Tag Info

Hot answers tagged

16

Two things: I prefer to read stories where there are no overt themes being highlighted by the author (or else they're so subtle I can't tell, or not noticeable because the characters and what's going on are too interesting). Choosing themes first then constructing a story to illustrate them will probably end up sounding contrived. I find when I focus on ...


14

Some Preliminary Words... I'm not entirely sure that withholding a character's name is the best way to go about producing an aura of mystery. In fact, this is something that I've seen in a lot of early writers (and I even did it a few times myself back in high school), but which almost never works. Usually, the reader just finds it incredibly annoying. Even ...


14

I can't say if it's reasonable or not, but it's not unheard of. There is also the fact that the editor does like your story. The biggest pro of going through with this is that you get your story published, but is it worth it? As you said, you are changing the timbre of the piece, and if it makes it something you're not happy with it might not be worth doing ...


12

The Tennessee Screenwriting association lists all 20 plots. That's all there are. If you find a story, it will use one (or several of them) but for many centuries, this list hasn't changed. For example, the nanobot story mentioned by Claudiu has the same basic plot as Golem (16th century) or Frankenstein's monster (1818) or Icarus (ancient greeks). There ...


12

The standard initial market for a short story is a literary magazine. Famous examples include The New Yorker for literary fiction and poetry. For science fiction and fantasy genres, notable options include Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov's, and others. As a general rule more prestigious magazines are able to be more choosy on what they end up ...


11

Rather than focusing on a single point as if you are writing an essay, you may want to focus on an ethos you want to create. View your story as world-building (this is something you will find Orson Scott Card, author of Ender's Game reference frequently). The world you are building will reward certain behaviors by your characters and punish others. The ...


10

This is called a "simultaneous submission," and a well-organized contest should have a clear-cut rule on whether or not they're allowed. If a particular contest doesn't call simultaneous submissions out specifically, the safest is to try and contact them and make sure what their rules are. At very least, be absolutely certain you can contact them and ...


9

If your work is appealing, it should work. Have you ever asked for a book to a friend, read it, fell in love with it, and started buying everything by that author? It happened to me with the Wheel of Time series, and with Jules Verne's works. So, by giving away the books, you're doing what a friend would do: give you the chance to know the author, the ...


9

It is absolutely acceptable. If your story requires a shift in scenes, for example, it would be totally appropriate to indicate that with some form of break. Whether you identify this by using extra space, an image, or any other means is ultimately a matter of personal preference. The main point is that you are using a common device to let your reader know ...


9

The classic solution is to introduce conflict or tension. These naturally intrigue the reader and command his attention. Any conflict, no matter how minor or subtle, is enough to engage the reader's curiosity to find out what happens next. In this context, "conflict" and "tension" are pretty much any negative outcome to the conversation that your ...


8

Writers of the Future is for SF/F, but it's the longest-running contest in the genre, and carries significant fame and prestige. No other contest comes close. WotF is specifically for unpublished writers, and occurs once a quarter. Check the website for entrance dates and other information.


8

It depends on the magazine. Many publications have submission guidelines, and you might check those for what anything required in the cover letter. I found an interesting variety of requests with a few minutes of googling. Asimov's Science-Fiction is clear on what they want: Your cover letter should contain the length of your story, your publishing ...


8

If "100k" and "50k" are word-counts (and in this context, that's certainly what I'd expect), that's "novella" (for ~50k words) up to "novel-length" (at 100k words). According to FictionFactor's word-count page, a "short story" is typically between 1000 and 7500 words, "novel" spans the 50k to 110k word span and novellas clock in at the 20k to 50k word mark. ...


8

Tread with caution. A lot of caution. Free stories to promote the author is a marketing strategy. As such, there are situations where it can be wonderful; situations it can be disastrous; situations it can be utterly harmless and entirely insignificant. I think these are the central questions you've got to ask yourself when considering writing freebies ...


8

I assume your students are interested in self-publishing. Traditional publishing is a whole different ball game. Key Factors To Consider Rights. One of the main draws of self-publishing is that you keep all your rights over your work. However, plenty of sub-par services exist which'll be happy to take 'em off your hands. Before posting work anywhere, and ...


8

If your change solves a problem that previously had no solution, there are likely people who have a stake in preserving the problem. If your change solves a problem better than some previous solution, there are people who have a stake in the old solution. If your change opens up new possibilities for people, then people don't yet know how to make the most ...


7

As the other answers suggest, this is largely an approach to be decided upon by the author - will work for some, and not for others. Stephen King said in "On Writing" that he preferred to get the story out and focus on theme afterwards. In fact, he considered it a part of revising and editing. I tend to agree with him, in that I have discovered the more I ...


7

Since your question has two parts, I'll address each separately. As far as how you can go about it, I would recommend that you self-publish as an e-book! You can use the web site below to get a free pdf version on how to get started. Someone made the following comment on a previous answer which has since been deleted: A self-published erotic novel will ...


7

It depends. For example, type "Time", or any other such common word, in Amazon. You will find there is more than book with that exact title. Certainly, when searching for books, I have found many books with the exact same title. In such cases, I use the author or genre to narrow down my search. On the other hand, if the book is in the same genre, then it ...


7

Yes, chapters are appropriate for the most part. If you're writing genre fiction, your editor will almost certainly separate into chapters if you don't, anyway--readers often rely on them. If you're not writing genre fiction, of course, you can do whatever the heck you like :) but what is important to keep in mind is that novellas are notoriously hard to ...


7

Agents generally do nothing for short stories. I have never heard of an agent representing a short story to a literary journal of any kind, since the 15% that they get from a sale would be too trivial of a sum to be worth their money. There are two things that an agent could potentially do for you at this stage in your career: Help you publish a short ...


7

Answer them now. They have put time into your story, at your request. Do not ask them to waste their time while you decide whether you want them to publish the story that you asked them to consider. This is why most publishers forbid simultaneous submissions. If the publisher in question allows them, give them the courtesy of a prompt reply. It sounds ...


7

A couple of pointers I've picked up (apologies if one of them is pulled from another post I wrote): 3-5 good descriptors are way better than 10 mediocre ones. If you're describing an employee breakroom, for instance, you might want to mention the stale glow of the flourescent lights, the constant smell of microwaved burrito, and the mismatched carpeting. ...


7

You absolutely can write a story with no dialogue. You also can write a story using only dialogue. You can and may do anything you wish in a work of fiction. That's what fiction is about. You have free rein. It is your story. And, importantly, it is a work of art. Would anyone have told Leonardo that he couldn't give the Mona Lisa that mysterious smile? ...


7

You have to identify them somehow. Use adjectives. The tall man vs. the short man The older man vs. the younger man The long-haired man vs. the man with the thistle-down hair The carpenter vs. the electrician The French man vs. the German man It may get repetitive to say "her hands rested on the carpenter's shoulders, just they way they rested on the ...


6

If you have a point that you do want to convey, this is certainly a legitimate practice. You shouldn't make artificial points just to have them, however. It is important to ensure that your point does not become too contrived, as well. There are cases where everything should be a microcosm of your main theme, but they are rare, even in a short story. You ...


6

I think we already have a question about generally marketing a book, so I keep the first part short (hopefully the second also): Get a blog (oh, you have one, good!) and post about your stories, pricing, etc. Tell it your family, friends, colleagues Make meaningful posts to other forums, blogs, or other sites (like what you are doing here). Do not mention ...


6

I wouldn't say you need to know anything new, but I think you need to know a new side of the old stuff. Writing short stories is a distinct skill: there are people who are masters at it, and people who are much better with more space. A Gabe says, the basic elements of fiction are the same whether the work is long or short, but the way you use these ...


6

It very much depends on the quality of the contest, and that depends in turn on the quality of the judges and whether they provide any sort of feedback to the authors. "Did I win or not?" is pretty crude measure of quality. I was at the Writers of the Future awards ceremony recently here in Los Angeles, and I was struck by the fact that every winner ...


6

I had the same problem as well. I've got key scenes scattered here and there (though mine tend to be near the end) that inspire me, and no idea how to get there. Sad to say, the only solution I've found is to write, throw it all away, and rewrite. Rinse and repeat many, many times. Even if it starts off as embarrassingly awkward, it's a base to work from. ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible