Nancy's Books

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Rewriting a Manuscript/Calls for Submissions

My critique buddy, Sandi, and I have worked together on numerous manuscripts over the past few years. She helps me polish my work, and I help (hopefully) spit shine hers. She is currently working on a rewrite by editor request.

When a writer receives a rewrite request from an editor, emotions overflow the psyche: with me, excitement and joy gush first. This is soon followed by an outpouring of doubt and fear. I wonder if I can actually follow through with writing that works for the publisher. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail, so the fear is warranted. Once I start the actual rewrite, the task gets easier, but never easy. I find that Sandi experiences the same trepidation. Here’s Sandi’s reaction to rewriting the first draft:

I’ve begun again. Whoever said writing is easy definitely doesn’t write. I climbed over that solid brick wall—you know, the one with black tar cascading down its surface—and  I’m starting with a scream and dialog.

Tell me why again I’m doing this?????

Sandi's comments SHOW (vs. TELL) her emotions—fear, frustration, anxiety—and her efforts—beginning is the hardest part—expose quality writing, are packed with humor, use analogies, and she says she’s starting with a scream (action). These are excellent writing techniques, and they’re heartfelt and authentic. Heartfelt and authentic: two more goals to strive for in writing. I’m looking forward to taking this journey with Sandi as she delivers the goods to her editor…and then on to readers.

 Next week, I’ll discuss fiction inspired by real-life characters.

Call for submissions for adult writers:

300 West 57th St., 17th Floor, New York, NY 10019.
     For more than six decades, Seventeen has been the prototypical teen girls’ magazine. It covers fashion and friendship, popularity and pop culture, family and fiction. The editors look for strong writers who can connect with girls ages 12 to 19. Articles offer sound advice, and inform 2 million girls a month about news and trends. They include self-help, profiles, and personal experience.
    Email a query with outline and clips or writing samples for nonfiction to the appropriate Seventeen editor. Send complete manuscript for fiction. For relationship/love stories, email Devin Tomb,; for Your Life and fitness and nutrition, Ashley Mateo at; for general health, sex education, and Buzz, Kim Tranell at; for fashion, Gina Kelly at; for beauty, Yesenia Almonte at yalmonte@
      Articles, 650–3,000 words. Fiction, 1,000–3,000 words. Buys first rights. Pays $1–$1.50 a word, on acceptance.
Details at

Call for submissions for young writers:

Silver Pen, publisher of the former Kids'Magination ezine, is planning a new publication for older readers called Youth Imagination. This online magazine will be a paying market.

Their website says,"We are open for submissions, and are particularly interested in creative fiction by teens, but will also accept YA stories by adult authors."

Submission guidelines at

Check out more contests on my blog:

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Illustration Notes in Picture Book Manuscripts, part II/Calls for Submissions

Today’s blog is part II of a series.

Illustrators are creative artists who are trained to interpret text. They don’t need nor expect a great deal of detail in manuscripts. Editors, too, can visualize a story and do not expect illustration notes to accompany text.

Opinions vary on illustration notes in manuscripts. Some editors don’t want any notes at all; others accept them if the notes are absolutely necessary. At a conference I attended, an editor said a well-known illustrator refused an assignment to work on a story because the manuscript contained illustration notes. When an illustration note is critical to understanding the story, a note or two may be okay, but I usually try to avoid using them.

If the story is historical fiction or nonfiction, visual references can be helpful to the illustrator. Example: a photo of a Minie ball, a civil war bullet, could be attached or the photo source noted. Visual references aren’t used for art direction purposes; instead, they are merely a source for information.

To use illustrator notes or not, that is the question. The answer depends upon the text. My advice: use them sparingly, if at all.

Next week, I’ll discuss first draft revision.

Call for submissions for adult writers:

Kasma is a digital science fiction magazine that is currently open to submissions. The magazine prefers stories 1,000 to 5,000 words, and is not closed to longer. Fantasy and other genres are not published often, but submissions of these stories are considered.

Kasma looks for “fiction that is intelligent, with well-thought out plots and characters. Beyond this, exactly what happens in your world with your characters is up to you. We enjoy a broad range and don't want to stifle author creativity by having elaborate expectations. Often enough, the best stories come as a surprise.”

Email stories in the body of the email to editors@kasmamagazine. com.

Submission details at

Call for submissions for young writers:

Cuckoo Quarterly. An online literary publication of poetry, short fiction, rants, reviews, interviews, and more. Open to submissions from youth under 19 years, with no restrictions on genre or format. The theme for issue 6 is “Power”

For the themed section we will accept writing of any form (poetry/non-fiction/script/illustration etc) relating to the chosen subject. Interesting or unusual angles on this subject are encouraged! Please mention in the accompanying email that the work is intended for the themed section.

Deadline for issue 6 is 15 March 2013

Submission guidelines at

Check out more contests on my blog:

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Illustration Notes in Picture Book Manuscripts, part I/Calls for Submissions

This one is for you, Rosi, and others who have questions about illustration notes.

A picture book story is told with 50% text and 50% illustration. The illustrations reflect the text but carry the story beyond.

Many editors and illustrators do not want illustration notes that specify art direction, and they especially don’t want it for every page. Illustrators prefer the opportunity to read the text without notes, regardless of how spare the text might be. However, if there is a surprise in the action that isn’t conveyed in the text, an occasional note is acceptable. Example: A character is playing in the yard and a monster is sneaking around, with no mention of a monster in the text. The writer is depending on the illustration to tell that part of the story. A short, bracketed note in italics is all that is needed [monster in background].

Illustration notes are NOT needed for descriptions of setting or characters, such as green tree, blue dress, red hair, etc.

Next week, I’ll continue with part II.

Call for submissions for adult writers:

The Tapestry of Bronze is sponsoring a series of international poetry contests to celebrate Greek and Roman mythology and the Olympian gods. The subject of the current contest is Hephaestus (also known as Vulcan), the God of the Forge. The deadline is April 30, 2013.

All poems remain the property of the authors. However, the Tapestry of Bronze reserves the right to post winning poems and those receiving Honorable Mention on the Tapestry of Bronze website.

Deadline: April 30, 2013

Submission guidelines: E-mail your poem (no more than 30 lines) to the following address:

Call for submissions for young writers:

The Apprentice Writer. Categories for submissions are:

We send copies of The Apprentice Writer to accepted contributors and their teachers.
Submit individually or have your teacher send to:
Gary Fincke, Writers Institute Director, Susquehanna University, 610 University Ave.
Selinsgrove, PA 17870-1164
Deadline: March 15, 2013
Submission guidelines at

Check out more contests on my blog:

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Picture Book vs. Magazine article, part III/Calls for Submissions

Today’s blog is part III of a series.

Check out the following elements to determine if your story works better as a picture book or a magazine story:

Does the story have 14-20 scenes or pieces of action? Picture books have about 28 pages of illustrations; magazine stories have 1-8 illustrations. Did you allow enough leeway for the illustrator to tell part of the story? A magazine story will include details such as “red, polka dot dress.” A picture book manuscript usually doesn’t include such details because the illustrations will show this aspect of the story. In fact, some picture book texts can seem sparse and not always easy to understand without the illustrations, which not only reflect the text but carry the story beyond. A magazine story is told with numerous details because the text does not rely on illustrations to help tell the tale.

Does the story have a universal theme? A picture book has an idea or message that flows throughout the story.

Is the story different in some way? Does the author voice or writing style stand out? Does the text zing with rhythm? A picture book manuscript needs a distinctive element.

Does your story have the “read it again” factor? Is there a satisfying conclusion in which the character solves his/her problem? Does the ending have a surprise or twist that delights the child? A favorite picture book may be read over and over. A magazine story is usually read fewer times.

Both picture books and magazines offer entertaining and informational stories to children and both claim important places in the literary world.

Call for submissions for adult writers:

Jelly Bucket is open for submissions through June 1. Send us your best poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Jelly Bucket is distributed nationally and produced by the Bluegrass Writers Studio, which grants the MFA in Creative Writing at Eastern Kentucky University.
Submission guidelines at

Call for submissions for young writers:

Hanging Loose magazine welcomes high school submissions. As with other writers, we reply within three months, and high school authors whose work we publish receive the same small fee and two copies of the issue in which their work appears. We feel a special responsibility to those young writers who look to us not only for possible publication but sometimes also for editorial advice, which we are always happy to give when asked. 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.

Submission guidelines at

Check out more contests on my blog: