Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Value of Free: Writing for Non-paying Markets by Chris Holm

Great piece over at the Writer's Digest site by Chris Holm called "The Value of Free:  Writing for Non-paying Markets."

Never Give Up

I was cleaning out some old file boxes yesterday when I ran across the submission card for "The Bank Robber" which is in the new issue of Needle.  Believe it or not I wrote the original draft back in May of 2000.  Over the next two years I submitted that story to six different markets, and after collecting six rejections I finally put it in a drawer and tried to forget about it.

But it wouldn't let go of me.  Year after year, I'd put that story out and rewrite and rework it from different angles but I never felt confident enough to submit it anywhere.  Then last year I was looking for a project to work on and pulled that story back out of the drawer.  I'd always written the story from the point of view of a twelve year old boy and this time out I wondered what would happen if I wrote it from that boy's point of view as an adult.  So I wrote this:

"'I made love to a bank robber once.'

Silence cracked around the massive dining room table.  Mouths dropped open, food fell into laps, and a long stemmed crystal goblet spilled blood red wine across my wife's expensive lace tablecloth.

I suppose my own face mirrored their surprise.  Why had I blurted out such a private moment of my life, especially to this self-centered group of assholes?  Shock value?  Something to stem the flow of their narcissistic conversation?  Partly, but mostly it was to scare up that trapped look on Sally Mandeville’s face."

Suddenly I had two stories and what a blast I had weaving the two of them together.  The ending came as a total surprise to my blood thirty mind but it was a perfect fit for the story I'd written.  And boy, was I scared.  It was one of the longest short stories I'd ever written coming in at a whopping 8300 words and where the hell do you submit a story that long.  I stuck the story back in a drawer and started searching for markets.

After about a month I contacted Steve Weedle and asked when Needle submissions were going to open again and would he possibly be interested in an 8300 word story.  His reply - "Not if it's great, which I assume it is."  Well, shit, no pressure there.  I thought it was great, of course, but would he?  When the submission door opened I took a deep breath and sent "The Bank Robber" back out into the world.

Fourteen years and my story is finally published.  It's also taught me a great lesson.  If you believe in a story, keep working on it until you find the right voice to make it sing, even if it takes years.


Fiction Vale - Call for Mystery/Suspense and Fantasy Shorts

Fiction Vale will be opening submissions on May 1 for Mystery/Suspense and Fantasy short stories up to 5000 words.  You can write either genre straight or "smoosh" them together.  The deadline is June 15 and payment is 2cents a word.  You can check out the details here, scroll down to Episode 5 for issue details.

People Eating People - Anthology Call

Friend of the blog Dusty Wallace asked me to post this call.  Seems he's in the process of putting together an anthology called "People Eating People - A Cannibal Anthology".  And he's not looking for your run of the mill hillbilly cannibals either.  He wants fantasy cannibals, steampunk cannibals, even lawyer cannibals.  You have up to 8000 words and payment is a royalty share.  The deadline is "when filled" so get your hustle on.  You can find the details here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mozark Press - Anthology Call

Mozark Press has issued a call for their anthology "A Shaker of Margaritas: That Mysterious Woman".  They're looking for mystery stories of 2000 to 3500 words with a female protagonist with a PG rating.  The deadline is July 25 and payment is $20.  You can check out the details here on their blog.  The Shaker of Margaritas is a series of anthologies that this press publishes and they've already won a few awards according to their blog.

A big thank you to Michael Bracken for sending the link!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Hellnotes - Call for Reviewers

Hellnotes is looking for book reviewers for their site.  There is no payment except for the books you receive.  But if your piece is selected to appear in Dark Discoveries magazine then you will receive $10.  You can find all the details here.

Strange Musing Press - Anthology Call

Strange Musings Press has an open anthology call for "Alternate Hilarities 3:  Hysterical Realms".  They are looking for stories that combine fantasy and humor.  Flash stories from 500 to 1500 words will receive 1/2cent a word plus 1 share of the royalties.  Short stories of 1501 to 6000 words will receive 1cent a word plus 2 royalty shares.  The deadline is July 31.  You can find the details here.