Nancy's Books

Sunday, November 25, 2012

From Idea to Story, Part VI/Calls for Submissions



This article is part of a series.

When you get an idea, write it down immediately. Keep a notebook handy for that purpose. If you overhear an interesting phrase or an unusual use of a word, add it to the notebook and allow a character to think those thoughts or use the phrase in dialog to add distinctive voice to your story. Story ideas pop up around us all the time. Make a habit to listen and look for possible plot ideas or interesting characters traits. You never know who will say or do something to make you think, laugh, wonder, or tease your imagination.

When describing a setting use photos to get an idea of a house or area or sketch your imagined locale. Having a visual layout of an area in which you see trees, stream, and animals roaming around makes the words will flow much easier. 

Research the subject of the story so interesting facts can add to the realism. Readers enjoy learning something new or being surprised with a tidbit of information.

Create a problem for the character and plot the story so the character must solve the problem on his/her own.

Don’t rush the story. Like seeds, stories take time to bloom.

Call for submissions for adult writers:

Ashland Creek Press is currently accepting submissions of novels, memoirs, short story collections, and essay collections on the themes of travel, the environment, ecology, and wildlife — above all, we’re looking for exceptional, well-written, engaging stories. As you’ll see from our new and forthcoming titles, we are open to many genres (young adult, mystery, literary fiction) as long as the stories are relevant to the themes listed above. At this time, however, we are not reading submissions for children’s books.

Submission guidelines at http://www.ashlandcreekpress.com/submissions.html

Call for submissions for young writers:

Pomegranate Words Teen Writing 2012 Collection. Pomegranate Words will be producing a print publication early next year showcasing the best teen writing we can find! Will you be one of our featured writers?

Submission Guidelines at http://www.pomegranatewords.com/contests.html

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

Sunday, November 18, 2012

From Idea to Story, Part V/Calls or Submissions



This article is part of a series.

An idea is the seed of a story. Like a seed, a story needs the right environment to grow. Some ideas grow better in a short story, some are suited for a full-length novel, and some are perfect for a picture book. Since you’ll be living and breathing the idea for a long time, choose it with care. The enthusiasm you have for your idea will need to be strong enough to be worthy of weeks or months of your time.

Borrow ideas from your own life or that of someone who interests you. You don’t have to make up everything in a fictional story. Consider the worst day of your life? Or the time you made a terrible decision. These moments evoke intense emotions and can be used to develop a character. The character doesn’t have to experience the same situations you did, but basing the story on a real event can add authenticity to the story making it seem more real to the reader. A fine storyteller never lets truth get in the way of telling a good yarn.

Call for submissions for adult writers:

Sucker Literary Magazine. Magazine for young adult fiction. Submissions should be no more than 10,000 words. Only one submission per author per issue.

Submission guidelines at http://suckerliterarymagazine.wordpress.com/submission-guidelines/

Call for submissions for young writers:

New Moon Girls. Love to write? Share all your fabulous fiction here! Publish your newest creations, or get advice on works-in-progress. And read great stories by other New Moon Girls!

Submission guidelines at http://www.newmoon.com/voices/fiction/

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

Sunday, November 11, 2012

From Idea to Story, Part IV/Calls for Submissions



This is part IV of the continuing series based on ideas to develop your story.

Add dialog to make the characters come alive. Dialog should sound real, not be real. When people talk, our words usually flow freely out of our mouths but the conversation can be boring reading. We often add uh and um and get sidetracked in our thoughts. Dialog should stay focused and either promote the plot or help develop the character.

Play with your idea and have fun with it. All writing has preliminary stages in which you discard some ideas and keep others. Twist and turn your idea into different plots to discover what works and what doesn’t. Give your ideas time to incubate and grow. If you’re not having fun with the story, the reader probably won’t either. Figure out the methods that work for you and keep writing.

Before sending your chapter book/middle grade/young adult manuscript to an editor, take a new look at the first three chapters and make sure you polish them. Publishers will probably ask for the first 10-25 pages or up to the first three chapters. Always check the submission guidelines on the publisher’s website.

Call for submissions for adult writers:

Ladies’ Home Journal is a community that shares stories — and we’re dying to hear yours. If you win our essay contest, we’ll give you $3,000 and the chance to have your essay published in the Journal. You’re free to interpret the topic in whatever way you like, but remember that we value creativity and clarity above all.

Essays will be judged on their emotional power, originality, and the quality of their prose. They should be no more than 2,000 words and ideally typed or written in a Microsoft Word document.

You can enter the contest by e-mailing your submission as an attachment (with your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address) to LHJessaycontest@meredith.com or by mailing a copy to Personal Essay Contest, Ladies’ Home Journal, 805 Third Ave., 26th Fl., New York, NY 10022. Entries are due by December 7, 2012.

Call for submissions for young writers:

Skipping Stones. Writings (essays, stories, letters to the editor, riddles and proverbs, etc.) should be typed or neatly handwritten and limited to 750 words and poems to 30 lines. We love illustrations! Please send originals of your drawings, paintings, or photos. Include your name, age, and address along with your submission.

Submission guidelines at http://www.skippingstones.org/submissions.htm

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

Sunday, November 4, 2012

From Idea to Story, Part III/Calls for Submissions


Try these ideas to develop your story.

Remember moments from your childhood. What made you laugh? Cry? Feel sad or happy? Memories can inspire a story, but don’t allow memories to tell the entire story. Use them as a starting point then allow the characters to tell their own special tale. Let your imagination take the story in a new direction.

The basic story consists of two elements: character and conflict. The character needs to aim for a goal or experience a problem and must reach the goal or solve the problem on his/her own. Ask these questions. Who is the character? What does the character want? What is standing in the way of the character getting what she/he wants? When you answer these questions, you have a story idea. Other elements, such as setting, can be added later.

Plot an outline based on your idea. Think of the outline as a map that helps you get from the beginning of your journey to the end. The outline can be a great assist in determining where your story is going and how to get there.

Call for Submissions for adult writers:

Open City Magazine RRofihe Short Story Contest. For an unpublished short story. Minimum word count: 3,500; maximum to 5,000. Winner receives $500, a trophy, and announcement and publication on anderbo.com. NB: "Author must not have been previously published in Open City Magazine or on Anderbo."
Deadline: December 31, 2012
Submissions guidelines at http://www.anderbo.com/anderbo1/no-fee-rrofihe-trophy2012.html

Call for submissions for young writers:

THE STORY SHACK is not a magazine but is a place where you can potentially have your children's and young adult stories published online and shared with others. They are also looking for illustrators.
Submissions guidelines at http://thestoryshack.com/submissions/ for submission guidelines. This is a non-paying market.

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































Open City Magazine RRofihe Short Story Contest. For an unpublished short story. Minimum word count: 3,500; maximum to 5,000. Winner receives $500, a trophy, and announcement and publication on anderbo.com. NB: "Author must not have been previously published in Open City Magazine or on Anderbo."
Deadline: December 31, 2012
Submissions guidelines at http://www.anderbo.com/anderbo1/no-fee-rrofihe-trophy2012.html

Call for submissions for young writers:

THE STORY SHACK is not a magazine but is a place where you can potentially have your children's and young adult stories published online and shared with others. They are also looking for illustrators.
Submissions guidelines at http://thestoryshack.com/submissions/ for submission guidelines. This is a non-paying market.

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