Nancy's Books

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Idea Overload, part IV/Call for Submissions

If you have more story ideas than you know what to do with, try this tip:
As you begin writing your story, a new story idea often rears its shiny-as-a-freshly-minted-dime head. By this time the story is getting more difficult to write. The shine has worn off the original idea. This happens to most writers regardless of the genre. Let’s face it, writing is HARD work. And the farther we are into the manuscript the more puzzle pieces we have to fit together to make the story work. Writers thrust characters into difficult situations and continue to pile onto their problems, but eventually, writers have to find ways for the characters to work their way out of the problems. No easy task.
 
The bright idea on which the story is based grows dimmer and dimmer. While you work your way through the story, you’re practicing the craft of writing and gaining experience one word at a time. Even after you walk away from the actual writing, you continue to dwell on the plot and character. Letting ideas simmer is a great way to work through a problem the character has encountered. Keep tossing around ideas (geared toward the character and the unique set of problems) and you will probably figure out a way to move the story forward. Remain focused on this story. Chances are, the new idea won’t be any better than the one used to create this story.
Next week, I’ll continue the series.
 
Call for submissions for adult writers:
The Quirk Books “Looking for Love” Fiction Contest is accepting submissions for novel-length manuscripts featuring fresh, fun, and strikingly unconventional love stories. Boy meets girl, girl meets shark, shark meets pirate – anything goes. Grand prize includes $10,000 and publication by Quirk Books. There is no entry fee. Deadline: October 1, 2013.
Submission guidelines at http://www.quirkbooks.com/lovestories
 Check out more contests on my blog: http://nancykellyallen.blogspot.com/


 

 


 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Idea Overload, part III/Call for Submissions

If you have more story ideas than you know what to do with, try these tips: 

1.      Writer’s block is the inability to create and develop a story idea. Having too many ideas can be just a detrimental to your manuscript. Inventory the ideas you have and spend time thinking about those that you think would work best for a story with a beginning/middle/ending and in which the character changes (grows) in some way and solves the problem or reaches the goal on his/her own.

2.      Sketch out the plot in a simple outline, maybe one or two sentences for each scene if you’re writing a picture book. If you’re writing a middle grade or young adult book, outline the story with a sentence or two per chapter. Once you get the outline, begin writing the story. If other ideas spring up, simple write them in the ideas folder and continue working on the manuscript you began.

3.      Stay focused on one manuscript. Write the story from beginning to the end and don’t worry about mistakes at this point. Just get the story written. Concentrate on finishing the first draft. Good writing comes from rewriting.

Next week, I’ll continue the series.

Call for submissions for adult writers: 

Family Circle. Practical solutions for moms to raise happy, healthy families. Particular emphasis on mothers of tweens and teens. Query with clips with at least one from a national magazine. [Photocopy your article as it appeared in the magazine and enclose the photocopy with your manuscript.] Articles are 1,000 to 2,000 words. Departments 750 words. Does not respond unless interested in the piece. Nothing read on spec. Publishes a large volume of freelance articles.

Submission can be sent to: Family Circle Magazine Articles Department 375 Lexington Avenue 9th Floor New York, NY 10017

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

 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Idea Overload, part II/Call for Submissions

If you have more story ideas than you know what to do with, try these tips:

1.      Create a file, paper or digital, for the ideas. When an idea shines so brightly that you can’t let it go, add it to the collection. That way, you’ll have it if you need it; otherwise, you might forget it. Don’t be overly concerned about organizing these random ideas, just get them in writing.

2.      When you have your ideas in black and white in front of you, you can more realistically determine which work and which don’t. Those that don’t work should not be discarded, because you may have another writing project in the future in which they are a perfect match.

3.      Group your ideas into categories. Some may work better for plots and some for characters. Some may be geared toward picture books while others are middle grade or young adult material. Organizing the ideas allows you to view the scope of the concepts you’ve collected. 

Next week, I’ll continue the series. 

Call for submissions for adult writers: 

Parenting. Parenting’s readers are moms whose kids range in age from newborn through age 12, as well as expectant moms.  The magazine covers the psychological and practical aspects of raising a child, and the emotional issues that face mothers — from nurturing their own friendships to juggling the various parts of their lives. The magazine is largely freelance written. Fees for articles depend on length, degree of difficulty, and the writer’s previous experience.  Generally, feature articles run between 1,000 and 2,500 words in published form. For writers new to Parenting, the best opportunities are the departments. The pieces there range from 100 to 500 words. Queries for each of these departments should be addressed to the appropriate editor (such as Kids’ Health Editor, or Ages & Stages Editor). Pays up to $1/word. 

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

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Idea Overload, part I/Call for Submissions

Today’s blog is all about ideas. What do you do with idea overload? [Thanks, Krista H., for the inspiration of this series of blogs.] Ideas bombard you from every direction. Each time you try to develop the idea, another one pops into you mind, and you begin a new manuscript with every idea.

This is a common problem for some writers, especially in the beginning stages of a manuscript. Story ideas are like coins. New ideas are shiny and attractive, much like a hot-off-the-press dime. Old ideas that you’ve been playing with don’t pan out and they lose their sheen and become a dull as an often-spent quarter.
Writers tend to focus on writing as we do laundry, sweep, and rake the lawn. We’re thinking about story plots and character even when we can’t stop to write, so ideas are popping up around us constantly. Just how do we strain out the best ideas and develop them into stories?

Next week, we’ll look at ways we manage these ideas so that they become incorporated into manuscripts, rather than a distraction that prevents us from accomplishing writing goals.

Call for submissions for adult writers:

Linda Bruckheimer Series in Kentucky Literature. Recommended free contest awards publication by Sarabande Books, a high-quality literary press, for a manuscript of poetry, fiction, or essays (all genres compete together) about Kentucky or by Kentucky authors. Winner must agree to travel to readings within the state. You are eligible if you were born in Kentucky or have lived there for at least two years, or your book is set in or about Kentucky. Poetry manuscripts should be 48-100 single-spaced pages, prose manuscripts 150-250 double-spaced pages. No scholarly works, children's literature, or genre fiction. Accepts online entries.

Deadline: Must be mailed in the month of July.


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