Nancy's Books

Sunday, October 28, 2012

From Idea to Story, Part II/Calls for Submissions



Try these ideas for turning an idea into a story:

Ask What if. What if a dinosaur came to lunch. What if everyone looked the same. Probe your character and plot with the What if question to develop your story idea. When your story comes to a screeching halt and you don’t know where to go with the plot ask what if. You may be surprised at the turn your story takes and the new ideas you will explore.

Choose a perspective. Who is telling the story? Try different characters to determine which could tell the story in the most compelling way. If three kids and a dog were lost in the mountains, which character would you chose to tell the story. The serious kid? The smartest kid? The funny kid? How about the dog? Play around with the different characters to see which would work best for your story.

Try word associations. Write the first thing you think of when you see each of these words: snowballs, moon, skunk, rainbow, museum. For example, skunk and stink could work well together in a humorous tale. So could snowballs and fight. Try associations that we would usually not associate. Moon and museum could be interesting, as well as skunk and rainbow.

Call for submissions for adult writers:

Dog Fancy. Pays on publication. Seeks nonfiction, photos/artwork. Subjects: Care and enjoyment of all dogs, purebreds and mixed breeds.
Submission guidelines at http://www.dogchannel.com/dog-magazines/dogfancy/writers_guidelines.aspx

Call for submissions for young writers:

Launch Pad publishes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry by kids and teens ages 6 through 14. We choose stories and poems that are creative and well written. We do not publish all submissions. Read some of our stories and poems to get an idea of the works we like to publish.
Submission guidelines at http://www.launchpadmag.com/write/

Check out more contests on my blog: http://nancykellyallen.blogspot.com/

Sunday, October 21, 2012

From Idea to Story, Part 1/Calls for Submissions


An idea toys around in your mind—a phrase, an interesting character, or maybe a situation. The story becomes a mental movie. As days turn into months, the story evolves and grows. Characters become clearer and develop names. Sound familiar?

Writers use many techniques to develop story ideas. Some let stories percolate until the characters are strong enough to come to life on paper. Others take an idea and immediately construct a character and plot. Different methods work for different writers.

For the next six weeks, I’ll post techniques for turning an idea into a story.

Who is the audience? Is this story for a four year old or a fourteen year old? When we meet someone on the street and talk face-to-face, we adjust our speech and language to suit the audience. As writers, we have to recognize and understand the reading and interest level of our readers before we begin writing. A four year old thinks the word “underwear” is funny. A fourteen year old will probably roll eyes at the word.

Call for submissions for adult writers:

Cricket magazine pays on publication. Seeks nonfiction, fiction, fillers, photos/artwork. Subjects: Literary magazine for readers ages 9 to 14.

Submission guidelines at http://www.cricketmag.com/25-Submission-Guidelines-for-CRICKET-magazine-for-children-ages-9-14

Call for submissions for young writers:

ChixLITtle, a print magazine and online community created by girls and made for girls 7-12.

Submission guidelines at http://chixlittle.com/littlesubmissions.html

Check out more contests on my blog: http://nancykellyallen.blogspot.com/

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sensory Description: Revision/Contest/Call for Submissions



We learn about our world through the senses and we engage readers when we incorporate vivid, sensory details in our writing. The most effective way to pull readers into a scene is to use one or more of the senses to establish atmosphere with layered, textured details.

Play in the rain, walk down a busy street, and take along a notebook. Experience your senses. When you return home, mosey through your manuscript and add sensory descriptors. Highlight each example of sight, taste, sound, touch, and smell. I recommend using a different color highlighter for each of the five senses. You’ll get an immediate view of which you’ve over- or under-used. Maybe there is one you haven’t use at all. This method is a way to balance the sensory descriptors throughout your manuscript.

This revision technique will add the zing factor that will take your story to a higher level.

Call for submissions for adult writers:

The Flying Elephants Short Story Prize Guidelines-at-a-Glance

· Short Story Length: No length restrictions, but longer manuscripts (8,000—10,000 words) or shorter manuscripts (less than 2,000 words) will have to be truly exceptional to be shortlisted.

· Entry Fee: None.

· Eligibility: Writers must 18-years of age or older, and short stories must be original and previously unpublished.

· Theme: “AndWeWereHungry. . . .”

· *Top Prize Theme: “AndWeWereHungry for Nature.” (*Grand prize reserved for the story that connect the theme with nature.)

· Entry Instructions: A writer may submit only one story. Although simultaneous submissions are accepted, entrants must immediately notify AndWeWereHungry if the piece is accepted elsewhere. An excerpt from a novel in progress must stand alone as a short story.

· Submission guidelines at http://andwewerehungry.org/prize-rules/

Call for submissions for young writers:

Liminal. Original and unpublished fiction, nonfiction, book reviews, music reviews, poetry, artwork, comics, photography and short film from writers and artists aged 13-19.

Submission guidelines at http://liminaljournal.com/submissions/

Check out more contests on my blog: http://nancykellyallen.blogspot.com/

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sensory Description: Smell/Calls for submissions


The sense of smell has a strong emotional pull. Certain scents linger in our minds for years. Thinking back to my childhood, I remember how a new doll smelled or the delectable whiff of Mom’s chocolate cake baking filled me with scrumptious anticipation. Decades later, all it takes is a fanciful thought about those aromas and I feel warm and cozy. When you write a description about the smell of a cake baking, the reader will be instantly transported back in time to his/her own memories of a sweet smelling kitchen. When readers connect the story to their own experiences, they make an emotional investment that draws them deeper into the plotline.

The sense of smell can also be used to get a character to remember a specific detail or to transition into a flashback. The smell of fresh-baked bread spreads a smile over our faces and one hint of a skunk spray has us running for cover, yelling puuuuuuuuu. Does your story take place on a farm? Let the reader smell the barn. Or the hay. Or the flowers.

Using smell in narrative scenes is a way to stir up emotion in characters and readers. Through our senses we encounter daily life, whether we enter a musty basement or breathe a honeysuckle-scented breeze. Create characters that reflect real life through descriptive language.

Call for submissions for adult writers:

· Gotham Writers’ Workshop has launched a “91-Word Memoir Writing Contest.” This contest “celebrates longtime Gotham student and friend Norma Crosier, who died in July five days shy of her 91st birthday….She embraced the principle of memoir – that it is not the story of the writer’s entire life, but rather one story among many.” Prizes: “The winner will receive a 10-week workshop, $91 cash, and bragging rights.”
Deadline: October 15, 2012.
Submission guidelines at
http://www.writingclasses.com/ContestPages/91W.php
Call for submissions for young writers:

Cyberkids. To submit your work, email it to: editor@cyberkids.com. In the email, tell us your name, age and country. If you are sending artwork, save the art in JPEG or TIFF format if possible, and attach it to the email. We do not pay for submissions, but if we use your work, we will send you an email telling you when it will be published.

Submission guidelines at http://www.cyberkids.com/he/html/submit.html

Check out more contests on my blog: http://nancykellyallen.blogspot.com/