I've had a busy January, with current/forthcoming appearances in these publications -
Tuesday, 19 January 2016
Bartleby Snopes’ guidelines include a list of "Things That Generally Turn Us Off" that's worth bearing in mind wherever you send your stories -
- Stories written in present tense (especially third person present tense)
- Stories with graphic dead baby scenes
- Stories about writers
- Stories about struggling marriages
- Stories set in bars
- Stories with more backstory than plot
- Stories with undeveloped characters
- Stories that are overly reflective
- Stories that rely heavily on second person usage
Comma Press have so many dislikes that I can only list a few here -
- Coming of age stories
- Stories about ordinary, mundane days/existences in which suddenly something happens to change everything
- Stories that aim for complete thematic unity (as though the writing of them was a jigsaw puzzle to be completed) above surprise or delight
- Stories about a) student life; b) splitting up with a partner; c) taking drugs; d) unlikely travel/rave experiences
- Stories whose justification in a workshop scenario might be 'this really happened'
- If you're writing from a female perspective: writing about 'going mad for a bit and having lots of dangerous sex with unwholesome types'
- If you're writing from a male perspective: writing about breaking out of humdrum, conventional existences/work; getting stoned; wild irresponsible nights with unhinged mates; meeting salt-of-the-earth old blokes in pubs who, while not having the education of the protagonist, have home-spun wisdom to impart and are prone to saying 'bloody heck'; feeling intellectually superior.
Jonathan Franzen wrote -
- Fiction that isn't an author's personal adventure into the frightening or the unknown isn't worth writing for anything but money
- Write in the third person unless a really distinctive first-person voice offers itself irresistibly.
But before you start rewriting, consider the Guardian’s review of the “Best British Short Stories 2015” anthology where they write that “It would appear that – going by this collection and scrutinising the author biographies – your chances of appearing in Best British Stories 2016 will be given a boost by"
- being a woman
- having a connection with the north west
- writing your story in the present tense
- be a bit weird, or uncanny
Saturday, 9 January 2016
Here are the 6 most popular of my 2015 write-ups -
- The Best British Short Stories 2014 by Nicholas Royle (ed)
- The Knowledge by Robert Peake
- Unthology 4 by Robin Jones and Ashley Stokes (eds)
- The Poetry of Seamus Heaney by Elmer Kennedy-Andrews (ed)
- Paper Aeroplane by Simon Armitage
- Used to be by Elizabeth Baines
And here are the 6 least popular -
Saturday, 2 January 2016
There are fewer critical dates for poetry submissions than for story submissions - more markets and fewer windows. I shall try to submit to most of these (mostly UK) competitions and submission windows -
- Bare Fiction - window closes on 9th Jan. See http://www.barefictionmagazine.co.uk/submissions/
- Magma - window closes on 31st Jan. Theme "revolution". See http://magmapoetry.com/contributions/
- Kent and Sussex poetry competition - 1st Prize £1000, entry fee £5, deadline 31st Jan.
- Torriano Poetry Competition - 1st Prize £250, entry fee £3, closing date 30th Jan.
- The Interpreter's House Poetry Competition - 1st Prize £500, entry fee £4, closing date 30th Jan.
- Poetry Business pamphlet/book competition (deadline 29th Jan)
- Rattle chapbook competition (deadline 15th Jan)