Nancy's Books

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Motivation for Writers/Contest

This week, I’m continuing to discuss ways to stay motivated.

Many writers tell me they have started a manuscript but haven’t finished it. Momentum is the force that carries us forward to complete what we start. Figure out what works for you. Keep your writing momentum on track.

One of the best ways to stay motivated is to attend a writing conference. Not only do you get a personal glimpse into the struggles and triumphs of other writers, you leave with a better understanding of the writing process. Writers are open with helpful advice because each published writer is making the same journey to publication as every other writer. Some are a farther down the path and have more experience. Reap the benefits of that experience by spending time with writers in an atmosphere where writing reigns supreme.

Select a writing project that fits your interest and lifestyle and has a subject or theme you’re passionate about. Since you’ll be spending so much time on the project, your interest will keep you focused and excited about the work.

Some writers use deadlines to keep them motivated and to enact the BIC (Butt in Chair) approach. Knowing the deadline hovers, time is allocated to finish the writing.

Next week I’ll continue the discussion on motivation.

The Tenth Glass Woman Prize will be awarded for a work of short fiction or creative non-fiction (prose) written by a woman. Length: between 50 and 5,000 words. The top prize for the tenth Glass Woman Prize award is US $500 and possible (but not obligatory) online publication; there will also be one runner up prize of $100 and one runner up prize of $50, together with possible (but not obligatory) online publication.
Subject is open, but must be of significance to women. The criterion is passion, excellence, and authenticity in the woman’s writing voice. Previously published work and simultaneous submissions are OK. Authors retain all copyright is retained by the author.
There is no reading fee.
Previous winners are welcome to submit again for any subsequent prize.
Submission deadline: September 21, 2011 (receipt date). Notification date: on or before December 21, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Motivation for Writers/Call for Submissions

This week, I’m continuing to discuss ways to stay motivated.

Relish in the feedback of the critique or writing group. You’ll receive praise for what you’ve done right and suggestions for making your manuscript better in areas in which it is lacking. Appreciate the opinions of those who take the time to read and critique. They may seem picky and hard to please, but remember, editors will be even harder to please. Keep in mind, too, that the critiques are for your benefit. Use the ideas, or some of them, to improve your manuscript.

Write each day, even if it is only in your mind, plotting out a scene. Try to get the scene written as soon as possible so you won’t forget it.

Make writing a habit. End a writing session in the middle of a paragraph or in the middle of a scene so you can easily pick up where you stopped.

Think about your story when you’re not writing. Try different plot angles and allow yourself to wonder what would happen to your character if…

One sure way to add interest to your story is to rev up the conflict. Don’t let the story get boring or bog down by letting the character off too easily. Make the character work, and work hard, to overcome the problem. Place your character in a situation that you have to work hard to get him/her out of. Add a surprise for the character. You’ll enjoy the new twists and turns your story is taking.

Next week, I’ll continue to discuss ways to stay motivated.

Call for submissions for adults:
Nemesis Publishing. Are you an unpublished writer? With a piping-hot manuscript ready to blow readers' socks off? If you can answer 'yes' to both of those questions, then we want to hear from you. This is our first debut novel competition, with publication for the winning book scheduled for 2012. A shortlist of six manuscripts will be announced by 15 October 2011, with the winning manuscript announced by 30 November 2011.

Deadline: 14 August 2011

Details at

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Writing Motivation/Writing Contest

As I meet aspiring writers, many tell me they have become discouraged because the publishing market is so difficult to break into. Their assessments are correct. Difficult, but not impossible. I look back on my first seven years as a training ground. I didn’t sell a manuscript, but I kept writing and reading and learning. The practice paid off when I received “the call.” I discovered that seven years is the average number of years it takes to get a book accepted by a major publisher. Why so long? For most writers we’re learning our craft. The competition is fierce so our writing has to be of high quality but it also has to fit the publisher’s list of books. Becoming acquainted with the various publishers, editors, and they types of books published at each house is another time consuming task that takes time to learn.

Build writing time into your schedule. You may not have time to devote three hours per day, every day, to writing. If you have down time, like waiting to pick up a child at school, use those few minutes to work on your story. Some people write entire novels in twenty-minute time blocks because that’s the only free time they have.

Find writer friends, either locally or online, and form a critique group. Set a schedule to send manuscripts to each member of the group. My group sends a maximum of 1,000 words every two weeks. Knowing that you have to send a manuscript or a chapter every two weeks is motivating.

Next week, I’ll discuss more ways to keep the writing momentum going.

Good Housekeeping Short Story Contest

Applicants must submit an original short story, 3,500 words or less, on a theme that reflects an aspect of women’s lives today. Winner Selection: One (1) grand-prize winner and two (2) runners-up will be chosen at the sole discretion of Good Housekeeping’s judges panel. All entries will be judged on artistic merit and originality. In the event of a tie, whichever story the judges deem most suitable for publication in Good Housekeeping will be the winner.

Details at
Deadline: 1st September 2011

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Momemtum/Call for Submissions

I’ve been writing for the professional market for 22 years. For the first seven loooooong years, I made a few sales to the magazine market, especially academic journals. Those first seven years were dry, actually desert-like, in manuscript sales. It seemed that “the call” from an editor would never come. There were times when I grumbled, mumbled, and wondered why I even tried to get a book published. Then I’d receive a rejection letter with a note from an editor with a few encouraging words or for a request for more manuscripts as she told me the one I had sent didn’t meet the publisher’s editorial needs. The fact that an editor took the time to praise my work affirmed I was on the right publishing track or so I hoped. Those notes and reading children’s books to students on a daily basis kept my momentum going, kept me enthused, and kept me determined to trudge onward toward my goal.

Then the unbelievable happened. “The call” came. An editor actually offered me a contract. There is nothing like the publication of a book to keep the momentum going in a writer’s psyche. Two years later I finally held the book, Once Upon a Dime, in my trembling hands for the first time.

As overwhelming as it seems, getting published is not impossible. The harder task is probably learning to stay focused and to keep momentum in your writing program.

Next week, I’ll discuss ways to persevere with a positive attitude in order to keep the momentum going.

Call for submissions for adult writers:

Best Fiction is an online publication of brilliant stories by new, emerging writers alongside the work of established authors.” Pays: “a minimum honorarium of $25 US for first electronic and print publication rights,” though “established authors may negotiate a fee for their stories.
Details at

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Series Characters/Call for Submissions

Do you enjoy reading books about a particular character and wonder how the author keeps the character from going stale? Children’s books—picture, chapter, and novels—are filled with characters in series. In a book festival I attended with several authors of series books, I asked them how they confronted the challenge of keeping a character compelling and interesting. Many of the answers were similar so I’ve condensed them here.

Allow the characters to age. We watched Harry Potter grow up in the series. As characters grow, they face new problems relevant to their age and their skills, perceptions, interests, and relationships change as they face new situations. This rule does not always apply. In some popular series, such as Nancy Drew, little aging takes place.

Make the characters part of your fictional family. Some authors based characters on someone close, a husband or child, and write with a deep caring for the character. The emotional bond between a writer and the character can be strong.

Place the characters in school or in a certain location in which they have access to new situations to test their spirit and determination and to provide them with the opportunity to face challenges and grow.

Build in conflict and challenges that force the characters to prove him/herself by facing self-doubt and overcoming fears.

Avoid formulaic devices and surprise the reader with the unexpected occasionally. Maybe the shy character is outspoken when provoked.

Let me know if you have other ideas about how to keep serial character fresh and interesting.

Snag Today Poetry Contest. Any type of poetry-maximum of 50 lines-is eligible.

Submission Period: Entries accepted April 1, 2011-July 31, 2011. Early submission is encouraged.

What to Submit: Any work of poetry up to a maximum of 50 lines. There are no restrictions on style or theme. Each entry should be your own original work. You may submit the same work simultaneously to this contest and to others, and you may submit works that have been published or won prizes elsewhere, as long as you own the online publication rights. Please title your email "Snag Today Poetry Contest".

Details at