Places to submit

What do Contest Judges Look for?

Recently I was one of three judges for a writing contest. We didn’t agree during the first round of reading on the winners. It took re-reading and much discussion to select the three winners. So that got me to thinking. What do contest judges look for when choosing winning entries? My fellow judges and I came up with: Make sure to follow the guidelines. They aren’t arbitrary. The guidelines are specific for a reason. Make sure to follow the criteria of what genre the contest is. Don’t submit memoir if the contest is fiction. Even though the judges may not be able to tell for sure if something is fiction or memoir . . . if it feels like memoir, it probably is. And that won’t work in a fiction contest. The winning entries that stood out excelled in creative writing and well-crafted stories. The writing and stories were compelling,…

Places to submit

New England Review

The March/April 2016 issue of Writer’s Digest Magazine is bursting with excellent information for writers. For example: Details about submitting to New England Review. New England Review: “Offers readers poems, stories and essays that are formally inventive and traditional.” There is a $2 fee for poetry submissions and $3 fee for prose. About NER: “By publishing new fiction, poetry, and nonfiction that is both challenging and inviting, New England Review encourages artistic exchange and thought-provoking innovation, providing publishing opportunities for writers at all stages in their careers. ” Payment: Payment for work published in the journal is $20 per page (with thanks to a grant from the NEA), $100 for cover art, plus two copies of the issue in which the work appears and a one-year subscription. For online publication in NER Digital, payment is $50 and a one-year subscription to the print magazine.

Quotes

“I’ve only regretted stuff I’ve left in . . . ” —Jojo Moyes

Jojo Moyes discusses her writing process with Jessica Strawser in the January 2016 issue of the Writer’s Digest magazine. “Frequently I will write chapters that I end up having to ditch. And they might be beautifully crafted, they might contain things I’m really proud of, but you have to be ruthless. There comes a point when you know in your gut something just isn’t working, or isn’t as good as it should be. What I’ve found over the years is that I’ve never regretted anything I’ve ditched—I’ve only regretted stuff I’ve left in.” The January 2016 issue of Writer’s Digest magazine is loaded with fantastic information for writers. Buy it now, because if you wait. . . you know how it goes. . . you’ll forget, or it will be off the newsstands. Or. . . aha! Lightbulb moment. . . Subscribe! I have been a subscriber for years and…

Just Write

Personal Essay is Memoir in Short Form

If you have written your memoir, or are in the process, and it’s not shaping into what you envisioned, you could transform it into a personal essay. It might be easier, at some point, to concentrate on writing a personal essay, rather than a book-length manuscript. There are many posts on The Write Spot Blog about how to write personal essays. (Please scroll down for the how-to posts). You may be writing vignettes to satisfy your desire to write family stories. You can publish these with the help of many do-it-yourself publishing companies. If you want your personal essays to be published for public consumption, there are many opportunities for submission: Big Brick Review, Chicken Soup for The Soul, The Christian Science Monitor,  Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction and so many more places. Check the back pages of Writer’s Digest magazine. You can submit your writing to be included in…

Just Write

How to turn memoir into fiction

What if you have written your memoir, or are in the process, and it just isn’t working? What to do? You might decide to publish your work as fiction based on fact, rather than memoir. Adair Lara’s article might be helpful: “10 Ways to Tell if Your Story Should be a Memoir or a Novel” in the January 23, 2012 issue of Writer’s Digest magazine. You can use prompts on The Write Spot Blog for inspiration, especially, “Make a list of pivotal events, Prompt #40” and “How to write fiction based on fact,” Prompt #41.” If you don’t want to write about what happened exactly as it happened, you can use the emotions you felt during the event. Tap into those emotions to write strong scenes. Sometimes it’s helpful to see examples of ideas you want to pursue. The following novels are based on fact. Half-Broke Horses, by Jeannette Walls,…

Places to submit

What do these writers have in common?

Bella Andre, David Corbett and Jordan Rosenfeld have all been Writers Forum of Petaluma presenters. Scroll down for details. The September 2014 issue of Writer’s Digest magazine is filled with practical, helpful and inspirational articles. Bella Andre is on the cover. Her story, “Romancing Big Publishers With E-book Success” might encourage you to go the indie route for publishing or try traditional. She also talks about why she uses a pen name. Do you wonder about “pacing and tension?” Jessica Page Morrell has written an article that explains it in easy-to-understand format. Donald Maass writes about “Building Microtension Into Every Scene” and makes it seem like an easy thing to do.   Writer’s Digest Contest #60 is one you can enter. “Write a short story of 750 words or fewer based on the prompt: A man opens his mailbox to find an envelope containing a set of instructions.” “You can…