Nancy's Books

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Picture Book Savvy, Part 3


Picture book text keeps getting shorter. A couple of decades ago, the target number for most publishers was 1000+. Not today. In order to write a successful picture book for traditional markets, the action has to be distilled into as few words as possible. The story idea should be weighty to provide a narrative tale with a beginning/middle/ending, leave space for illustrations to tell part of the story, and connect with the audience in a positive way.  

Rhythm and cadence are essential, and word choice is the key. Follow your own voice by telling the story as only you can. Write in such a way that your unique storytelling rings throughout. That’s what will define your career. 

Editors are looking for fresh voices, stories that make them stop to reread a sentence and offer something to make them continue reading the next. They want to be enlightened, amused, enthralled, baffled by the actions or questions posed. This does not come from the first draft. Every story needs to be revised until its patina glimmers. 

Revision takes time. Give your manuscript some time off. Walk away and work on another story. This absence is vitally important in order to review your work later with fresh eyes.  

Hand your glimmering draft over to a set of new eyes. Find a critique partner who has read lots of books and who is a practicing writer. Feedback from an informed writer helps you understand what works and what does not. 

One of my dad’s favorite authors, Louis L'Amour, said it this way: Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.  

Call for submissions for Young Writers:

Hanging Loose Magazine welcomes high school submissions.

* Send all work to High School Editor, Hanging Loose, 231 Wyckoff Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217. Please also send us a note identifying yourself as a high school age writer, and telling us
your age, and be sure to include a self-addressed stamped envelope with sufficient return postage.
* Send 3 to 6 poems, or 1 to 3 short stories, or an equivalent combination of poetry and
prose. This enables us to get a good idea of what your work is like.
* All work should be neatly typed. High quality photocopies or readable computer-generated
hard copies are acceptable. A brief biographical statement is welcome. We are always interested in knowing how you found out about us, what school you attend, and so forth.Please Note: We prefer to receive submissions from young writers themselves, rather than from their teachers. We strongly discourage teachers from submitting samples of work from members of their classes. Similarly, we discourage teachers from asking students to submit their work as a class assignment. We prefer teachers to encourage students who take themselves seriously as writers to write us directly.

Hanging Loose has long been known for its special interest in new writers. We read manuscripts throughout the year and we look forward to reading yours.


Call for submissions for Adult Writers:

Storytime Magazine. From spring 2017, we’ll be publishing one new short story in every Storytime issue, which will be credited to its author. If your story is selected, that’s your name and your creation in print forever – and beautifully illustrated to boot! Not only that, but you’ll be part of Storytime’s mission to keep short stories alive and to help children fall in love with reading for pleasure!


Nancy Kelly Allen has written 40+ children’s books and a cookbook, SPIRIT OF KENTUCKY: BOURBON COOKBOOK.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Picture Book Saavy, Part 2

In creating a story for the picture book crowd, we have to ask, What is the want? In last week’s example, I used—I want to win every game.  

Now we need to ask—Why is that important? Is it because the child thinks the parents expect him/her to win every game? Does the child think winning will produce more friends? 

The “Want” must be believable. That is the heart of the story, the motivation. Why does he want to win every game? 

Once a believable “want” is established, obstacles must be introduced to impede the character from reaching the goal or solving the problem. Obstacles create conflict, and conflict keeps the reader interested in the story. The character must overcome the obstacles, but shouldn’t easily. 

Three types of conflict exist:

1.      Protagonist against another character.

2.      Protagonist against circumstances (weather, luck, nature, etc.)

3.      Protagonist against her/himself (afraid, shy, etc.) 

The ending should be happy or at least offer hope. The last page is an opportunity for a writer to offer a twist in the story to surprise or provide an emotional connection to the reader.

Next week, I’ll provide more golden nuggets of our conversations. 

Call for submissions for Young Writers

Teen Ink. If it has a beginning, middle and end ... if it has a well-developed plot and interesting characters ... it if takes place in the past, present or future ... then submit your story to Teen Ink's Fiction Contest.

Prizes

Winning stories are published in Teen Ink magazine and contest winners receive a copy of the magazine featuring their work. Plus, they’ll have the opportunity to choose from an exciting selection of Teen Ink merchandise – apparel and other items – available exclusively from Teen Ink.

Guidelines: Teen Ink will only consider original fiction written by teens. Entries of all genres are accepted, whether fantasy, horror, historical, sci-fi, or romance. Short stories should be between 500 and 2,500 words.

Submit entries through our website. All fiction pieces submitted to Teen Ink are automatically considered for the contest. See our submission guidelines for more information.
No deadlines.

 
Call for submissions for Adult Writers

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Stories about Cats
We are working on and collecting stories and poems for another wonderful book about our cats. The focus of this book will be on rescued cats that were adopted from shelters or rescue organizations and who luckily found their forever homes. Whether adopted as kittens or adopted as older cats in the last few years of their lives, what amazing stories of survival our cats could tell us. We love these heartwarming and inspirational stories about our cats and the amazing and magical things they do. We rejoice in their simple absurdities, funny habits, and crazy antics. Our cats make us smile and laugh every day, but sometimes they really outdo themselves. Whether they came up with the idea themselves, or you put them in a situation that caused them to do something unusual, we want to hear about it! We know you'll have many great stories for us about your cats. Stories can be serious or humorous... or both. Tell us what your cat did. The deadline for story and poem submissions is January 31, 2017. 


Nancy Kelly Allen has written 40+ children’s books and a cookbook, SPIRIT OF KENTUCKY: BOURBON COOKBOOK.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Picture Book Savvy



Spending time with authors to discuss writing, publishing, and their successes and failures is like attending an intensive writing workshop. Sharing experiences, ideas, and knowledge are invaluable nuggets of manuscript gold. The following are gilded tidbits:

Picture book authors’ perspective should be the same world view as that of the child. This means no abstract problems or goals. The story must be illustratable and action oriented. Five-year-olds take ideas literally. The characters should react in the same way a child would. If writers can connect with the life of a child in some way, the story will have more appeal to the reader.

Example: I want to win every game. Children will understand this idea and connect mentally and emotionally.

Will the child care about your subject? If not, they won’t want to read the book. Writers have to think like a child and have the characters act and react the way a child of that age would. Always keep the audience in mind with each word. In my latest picture book, FORTY WINKS, the subject is a monster in a closet. Many children are afraid of the dark. I certainly was, and I'm still not crazy about it. The story also deals with resolving conflict, an experience all children deal with regularly.

What is important to the child? Consider his/her feelings. The subject of your story must have relevance to everyday life.

Next week, I’ll provide more golden nuggets of our conversations.

Call for submissions for Young Writers:
Magic Dragon, a quarterly publication, presents writing and art created by children in the elementary school grades in a magazine of quality four-color printing and graphic display.

Submission guidelines at http://www.magicdragonmagazine.com/?page_id=6

Call for submissions for Adult Writers:
Story is interested in narrative of any shape and kind we can get onto the printed page. Surprise us with traditional and experimental forms of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. We love short fiction, but we love hermit-crab essays, hybrid forms, research, lists, and charts too. Submit work that fits the theme, but don't be afraid to think outside the box. Submissions for online issues should be a maximum of 2,500 words.Submission guidelines at http://www.storymagazine.org/submit/

Nancy Kelly Allen has written 40+ children’s books and a cookbook, SPIRIT OF KENTUCKY: BOURBON COOKBOOK.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The following trends seem to be what editors are currently looking for. Check the previous blog post for the remainder of the list.

Diverse books are popular. These works represent a wide range of cultures, family structures, and experiences. The books are about diverse characters that reflect the real world, but the stories themselves are not about diversity. Subject matter includes economic disparity, race, religion, and disability. Authentic characters and a great imagination can lead to a contract.
Nonfiction for all age group continues to grow. Writers are finding innovative ways to approach a wide range of subjects. Nonfiction has evolved into a broader definition. Author’s voice and the structure of how the story is formatted and told offer innovative approaches to new nonfiction titles available today. Back matter is information located in the back of some nonfiction titles.
Creative nonfiction is a growing market. These books read much the way fiction stories do. I used a combination of poetry and prose in my eBook, IF CLOUDS COULD TALK. Editors want more creative nonfiction, especially on subjects that have not been extensively covered.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) books are increasingly used by schools and home schooling advocates. My first book, ONCE UPON A DIME, involves the reader using math to figure out how much money grew on the tree each season.
Writers who tap into these types of books and storytelling improve their chances of getting their books picked up by publishers.
Since no overwhelming trend dominates and because children’s literature spans a wide range of age groups, an individual title can shine. Strong writing and creative approaches to subjects always prevail.
Call for submissions for Young Writers: 

Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young WritersRestrictions: Open to writers aged 16-18. Genre: Poem (1). Prize: Full scholarship to The Kenyon Review Young Writers workshop, an intensive two-week summer seminar for writers aged 16-18. Deadline: November 30, 2016.  

Submission guidelines athttp://www.kenyonreview.org/contests/patricia-grodd/

Call for submissions for Adult Writers:

Upworthy reaches a massive audience with meaningful stories every day, and we're looking for original stories that support our mission of creating a better world. That's where you come in. We're currently accepting pitches from freelancers for stories that are:

Surprising: Is the topic, narrative, character, or outcome something truly new?

Meaningful: If a million people saw this story, would it make the world a better place?

Visual: Are there enough visual elements to engage readers who might be skimming on a phone?

Shareable: Would you share it? Would your friends share it? Most importantly, would your mom's friend share it?

Our stories are generally short (usually less than 500 words), but we're open to unusual ideas that will resonate with millions of people, and we love to experiment. Most stories of this short length will be paid at a fair base rate with traffic and distribution bonuses, and all of that will be hashed out in your contract if we decide to work together.

Submission guidelines a thttps://www.upworthy.com/pitch-us

Nancy Kelly Allen has written 40+ children’s books and a cookbook, SPIRIT OF KENTUCKY: BOURBON COOKBOOK.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Trends in Children’s Literature, Part 1

The world of children’s literature is constantly changing. Writing to a trend is not recommended but understanding the market is critical to getting contracts. The following is some trends I’ve noticed as I research editors.

Print books are alive and well.
Digital books are also popular. The interactive component of these books add to their popularity.
Board books are the fastest growing books in juvenile titles. These are durable, cardboard page books designed for ages newborn – age 3. Since 2013, they have grown in publication at a rate of 20% per year.
Graphic novels are in high demand among many editors and publishing houses. The graphic novel format is showing up in chapter books and picture books.
Paperback books continue to rise in sales.
Picture books are on the upswing again after a lull of a few years. Competition is fierce and the text is short.
Chapter books are becoming a little more popular, especially series. The story needs commercial appeal with a strong hook.
Middle grade fiction is the winner at the moment. Manuscripts for this age group are reaping the most contracts and the books garner the most sales. Humorous stories are sought by editors and publishers and, most of all, readers. Adventure series, fantasy, science fiction, and standalone books.
Young adult books are still popular. Contemporary stories that deal with realistic issues. Also, fantasy and world building.
Next week, I’ll continue the list of latest trends.
Call for submissions for Young Writers:

Princeton University Poetry Contest for High School StudentsRestrictions: Student writers in the 11th grade. Prizes: First Prize – $500, Second Prize – $250, Third Prize – $100. Deadline: November 27, 2016.

Call for submissions for Adult Writers

Literary e-clectic. Story Submissions: As we said above, the only two requirements for the content is that it falls under the quarterly theme and that it is between 1,000-8,000 words.  

Artwork: Renfield Press is looking for cover artwork to feature in upcoming issues. We consider all forms of art and ask that artists submit up to five images per theme. 

Themes and Submission Periods: 

Lost and Found (theme). Accepting Submission through November 30th.


Nancy Kelly Allen has written 40+ children’s books and a cookbook, SPIRIT OF KENTUCKY: BOURBON COOKBOOK.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Guest Author Ev Christensen


I’m thrilled to welcome award-winning author Evelyn Christensen to this blog. She has written numerous puzzle books for children and, today, is telling us about her brand-spanking new picture book.

Nancy: Congratulations, Ev, on an amazing career. How exciting to have a picture book!

Ev: Exciting, yes! The Twelve Days of Christmas in Kentucky is about an out-of-state cousin visiting his Kentucky cousin for 12 days of the holidays. Marybeth and her parents take Martin all around the state sharing with him what makes Kentucky special. Each day, to go along with the traditional song, she gives him a gift that ties in with what they saw. The book is chock full of interesting information about the state—geography, history, culture, fun places to visit, and activities that reflect life in Kentucky. I had such fun researching it and deciding what to include.

Nancy:  This sounds like a fantastic book that both children and teachers will enjoy. Why did you decide to write the book?

Ev: I used to belong to an online critique group. Seven years ago, our leader shared with our group that a publisher was doing a state series called The Twelve Days of Christmas in America. She thought it would be fun if we each sent a proposal to do the state we lived in. I sent one for Kentucky. I got no response. For five years. Then just before Christmas in 2014, I got an email from an editor at Sterling Children’s Books saying they were ready to do the Kentucky book and asking if I was still interested. I had to compete for being the author by writing a sample page of the book, and was thrilled when I was chosen.

Nancy:  Ev, you’re living proof that networking with writers creates a huge payoff. What’s the number one piece of advice you recommend for beginning writers?

Keep at it! Whether it’s reading lots of books, writing, revising our manuscripts, getting feedback from critique partners, researching potential agents and publishers, querying our ideas, or submitting our manuscripts—all of which are steps to being successful as an author, but all of which can be potential roadblocks along the journey where discouragement can sap our energy and enthusiasm—the important thing is to be persistent and keep going even when the disappointments come. (Even if we have to wait five years!)

Nancy: Excellent advice. Many, including me, will be interested in purchasing your book. Where can we find it?

Many local bookstores carry The Twelve Days of Christmas in Kentucky. For example, in Lexington you can find it at Barnes & Noble, JosephBeth, and Morris Bookshop. It can also be ordered online from Barnes & Noble (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-twelve-days-of-christmas-in-kentucky-evelyn-b-christensen/1123315482), from Amazon  (https://www.amazon.com/Twelve-Days-Christmas-Kentucky-America/dp/1454919590), or from IndieBound (https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781454919599).

Also, there is a Goodreads giveaway of the book from November 7-14th. The URL is https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28692082-the-twelve-days-of-christmas-in-kentucky?ac=1&from_search=true

Nancy: Ev, thanks so much for visiting my blog. I’m looking forward to reading your book, and I wish you continued success in your writing career.

Call for submissions for Young Writers:

The Daphne Review. We accept submissions from high school age artists only (ages 13-18). All submissions must be original works by a sole creator and must not  be previously published/printed. Any evidence of plagiarism or theft of ideas or images will result in the rejection of your submission. 

Written Submission Guidelines:

Each written submission should include the following materials:

1.) Introductory cover letter

2.) The written work, submitted as an attached Microsoft word document titled as follows: “Last Name_First Name” 

Art Submission Guidelines:

Each art submission should include the following materials:

1.) Introductory cover letter, including a brief bio in third person

2.) Attachment image of artwork in JPG format at a minimum resolution of 300 dpi. These attached image files should be titled as follows: “Last Name_First Name.”

3.) If the submitted work is part of a series (a triptych or comic strip, for example) then please number each image in the order in which they should appear. For example: “Last Name_First Name_1” and so on.

 Deadline: The deadline for the Fall 2016 edition of The Daphne Review is 31 July 2016. All submissions received after that date but before 31 December 2016 will be considered for our Winter 2017 edition.

Please send all submissions to alexis@thedaphnereview.org

 Submission guidelines at http://www.thedaphnereview.org/submissions/

Call for submissions for Adult Writers:

Chicken Soup for the Soul. Genre: True stories and poems for Dreams and Synchronicities. Sometimes magic happens in your life. You have a dream that reveals a truth or a course of action to you. You have a premonition that changes your behavior and saves you or a loved one from disaster. You meet someone at just the right time and you can’t believe the coincidence. Payment: $200.

Deadline: November 30, 2016.

Submission guidelines at https://www.freedomwithwriting.com/freedom/uncategorized/chicken-soup-for-the-soul-several-deadlines-approaching-11-books/
 

Nancy Kelly Allen has written 40+ children’s books and a cookbook, SPIRIT OF KENTUCKY: BOURBON COOKBOOK.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

After the Contract, Then What? Part 2



After the first or second major rewrite, you’ll receive a copy-edited manuscript with editorial comments —and a deadline. Editors work under tight deadlines so authors have to follow suit. The manuscript will pass between the editor and author a few more times, each with a deadline. With each subsequent pass, you will be allowed fewer changes. The best policy is to be thorough with each revision.
On the last deadline just prior to going to press, I read THE RIDDLERS, my chapter book about 30 times, looking for any errors, especially grammatical or punctuation. This is time consuming but worth the effort.
 
Picture books, fiction and nonfiction, go through a similar process, but the primary difference is that the illustrations have to be considered as well. If something doesn’t work well, it is usually easier to change the words than the art. When I was working on FORTY WINKS, the editor asked me to add back matter, information that complements the story. In this case, I added a list of discussion question, a glossary of terms for “Talk Like a Pirate Day,” “How to Dress Like a Pirate,” and a fun chart to figure out ye pirate name. Back matter is intended for a much wider audience, including adults, primarily parents, librarians, and teachers, as well as the young readers.

I enjoy the “After the Contract” revisions. That’s usually where I learn the most about writing. 

Next week, children’s author Ev Christensen is visiting this blog to discuss her new children’s book, THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS IN KENTUCKY. In the meantime, Ev and I will be attending the Kentucky Book Fair. We hope to see some readers of this blog at the Fair. Happy reading! 

Call for submissions for Young Writers:

Cuckoo Review. The word limit for all pieces is 500 words. If you’re writing a feature article then the word limit will be set when the piece is assigned.

All submissions should be emailed to contactcuckooreview@gmail.com as an attachment (.doc). Please ensure that all reviews include YOUR NAME and:

BOOK REVIEW
*Title of book
*Author
*Publisher
*Date of publication (if not already published)
*Link to author website

ALBUM REVIEW
*Title of album
*Band/ Musician
*Record Company
*Date of release (if not already released)


Call for submissions for Adult Writers:

MOMENTS BOOKS: Send your personal articles! Take a look at previous Moments books that Grace Published has released, particularly the first one, Divine Moments, to see what we accept. The article length is anywhere from about 500-2000 words or so. I’ve even included poems and some written by children. So the guidelines aren’t strict. The main point is the context of the article. I like them sent as an attachment to an email, times new roman, 12-point type. Include on the article: name, mailing address for the one free copy,
and email address. Send to Yvonne: yvonnelehman3@gmail.com 

Nancy Kelly Allen has written 40+ children’s books and a cookbook, SPIRIT OF KENTUCKY: BOURBON COOKBOOK.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

After the Contract, then What?


 

"If our readers don't like the first line then they'll never read the second."-Richard Peck

Signing with a publisher, that’s a big, gargantuan, colossal deal for a writer. It’s woohoo, chocolate-dance time. So what’s next? The answer depends on the editor and the manuscript. The editor is enthusiastic or the contract would not have been offered, but a writer may sometimes question the degree of enthusiasm when receiving the notes for a rewrite.
My two latest books were produced by two different publishers. FORTY WINKS, a bedtime picture book, required a minimal amount of revision. The first line, the hardest part of a book to write, didn’t resonate with the editor so I had to rewrite it, along with a few other tweaks. Within several exchanges guided by the editor, the book grew in complexity and the word choice upped the rhythm of the narrative.

My latest chapter book, THE RIDDLERS, required not a mere tune-up but a major overhall. The last five chapters were a no-go, so I wrote a brand new ending, all at the suggestion and guidance of my editor. One secondary character now has a minor role, and the relationship between the girl and her grandfather, who slowly succumbs to Alzheimer’s disease, became the primary focus of the book, making it a more emotionally satisfying story.

I respect and appreciate profession feedback. With both of these books, I’ve experience true collaborative editorial relationships, and with each, my writer wings widened. After all, my editors and I want the same thing: a polished manuscript.

Call for submissions for Young Writers:

Forest for the Trees. For submissions, enter Submission – Fiction, Submission – CNFSubmission – Poetry, or Submission – Art in the subject line. If you are a writer between the ages of 13 and 19, please indicate that you are submitting your work for publication in the Leaves section of FFTT. You may also want to include information about any awards you have won or encouragements you have been given by your teachers. If you are a writer over the age of 19, please indicate in the body of your email that you are submitting your work for publication in the Branches category.

Submission text should be attached as a Word or compatible document which is titled Your Name – Poems – or whatever your title or genre may be.For Poetry, you may submit up to 5 poems in a single document.
For Fiction and Creative Nonfiction, you may submit one piece that is up to 6,000 words, or three flash pieces that do not exceed 1,000 words each. All three should be in a single document.
Call for submissions for Adult Writers:

Stories about Teachers and Teaching. There isn’t a single one of us who doesn’t owe something to a teacher. They are the unheralded heroes of society. Tell us your stories about the great teachers who changed your life. And if you’re a teacher, tell us about the kids who changed yours, who motivated you to keep on teaching, who showed you that it was all worth it. We’d love to share your best advice with other teachers as well—what works, what doesn’t, how you stay enthusiastic about your jobs. What advice do you have for your colleagues? Tell us the funny stories too—we know you have lots of those. The deadline date for story and poem submissions has been extended to October 30, 2016. Deadline: October 30, 2016 


Nancy Kelly Allen has written 40+ children’s books and a cookbook, SPIRIT OF KENTUCKY: BOURBON COOKBOOK.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Looking Back Gives Perspective


 

“Sometimes, you have to look back in order to understand the things that lie ahead.”
Yvonne Woon

My first book was published seventeen years ago. At the time, I was working on a full-time basis, plus writing manuscripts and wondering if I was spinning my wheels, wasting time. The process was frustrating. I spent vast amounts of time writing, researching, targeting publishers and reading interviews of editors in attempts to hone in on the publisher that best fit my manuscript.
Sometimes I became distraught when the turnaround time produced a rejection letter in less than a week. Did an editor even read the manuscript? I wondered more than once. My frustration level grew; then I’d get an encouraging note from an editor rejecting a particular manuscript but asking to see more of my work as I produced it. Hope soared once again.
Today, I’ve gained perspective as if looking backward through time with a telescope. My eyes focus on things that were impossible to notice when I was living the moment, when rejections embraced every manuscript. Rather than remembering the frustration, I look back on the experience fondly. What was frustrating at the time—rejections—whetted my appetite even more to prove I could write a marketable manuscript. Rejections served as inspiration to fuel my creativity and imagination.
The built-up frustration made the first contract all the more sweet. Would I have appreciated THE CALL from an editor as much if I had received it with the first manuscript from the first publishing house I submitted to? Probably not.  
Glancing in my rear view mirror, I see those days as a period in which I grew as a writer. Every rejected manuscript served a purpose to help me learn to become a better writer.
Call for submissions for Young Writers:

Apprehension Magazine. At Apprehension we look for writing that is experimental or modern, and we publish writers in the age range of 14-21. We publish quarterly in December, April and August. We strive to reach out to those who are afraid to submit, and we reach out to those who are on the road to becoming professional and published writers.

Submission Deadlines:


Issue 1: December 5th, 2016

Issue 2: April 5th, 2017

Issue 3: August 1st, 2017 

Submission guidelines at http://www.apprehensionmag.com/

Call for submissions for Adult Writers:

ONE STORY seeks stories "between 3,000 and 8,000 words. They can be any style and on any subject as long as they are good. We are looking for stories that leave readers feeling satisfied and are strong enough to stand alone." Pays: "$500 and 25 contributors copies for First Serial North American rights."  

Submission guidelines at http://www.one-story.com/?page=submit

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Hush the Inner Critic


“Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it.”
Salvador Dalí

Inner Critics have negative voices that feed on our fears. Does yours accuse you of the following? 

Lack of talent. Stephen King says writing talent is as common as table salt so if you think you don’t have talent, read books, lots of books, and attend writing workshops to hone skills. Different styles appeal to different readers. Different is good.  

Fear of embarrassment. Do you fail to read your work in writers’ groups or fail to submit to a critique partner because you think your manuscript is subpar? These groups are designed to help writers grow so participate to get the most benefits. The more you submit your work, the more you will learn, and your confidence will grow. 

Thinking other writers are better? Writing is NOT about comparing your work to others. It’s about writing the best story you can produce. Your work can be different and just as publishable. 

Fear of a blank page. Do you stare at the computer screen or sheet of paper and don’t have a clue what to write? Think “What if” and mentally play with a character and plot; then outline a story. If you have a literary map, it’s easier to navigate through a beginning, middle, and ending.

Inner Critics do not have to be all negative. Harness that Inner Critic pickiness and force it to become an Inner Editor by not settling on mediocre writing. Use it to your advantage to see your work through an editor’s eyes and make the story sparkle. 

Call for submissions for Young Writers:

Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans®

AOP. recognizes the best poems from the multitude of works submitted. Our first publication, Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans®, has been published annually since 1990. An entire generation of students has grown up with this anthology and several have been published more than once as they've grown in age and experience. 

Deadline: November 15

Submission guidelines athttp://www.anthologyofpoetry.com/index.php/about-us/about-the-forum/anthology-of-poetry-by-young-americans.html 

Call for submissions for Adult Writers:

RATTLE has two "tribute calls" posted at this time. The first, for "Civil Servant Poets," has a deadline of October 15, 2016. NB: "The poems may be written in any style, subject, or length, by those who have worked a significant amount of time for a non-military governmental department or agency (whether U.S., foreign, or international)." The second, "Poets with Mental Illness," has a deadline of January 15, 2017. "The poems may be any subject or length, but must written by poets who have themselves lived with mental illness." Pays: "Contributors in print receive $100/poem and a complimentary one-year subscription to the magazine. Online contributors receive $50/poem. All submissions are automatically considered for the annual Neil Postman Award for Metaphor, a $1,000 prize judged by the editors." See for more information.

Submission guidelines at http://www.rattle.com/poetry/submissions/calls/

Nancy Kelly Allen has written 50 children’s books and a cookbook, SPIRIT OF KENTUCKY: BOURBON COOKBOOK.








 

 
 
 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Hush the Inner Critic

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford


After I read the editorial notes and allow my Inner Critic to shut me down for the day, I usually don’t reread the ideas and suggestions, but I think about them. Ponder, I call it. Some comments will stick out in my mind, and I figure out a way to work through them. If I can figure out a way to work through one, I begin to relax. One at a time, that’s my mantra.

 The next day, I read through the notes again. This time, I force myself to concentrate on what the editor has to say. If Inner Critic shouts or even whispers, I force my thoughts to analyze the notes. Usually there is a, A-HA! Moment and I think, Oh, I get it. But as I read on, there are often other suggestions that I’ll have to give much more thought to. That’s okay. One at a time.

I close the notes and reread the manuscript, the whole manuscript, without changing one work. As I read I figure out where some of the changes can be made…and how. I make notes as I read, flagging sections that need revision.

At this point I tackle the revision and invite Inner Critic to join me. As I change and tweak, Inner Critic tells me if it’s not working. In AMAGING GRACE: A KENTUCKY GIRL WITH GUMPTION DURING WWII, I had to extract several chapters and rewrite. I outlined the new chapters. An outline allows me to figure out what will happen and in what order. If I have a plan in place, I can hush my Inner Critic.

Next week, I’ll discuss more ways to put a lid on my Inner Critic.

Call for submissions for Young Writers:

"TransitionsAbroad.com has been extremely proud to host an annual student writing contest during the past 16 years for all currently enrolled high school, undergraduate, graduate students, student interns, and volunteers (including Peace Corps)." Awards cash prizes of $500/$150/$100/$50 and publication on TransitionsAbroad.com

Submission guidelines at http://www.transitionsabroad.com/information/writers/student.shtml

Call for submissions for Adult Writers

Upstreet has reopened for submissions (fiction and nonfiction only; they’re not considering unsolicited poetry at this time). “Payment, upon publication, will be between $50 and $250 for short stories or essays. Each author will also receive one complimentary copy, and may purchase more copies at a reduced rate.” Submission window closes March 1, 2017.

Submission guidelines at http://upstreet-mag.org/guidelines/

Nancy Kelly Allen has written 50 children’s books and a cookbook, SPIRIT OF KENTUCKY: BOURBON COOKBOOK.

Website: www.nancykellyallen.com

Sunday, September 25, 2016

How’s Your Inner Critic?

Quote: “Your inner voice whispers, but speaks the loudest.”
Matshona Dhliwayo

Yes, I have been hearing voices in my head and those voices have names, Inner Critic. My Inner Critic fills me with uncertainty by shouting about my writing failures or tells me I don’t have enough talent to finish the book. Sometimes the know-it-all tells me I’m wasting my time because the manuscript will be rejected. Another name for the Inner Critic is Self-Doubt. I’m up to his tricks (or is it a her?) of trying to erode my confidence.

Usually, I don’t have a problem with the first draft or even when I’m revising. Inner Critic pays a visit when I have a request for a rewrite from an editor, especially when the directions are vague, such as I need to feel more emotion from the character or when the revision notes are multi-paged, single spaced. What? That much of the story doesn’t work, yet the editor is still interested.  

The first thing I do is read through the notes once, maybe twice. Then I do what comes naturally: I walk away from the notes and the computer. My Inner Critic is yakking. Who are you kidding? You can’t do this. What if you do all that work and she decides to pass on the manuscript? That’s a lot of time to invest. 

Inner Critic is an emotional barometer that most writers deal with. We can either let it drown us in fear to the point that we quit writing or we can use it as a motivator to gear up for a challenge. If all else fails, I feed it chocolate to shut it up; then we’re both happy. 

Next week, I’ll discuss ways I handle the fear and use the fear to improve my creative deeds. 

Call for submissions for Young Writers

The Daphne Review. We accept submissions from high school age artists only (ages 13-18). All submissions must be original works by a sole creator and must not  be previously published/printed. Any evidence of plagiarism or theft of ideas or images will result in the rejection of your submission.

 Written Submission Guidelines:

Each written submission should include the following materials:

1.) Introductory cover letter

2.) The written work, submitted as an attached Microsoft word document titled as follows: “Last Name_First Name” 

Art Submission Guidelines:

Each art submission should include the following materials:

1.) Introductory cover letter, including a brief bio in third person

2.) Attachment image of artwork in JPG format at a minimum resolution of 300 dpi. These attached image files should be titled as follows: “Last Name_First Name.”

3.) If the submitted work is part of a series (a triptych or comic strip, for example) then please number each image in the order in which they should appear. For example: “Last Name_First Name_1” and so on. 

Please send all submissions to alexis@thedaphnereview.org


 

Call for submissions for Adult Writers

Anthology call: “Our upcoming second anthology on multiples, Multiples Illuminated: Life With Twins and Triplets, the Toddler to Tween Years, will focus on stories about twins, triplets, or more from the toddler to tween years (ages two to 12). Editors Megan Woolsey and Alison Lee, both writers, and mothers of multiples (triplets and twins respectively), are calling writers who would like to contribute a personal essay and/or advice on their experience from the years of tantrums to a world of tampons and tween awkwardness. We are looking for stories that are honest, heartwarming, heart wrenching, and humorous.” Unpublished work only.

Deadline: November 30, 2016.

Submission guidelines at http://multiplesilluminated.com/call-for-submissions/