Today’s prompt–to write a story about one of your characters’ birthdays–may seem simple, but it isn’t.
Why’s that? Because of one extra rule I’m going to throw in:
The birthday celebration you’re writing about must be correct to their culture and must also be different from what’s usually done in our culture–how different is up to you.
Some thoughts to get you started:
- In medieval times, they often didn’t celebrate birthdays. Instead babies were named a number of days–sometimes years–after their birth, and their Naming Day was celebrated.
- Many cultures send their kids on pilgrimages or vision quests when the kids become adults.
- Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t even CELEBRATE birthdays–what if you’re character’s mad because if they lived in the next town over, they’d be having a big party, but their parents don’t believe in that stuff?
- Not all cultures give gifts on birthdays, and in some, it’s common practice to only give gifts that will be useful.
I hope that will help get you started. Please post the first sentence–or paragraph if it’s short enough–of your response in the comments.
For my tenth birthday, my mother took me to Free Cove. I’d always wanted to see the capitol with its four towers, representing the four great families of our nation.
Today I’d like to share three themed anthologies with you. Not all of them will pay much for your story, but they’ll all pay something. The best part about these anthologies is that they’ll allow you to see your name in a book–if you’re stuck in novel revision like me, it’s probably the only way you’ll see your name in a book for a while.
Each of these anthologies have a theme. Some are more specific than others. I’ve stayed away from anthologies which are tribute to famous(usually dead) authors and their mythologies, but there are usually a few of those published each year if you’re interested.
Please remember that I do not post full guidelines here and to read through the websites thoroughly before you submit.
Mermaid Tales: An Anthology will be published by Lucky Thirteen. They want stories of up to 20, 000 words about mermaids–other than The Little Mermaid, that is. Being a start up, they can only afford to pay $10 for stories of up to 10, 000 words and $20 for stories of up to 20, 000 words. However, this looks like a fun little anthology to be involved in and contributors will also be allowed to buy copies at production cost for a certain period of time.
The Inanimates I is seeking stories of between 3, 500 and 15, 000 words in which one of the main characters is an inanimate object with the fears and feelings of a human. They don’t want any dolls or dummies though, so be creative. They’ll pay an unspecified flat rate for each story and a contributor copy or two. Again, this sounds like more fun than profit.
The Mothman Chronicles is the highest paying of these anthologies, prepared to pay five cents per word up to 4, 000 words for stories involving the mothman. The stories do not have to be in known mothman territory. They do however have to be sent in by July 1st, so start brainstorming your ideas tonight.
Remember to thoroughly read the guidelines, to edit your story until it sparkles, and to enjoy the process. Themed anthologies are a fun way to get your name out there and to see yourself in print–so take advantage of them this summer and submit to as many as you can write stories for.
All the best stories are driven by character wants and needs. To truly understand your characters, you must understand what each of them wants and needs. Sometimes those are not the same things, and come directly in conflict with each other. The same can be said for our own lives. Sometimes we know what we want, but not what we need. Other times we don’t know either.
While great stories can be written without full understanding of oneself, the best writers are constantly trying to understand themselves better. It is this constant drive to understand ourselves that gives us the willpower to seek understanding with our characters.
In light of that, today’s prompt is one I would like you to do for yourself–and one of your characters.
What is your definition of true love?
If you’ve ever used Duotrope’s Digest to find a market for your work, you’ll notice that beside the name of some markets they’ve put the word “fledgling”. The word indicates that the market is less than six months old. Six months is used as the marker because most new markets fold within the first six months.
Today I’ve gathered three new markets that would love to see your work and will even pay you for it.
Specutopia is a brand new magazine looking for only the best speculative fiction. Their definition of speculative fiction includes science fiction, fantasy and everything in between, but doesn’t include horror. If they like your work, they’ll pay you one cent per word. They’d like to pay you more, but starting up a magazine, even electronically, costs money and they need to pay for their bandwidth. Oh well.
Abomination Magazine is a slightly less new magazine that, unlike Specutopia, would love some horror stories. In fact, they’d prefer you to scare their pants off. So much so that they won’t accept your story if it doesn’t scare them. However, they’re still only going to pay you one cent per word because they’re broke too.
Fantastic Frontiers Magazine I think this is the oldest one on today’s list, and this market is also the highest paying. They’d like to see your fantasy and science fiction stories of up to 2,000 words. Unlike the other guys, they had some proper money to get themselves started, so they’re willing to pay you three cents per word instead of one. Don’t you feel like you’re moving up in the world? Well, that’s only if they like your work.
Don’t forget to keep submitting your work. Every time you get a rejection, send that story back out. Every time you get depressed, write something new and send it out. The only way to get published more is by writing, editing and submitting more. Quite a number of writers spend months working on the writing and editing part and never get to the submission part. Start submitting now, and you’re one step ahead of all of them.
We all have different memories of our families, and most of us have physical mementos, objects by which we remember those we’ve lost. These physical objects–jewellery, books, anything once loved by our loved ones–sometimes become as precious to us as the people we represent.
My grandmother spent Tuesday night digging some of these mementos out of my old room at my mother’s house. She returned to me some of the most precious books I own: special edition fairy tales from my dead aunt, guide books I got on my trip to Scotland, old notebooks I haven’t looked at in years.
Today I’d like you to write about these mementos. Not about your mementos, but about your characters’ mementos. You can learn a lot about a person by walking into their room and looking at their most precious objects. Today you’re going to find out exactly how much.
Write a scene in which your character is contemplating at least one of their most precious mementos.
Please post your first sentence in the comments.
My first sentence:
“I was taken away from everything I love at the end of my childhood. Unlike normal kids, my childhood ended abruptly one day when my mother told me we needed to hide from the Gods.”
I’ve always been proud to be Canadian. Maybe it’s because Canadians are polite. Maybe it’s because Canada’s really, really pretty. Maybe it’s just because at least our politicians, while not the most intelligent or trustworthy, aren’t warmongers.
Whatever it is, I’ve noticed that Canada isn’t really given the recognition it deserves. Many of the best modern musicians, actors, artists and especially comedians, are from Canada. Here in Canada the arts thrive, aided by hundreds of grant programs, government-funded arts education programs and library-run creative programs. We may not have the same level of control over the mainstream media as the Americans, but with a tenth of their population, how can we be expected to?
More importantly, us Canadians like to do it ourselves. With a fondness for literature and a do-it-yourself attitude stolen from the pioneers, Canadians have created hundreds of magazines, dozens of which are specifically looking for fiction. Over the last year or so I’ve discovered many of these markets for writers, some of which pay small fortunes.
Today I’ve decided to share with you three not-so-famous Canadian magazines that will pay quite a bit for your fiction.
Descant Literary Magazine is a Canadian magazine, coincidentally run by the same people who run Now Hear This, the literacy company I worked for last year. They accept short fiction, short essays, reviews and poetry, and they pay $100 flat for accepted works. They prefer paper submissions and they do mention that it could take a long time to get a response and to go from acceptance to publication.
FreeFall Magazine is a quarterly Canadian magazine accepting poetry and prose. They also run occasional contests. FreeFall will pay you $5.00/printed page for published works.
The Fiddlehead claims to be the oldest literary journal in Canada. I can’t tell you for sure if this is true or not, not being well enough educated on the history of Canadian literary magazines(maybe I should do some research…) but what I do know is that they’re looking for short fiction up to 6,000 words and poetry. The other thing I know is that they’ll pay you $40/printed page when your work is published.
On my journey to discover Canadian literary culture, I’ve learned that Canadians tend to give fiction and poetry quite a high monetary value. Some of these pay rates made my jaw drop the first time I found them. I dream of someday being published by one of these magazines–maybe you should make it one of your goals, too.
If you’d like a more comprehensive list of Canadian literary journals, you can find one here.
Happy Friday the thirteenth! Originally today’s prompt was going to be based off of a single emotion, but in celebration of the fact that it’s Friday the thirteenth, I decided to go for a more… morbid prompt:
Write a story beginning with a character sitting at the very front, looking out the front window of a train when someone jumps in front of it.
Please post your first sentence in the comments.
My first sentence:
I’d always joked about seeing a jumper, so when it finally happened my first thought was ‘hmm, I thought the splat would’ve been louder’.