a few times is: ‘His mouth smiled, but that smile did not reach his eyes.’ I can truly say that, in real life, I do not know if I am capable of detecting that emotion.

I’ve always thought of myself as more of an observer than a participant in this complex existence, but I’m beginning to find that my observations are lacking in detail, not adequately fulfilling my writer’s needs. I working on remedying that flaw, but can it really be corrected? Can your level of observation be actively increased or is it just something you’re born with?

To bring a character to life, the writer must have a clear picture of that character in his head, both physically and emotionally. The better the writer is able to accomplish this feat, the better the story. I’m in the process of struggling to slow the act of writing down, to expand on the details that bring the character to life. I tend to rush my writing and concentrate more on plot and action. I now seek a more balanced approach between character and action.

While recently watching a documentary by Ken Burns about the life of Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain). I’m sure PBS will provide ample opportunities for you to view it if you missed it. I highly recommend you watch it. One comment that struck me was how Clemens spent years observing the world around him and the people populating it long before he knew he would become a writer of fiction. For example, he would notice whether a man had his hands in his pocket or not, and what the contents of those pockets probably were.

August 5, 2014 at 7:21 pm Leave a comment


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