Do you have any womag news?
Any market news? Are you researching, writing, subbing? Had any acceptances or rejections? Still waiting to hear back on outstanding submissions? Do you have a question? Can you offer tips or encouragement to other writers?
Any other writing related news, questions and comments are also welcome.
My womag news
Sharon Reid who usually edits Yours Fiction has bought a story from me to go in a Yours Easter special pull out thing (possibly not the official description.) This sale is extra to those in the regular magazine. Maybe they'll be doing more of that kind of thing, perhaps a coronation special as Elizabeth suggested in the comments of the last but one post, so the temporary halt of Yours Fiction won't be such a blow?
Free entry competition news
Thanks to Fiona for sending this link for a short story competition with publication and $500 as the top prize. On the home page it states entries must be unpublished.
And this is from Vivienne Moles – Fictionette is looking for subs and competition entries. Lipstick and Lies is under this umbrella.
Feel free to use these photos as picture prompts. If you'd like written writing prompts, short exercises and story/scene suggestions then you might find this book useful.
In some cases there may be value in sharing information that can't be obtained elsewhere, but on balance I feel this blog can be most useful if those suppling me with information trust me only to share what they want shared, or which is already 'out there'. I'm not just protecting editors. If I, for example, happen to learn your pen name or any personal details, I wouldn't pass those on to anyone without your permission.
Yes- Yours. Well done, Patsy. I also sold a story to Sharon for an Easter issue, so maybe its not all doom and gloom and they will have outlets before August and the next fiction special.
I also think I've sold a story to April at The Best of WW - she sent an email enquiring if the story was still available but I haven't heard from her again.
Thanks for the competitions.
I also had an email from April at Best of WW asking if one of my stories was still available as she'd love to publish it, and asking if I'm already on their freelance system, but as with @Alyson, I've heard nothing since. Still, it was a very quick response, which seems promising.
Well done to those who have had acceptances!
I don't have anything much to report, apart from all the rejects I've had this year from TPF. One was kept for a week and my hopes were cautiously raised... but it was still a no.
I'll be trying with some Xmas stories for them next month, but I don't hold out much hope.
Thanks, Patsy. No news from me.
Interesting to see Sharon mention Christmas stories.
Does anyone have advice on timelines for submitting seasonal stories? I’m thinking about six months ahead? Also, any tips on tailoring stories to suit different magazines?
I usually sub as early as I can with seasonal stories, which for me is mainly summer, Xmas/ New Year and Valentine's.
I'm not very good with bonfire night, Halloween, Easter or Mother's/ Father's day or anything else such as saint days or shrove Tuesday.
The only tip I can give about tailoring work for different mags is to read the fiction in the mags and study it.
Jot down notes about the subject, theme, the MC's problem, ages, setting - whatever strikes you.
Each mag has their own in- house style and tone.
I do read TPF stories and I think 'I'm sure I could write something similar.'
I probably have, so I've subbed - but sadly, my material hasn't made the grade.
Thanks for all the info Patsy and congrats to you & all who made a sale recently, I also had an acceptance from April for Best of WW this week, the really great part was that it came within 2 weeks of submitting so thanks for that info Patsy.
Apart from that I managed to get an entry off to the drabble 100 word story and submit a story to Bridgehouse Publishing by the end of February. Beyond that I actually only have a couple of stories out for consideration at the moment so I need to get writing or editing some more stories.
@ HB I did read on the PF website recently that they really need seasonal stories to be submitted a full six months before the due date so that was an eyeopener for me as I always assumed 3 or 4 months would be plenty. I think Sharon's tip re reading the different mags & jotting down some notes is really good because the styles do vary between the magazines.
Well done with all the acceptances, everyone! Not much going on here - awaiting Commonwealth Writers and know that London love letters wasn't loved. Still plodding away at trying to complete a Writing Magazine entry each month. Sometimes it takes me away from my whole comfortable area and makes me experiment - which is a good thing. Sometimes I think... hmph. I daresay I won't have any Christmas things to sub unless I actually write them... ho hum.
Well done on all the acceptances. Well done to all of us who keep going trying to get some acceptances too! I recently had an acceptance fromPF for a story thy've had a very long time. I was delighted as it is one of my favourites, I love the characters in it as if they are my friends - suppose they are in a way. I'm also waiting for word from Alice at TAB who wanted to commission a story of mine some while ago now. Nothing from her since I said yes so I'm assuming that maybe she's changed her mind. Did send an email as a little reminder, but no response so far. Anyone else experienced similar? All good wishes Kate Hogan
Congratulations to all who have had acceptances. It's great to hear of additional outlets and of womagwriter correspondents finding success there - very encouraging. Like Sharon, I would recommend submitting seasonal stories six months in advance - this is what I try to do. For Christmas stories, I submit even further in advance - end of April or start of May. Again like Sharon, I'd strongly recommend reading at least a couple of issues of any magazine to which you intend to submit, to get a good sense of the tone and content they publish and which their readers enjoy. It can help to look at the letters pages and advertisements as well as the fiction, when you're trying to picture a reader. I would also caution against reading magazines absolutely relentlessly, though, as you don't want to lose your own unique voice. This week I have been doing rewrites suggested by my agent to my latest novel: I don't have a contract for this one, so have fingers and toes crossed that my current publisher will want to take it on. I thought I would hate doing the rewrites and it was a challenge I didn't really want. To my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed the process, trying to make improvements before my agent submits the manuscript to publisher. If anyone out there would care to boost my chances of getting a new book deal, for just 99p you can buy my recent small-town thriller, I Know I Saw Her (author name E.D. Thompson) on Kindle - every positive rating or review strengthens my case! Wishing everyone a great weekend and a productive week to come.
Congratulations to everyone who’s had acceptances recently. I’ve subbed three stories this month - Yours Fiction, Woman’s Weekly and TPF. As expected, the latter boomeranged back to me the following day. (No surprises there). Hoping to sub two more stories this week to YF and to April at BOWW. The latter being a tweaked summer story that I wrote about three years ago, I’ve found rewriting the end a bit more difficult than I first thought. I’ve just about got it right now. It’s the first time I’ve had five pieces of work out within a short period of time. I subbed a story to YF in January, but as the next edition isn’t due out until August, I wouldn’t expect to receive an acceptance until about June anyway, if successful.
Thanks Patsy and well done and also to everyone who's had acceptances.
I've been busy these last few weeks and have managed to send out quite a few subs, two of which have been put on file, so fingers crossed.
Still chasing that elusive comp win!!
Thanks for all the info, Patsy! Much appreciated.
Thank you very much for this, Patsy. I find it always encourages me when I've heard everyone else's news and advice.
I'm another one who had an acceptance from April at Best of Woman's Weekly Fiction and I heard within days of submitting, which was very exciting.
Apart from that, I've got a few submissions out and I did manage to enter a story for the Best Pet Fiction competition and one for Lipstick and Lies, although I'm not sure I've managed to get the style right for that.
I need to start writing down some of Shannon Lawrence's links to contests and share them here.
Good morning everyone,
Just coming back to writing after a break and I can't tell you how helpful and kind are all your comments and advice. Huge congrats to all who have received acceptances.
Please may I ask a question; I am never absolutely sure whether or not - when a synopsis is required - does it include the ending as well as the outline of the story?
Also, should it be brief or fairly detailed? All advice most gratefully received.
I have googled 'synopsis' and it doesn't seem to be very conclusive.
Thank you very much. Kind regards, Sue
@Sue Personally where I've had to submit a synopsis I keep it very brief, 2/3 lines max. I don't give away the ending but hint that there is a story (worth reading) to unfold ie 'Sue decides to return to the world of womag writing but soon discovers all is not plain sailing...'
Now I'm sure other people do it differently & that there are no absolutes here but I find that if I can summarise my story quickly & succinctly I know I'm on track.
Best of luck with your writing Sue
Thank you very much for your very prompt and helpful response. I will have a go,
I am sure you are right on the quickly and succinctly - if I have to think about things for too long, I lose the rhythm.
You did make me laugh - what a very accurate synopsis!
I seemed to have joined a very kind and lovely community. Thank you Patsy.
More power to your collective pens, everybody. And lots of acceptances from grateful editors!
Kind regards, Sue
Thanks Patsy and congrats to those who have had acceptances. I haven’t sent any short stories to mags for ages as I’ve been concentrating on poetry and competitions, but do have a Christmas one to sub to PF when the time is right, so thanks to all those discussing when to send them.
Happy writing everyone!
Following on from Sharon and Eirin's advice about studying mags before subbing,
I have found that the 'house' style of MS presentation varies a lot.
Some like para indents and double speech marks. Another likes indents and single speech marks and another one wants no indents and single speech marks.
So as well as reading the fiction, I study the presentation and try to sub my MS as they want it.
I have just finished re-editing a rejected story from 'no indents and single speech marks' to indents and double speech marks before re-subbing elsewhere.
I'm not daft enough to think that this will make any difference to acceptance or rejection but just as a courtesy to whoever is considering it.
Also, as Eirin suggested,don't forget the Letters pages. I once won £50 for a short letter about leaving a box of choc biscs out for the the refuse collectors during lockdown with a (distanced!) photo taken by a friend. A photo increases your chances. Good payment for what took about 5 minutes to write.
Kind regards to you all, Sue
@ Eirin Thanks Eirin, got 'I Know I Saw Her' on Kindle. Now it should take me a little while to read it (or it should as I have so much work on!). Though I had to tear myself away after reading the first few pages & get back to work. Looking forward to reading it & best of luck with getting your new book published.
Thanks to everyone for the advice on subbing, and congratulations on all those acceptances.
As for synopsis's - sometimes I put the ending in, sometimes I don't.
I've been subbing since 2010,and I'm afraid I've never bothered with idents when subbing work. I found it too much of a faff.
If subbing format is made difficult for me, I won't sub.
No fiction ed has sent my work back and asked me to put them in. If it was essential, they'd ask me do this on a accepted piece- but in 13 years, they haven't.
In fact, most mag fiction guidelines now state no indents.
Some newbies become very hung up about presentation.
These rules were classed as important when it work was subbed via snail mail and fiction eds read stories on paper A4 sheets.
I never bothered with double line spacing, either.(Shock horror!) I use 1.5 or single and this seems to be ok.
The main thing that matters is whether the story is suitable for the magazine, honestly!
Thanks very much everyone for your comments, and for helping each other!
If it's any consolation, even when I'd sold hundreds of short stories I still got every submission to TPF rejected. It wasn't that my writing was bad, just that it wasn't right for them. Once I had one piece accepted others followed, but it's never been a certainty with them, or any other magazine, that the stories I send will be bought.
Now that the number of markets has decreased it's even harder to get work accepted. It's not impossible, just not easy.
Re formatting, if the guidelines state a particular requirement I think it would be a good idea to do whatever it is (or not do it, if they say no formatting!) The main reason for such requests is to save time when reading - it's easier if they're all the same, and to save time editing a story if it's accepted. Any formatting they don't want has to be removed, and to do that they need to look at it and see what you've done and how. If they don't state a requirement then don't worry about it – no instruction means they don't mind. (Even so, keep things simple and easy to read.)
In the case of competitions, formatting requirements may be considered part of the rules and not following them might get you disqualified (especially things such as not including your name if applicable).
Re synopsis – If it's for a book submission then you do need to put the ending in, even if it's an amazing twist and knowing it will ruin the whole thing. One reason a synopsis is asked for is so they can tell it's a finished story with a proper ending.
When it comes to synopsis for magazine stories then I think they're more to give an idea of the type of story, and to act as a reminder to the editor if they've read it and are deciding whether it will fit in a certain issue. I don't give away twists when writing these, but usually do state if it's a twist ending.
Patsy, it's great to see lots of chat around this latest post. Sheelagh - thank you so much for your support!
@ Eirin Look forward to reading it.
Thanks to all for your mention of Fictionette/Lipstick & Lies, I have just submitted my first entry To L&L & that itself feels like an achievement at the moment!
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