What's this all about

Chronicling my steps to becoming a published novelist, and the randomness of my life.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Momma Needs a New Pair of Shoes

After reading through so many literary agencies' submission guidelines, I have decided it is time to enter some writing contests.

See, agents want to back someone with credentials. They want someone who already has something to show for their writing (i.e. an award, or publication in a lit mag or even previous novel publication) and/or someone who already has an audience (e.g. people who have read your work in a lit mag or dedicated followers to your super awesome blog! which is why if you haven't, you should sign up to become an official follower so I can wow agents with my popularity =D) So it's time to enter some contests and build up some street cred. (n.b. I have no idea what these types of initials stand for, but my professors used to use them all the time and they make me feel scholarly.)

So, unaware of what contests were out there and unsure where to begin, I turned to that ancient purveyor of wisdom and Googled it.

I must say I was completely overwhelmed with the results. 3,160,000 results in .12 seconds. I've only gone through the first 2 pages, but I'm going to have to do a bit of research on the contests I've found so far, because some of them sound a bit questionable. But maybe that's just my suspicious mind.

Almost all of these contests have big cash prizes in addition to publication in a lit mag, or lit review or even full-on-bound-and-covered-official publication. All of that is really cool, but at this point I could really care less about the money. I just want the bragging rights. All I'm looking for is a sentence to add in my bio that goes something like "My short story (blank) won the (blank writing contest) award in 2011."

I'm going to try and enter as many contests as possible, which means I need two things:

1.) A story/stories
2.) Money

All of these contests require entry fees ranging from $15 to $50, plus the price of postage for the contests that require hard copies. And who even know how much postage costs anymore? I just used my last Forever stamp that I bought like 3 years ago, so I'm totally clueless.

I have a couple short stories I can dust off and submit, but I feel like I need more ammo. I need to churn out some hot, fresh new stories to win me some competitions. To get the wheels of inspiration turning, I want to get your thoughts, dear reader. What do you want to read about? What kinds of stories do you like best? What is your favorite book?

Lastly, I put together a list of a few of the writing contests I have found and will post it below in case you want to enter some as well. Don't say I never did nothing for ya...

Creative Writing Contests:
Wordpress Contest
Glimmer Train Fiction Open
Red Hen Press Contest
Writers of the Future
Hunger Mountain Contest
Adirondack Review Fulton Prize
Snake Nation Press
Narrative Magazine Contest
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award
Moonlight Mesa Associates Western Fiction Contest
Writer's Digest Annual Contest
Freelance Writing Contests

Monday, May 23, 2011


I can't for the life of me understand why so many literary agencies out there do not want to represent horror. People love horror! I love horror!

They'll represent lady-porn (which I think I've figured out they like to call that "women's fiction"...these are the paperback books you see displayed at the checkout counter in grocery stores with beefy, shirtless men and titles like The Widower's Fantasies or something equally ridiculous) but they won't represent a good horror story?

And another thing...
I posted the revised version of my first chapter on CritiqueCircle and mostly received feedback from peope who had not read the original version - no big deal. I still received postive reviews and I still feel pretty good about my work. My problem is that I got a lot of people mentioning things like "Oh, the whole vampire/werewolf thing is very overplayed. These types of stories are almost all the same - make sure you try to be creative and make your story different. Are you sure you want to go with vampires and werewolves? It's a bit cliche. I really enjoyed your work and it got my interest, but it's a bit cliche."

Yes, I know full well that there has been an explosion in these types of horror stories ever since Edward Cullen sparkled his way into every female between the ages of 13 and 43's bedroom. I haven't been living under a rock. And yeah, I've noticed that stories under this genre are all very similar and almost all have the same plot - I'm a fan of the genre and have read and watched so many of these stories it's probably a little unhealthy.
I don't need to hear it!

I know they are really just trying to help, and I am extremely grateful to them for taking the time to read and critique my work, but come on. Give a sister a break.

It's only going to get harder from here. I'm going to face a lot more skepticism and be told a million reasons why my story isn't original enough, or just not "what we're looking for." And it's going to get increasingly harder to take.

But for now...I DON'T WANT TO HEAR IT!!!

Thanks for reading! =)