Tag Archives: writing

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018 Rules

21 Mar

To have a little order, I need to establish rules and guidelines, these are they.

OBJECT:- To write at least 30,000 words (or more) in 30 days.

This does NOT mean that I have to write 1 story every day.

Not writing a story each day WILL NOT deem the challenge to have been failed.

Failure is to not write 30,000 words in total (or more) in the 30 day period.

There is no daily goal, just a goal for the whole month.

Between the period of midnight April 1st 2018 and April 30th 2018 23;59:59 I MUST write at least 30,000 words.

If by May 1st I have not done this, I have failed.

I am allowed to write stories longer than 1000 words, there is no upper word limit.
I am allowed to write several stories in one day whose combined word counts are equal to or greater than 1000 words.

Stories can come from image prompts or word prompts.
I cannot use stories I have already started & merely type them up or finish them.
I can use prewritten outlines, as long as they aren’t actually started stories.

Stories do not need to be spellchecked or proofed but MUST be word counted using a wordprocessor and an online word counter which must both state the story is 1000 words or longer (not including the title, the date, my name or THE END).

These are the rules, to ensure fair play and no cheating.


State Of My Mind Address

17 Mar

State Of My Mind Address:-

Know this, I have subbed more these past few months than ever before. I have learnt that I am more resilient than I thought. I’ve also learnt that I now know when I’m punching above my weight limit.

To quote The Art Of Noise, “So What Happens Now?

I currently have 35 pieces out in submission. i will be waiting to hear what happens with each of those pieces. But as of now, I probably won’t be submitting to any more of the big magazines.

This does NOT mean I won’t submitting anything else this year, far from it. From this point on, I’ll be picking my markets far more carefully. The “throw it at the wall & see what sticks” method simply hasn’t worked.

I do need to read more from the bigger markets. I’ve tried a few times to learn what they like, I don’t think it’s an impossible task, just an extremely difficult one that will take time.

As of now, you’ll be seeing a lot less submissions from me. You’ll still see the ones I can’t resist, or that I think I’ve got a chance in. When one model fails, you have to try something different. It’s insanity to carry on the same way when all you see is rejections.

So this is the state of my mind as it stands. Battered & bruised, but unbroken by the submission market.

All of the successes this year so far were submitted last year. Just so you know.

This is Ray, Peace Out.

What’s currently in submission in 2018 #3

15 Mar

As the last one was in February I thought I’d update you.

What’s currently out in submission?

Even Stevens (subbed to AE)
Junkie (subbed to Blind Spot)
A Head Of Steam (subbed to Edge Onlines Fantastic Trains)
I Want Candy [subbed to Tin House] (This may have been rejected)
Even Stevens [Subbed to Outlook Springs]
My Kingdom [subbed to Spring Song Press]
The Dragon Readers [subbed to The Arcanist]
Shots Of Repatriated Bastard [subbed to Spectacle]
Not According To Design [Subbed to Mythic]
Unlucky For Some [subbed to Asimov’s Science Fiction]
Man Overboard [subbed to James Gunn’s Ad Astra]
My Summer Holiday, By Billy Mesner (Aged 5) [subbed to Kaleidotrope]
Junkie [subbed to Paper Dog Books]
Where’s The Dog? [subbed to Spark]
Overground [subbed to Abyss & Apex]
Photo Sympathy [subbed to Electric Spec]
The Lanyards [subbed to GigaNotoSaurus]
The Safety Of Checkpoints [subbed to Midnight Hour]
The Witch In The Fog [subbed to Midnight Hour]
The Concentration Camp [subbed to Strange Horizons]
Notepad And Pencil [subbed to Nature; Futures]
Mother Knows Best [subbed to Analog]
Playing The System [subbed to Kasma]
Wizard Of The Day [subbed to Lightspeed; fantasy]
Overground [subbed to Lightspeed; SF]
Welcome To Your New Home [subbed to Visions]
The Princess And The Sandwich [subbed to The Hamthology]
The Concentration Camp [subbed to Apex Magazine]
Put On A Happy Face [Subbed to Parsec Ink; Flawed Reflections]
Fluid State [subbed to Writers of the Future]
A Sense Of Duty [subbed to Flash Fiction Magazine]
Shots Of Repatriated Bastard [subbed to Escape Pod]
Left Ajar [subbed to Alternative Theology]
Diary Of An Evil Henchman [subbed to Startling Stories]
Empty Chest [subbed to StarshipSofa]
Assessment [subbed to Hinnom Magazine]
Wedded Bliss [subbed to Solution Loans short story competition]
A Fine Body [subbed to Battling in All Her Finery]
The Parting [subbed to Deciduous Tales]
Mushnik’s Guitar [subbed to Stupefying Stories]
The Age Of Chivalry [subbed to Freeze Frame Fiction]
Acceptances: 0. No pick-ups in the last month.
Rejections:- Again, too many to count.
Publications:- Third Flatiron went to print so I’ve now got my free ebook of their Monstrosities anthology.
Withdrawals:- A Fine Body [withdrawn from Cohesion Press SNAFU anthology]
38 stories now out there.

Behind the curtain; The Submission Process

11 Mar

For new and upcoming writers, I’ve decided to blog on what I do to submit a story, my process.

This starts out with the assumption that you already have one (or more) story to submit. You may have just finished it, but don’t worry. I’ll be covering all the steps you should take BEFORE you send it off into submission.

Step 1 – Identify the correct market, and that it’s open.
I’m a science fiction writer, so there’s no point in my sending out my stories to romance publishers. It’s the SF markets for this guy. Places like F&SF, Analog, Apex, Clarkesworld, and today it’s Stupefying Stories. All markets state on their webpage if they are open for subs or when they will next open. Only submit if they are open!

Terms that might initially confuse you:- Multiple submissions, Simultaneous submissions.
Multiple submission simply means you can’t send the market more than 1 story at once.
Simultaneous submission means you can’t send the story to more than 1 place at a time.

Step 2 – Check preferred length and payment.
Some markets want flash fiction (normally up to 1000 words) but the bigger fish want longer stories. Generally the cut off is between 8-10,000 words. Check the submission guidelines to see what’s too long for your specific submission market. In order to do this, I had use timetravel (The Wayback Machine).
Ensure you know what the market are going to pay for your story if they buy it. I won’t submit to anywhere that charges a reading fee, I advise you to do likewise.

Step 3 – Proof, Format & Word Count.
This can be a long step for some new writers, you might not know how to use certain features on your word processing software. Learn, and learn fast. You’ll be doing this a lot once you choose to start submitting stories, hopefully it’ll become second nature soon and you’ll be able to move through this stage more quickly in the future.

What is Proofing?
Put simply, it’s making sure you’ve removed all the spelling and grammar mistakes from your story.
Your brain is a bastard! Trust me on this, I shit you not. The human brain will read over mistakes, insert words that are missing, and ignore words you’ve written twice. This is why you always proof your work. Spell checking on a word processor IS NOT ENOUGH! Use text to speech software.

A program will read exactly what you’ve written, as you wrote it. It’s also an excellent way to pick up if you’ve put commas in the wrong place or need to add them. Personally I use this place, it’s free and you can download the mp3 of your story to play it back as you read along, obviously it means you can pause it when you need to fix stuff.


I might do several passes through this to make sure the story is fully checked before moving on.

What is Formatting?
In the submission guidelines, you should see how the market want the story to be presented on the page. Most places ask for Standard Manuscript Format.

An example of the industry standard can be found here:- https://www.shunn.net/format/story.html

All this means is they want double line spacing, italics underlined (and not in italics, unless otherwise stated), your address details and word count at the top on the first page and your surname, story title & page number in the header. And for the story to be in a 12 point font, generally Times New Roman or Courier.

Always check EXACTLY what format is being asked for and follow it. Seriously, markets can & will reject you at this stage for not following their format needs. If you aren’t sure how to change line spacing, Google is your friend.

How Do You Get A Word Count?
Do not rely on your word processing software for a correct or accurate word count. EVER. This place is probably the best site online, and it’s free. Don’t count your name, title or THE END. Just count the actual story text.


Step 4 – The Submission
These can be done in several ways, many markets have their own online forms you can fill in, others ask you to email the story to them. Read whatever instructions you are given and follow them. Here I am emailing my story.

Most places will say what they’d like in an email subject line. If not just put Submission, Fiction, Story Title/Your Surname.

Remember to attach the story to the email!

In the email, say who you are sending it to (Dear Editor, you can find their first name use it but you don’t have to), say what you are sending (please find attached my story “Bob Meets a Dog”), say how long it is (1900 words) and if they ask you to describe it, try to do that in as few words as possible (It’s a wry look at the interaction between species).

If you’ve any publication credits, list the best here, no more than 3 or 4. If not, add your legal full name, your address, your email address, where they can send paypal to if it’s not the same email and a short (100 words max) biography about you.

Then close with a formality. I generally use this:-I hope you like my story.

Remember to attach the story to the email!

I’m saying it twice because it’s important, and an easy stage to miss. And you’ll feel a right fool sending someone a submission email with nothing attached.
If you’ve checked that your story is attached, you can now send your email.

The following step isn’t mandatory, but it is good practise if you intend to submit often.

Step 5 – Keep your own records
For me, it’s good to know what stories are out, where, and when they went. I keep my own archive on my PC, I also log stories I’ve submitted at The Submission Grinder.

Here, if the market is listed, you can log your submission and it tracks how long the story is out for.
The Submission Grinder is free to use (and join), it’s fairly easy to use as a novice and it’s great for finding markets too.

Continue reading

So this was February…

1 Mar

We’ve already reached the end of the second month of 2018.

So what’s happened so far?

SALES:- I’ve made 2 sales so far, to Third Flatiron; “The Doomsday Machine Retires” for their Monstrosities anthology and to WolfSinger Publications; “Muse” for their Cat Tails anthology. Still no more than this, despite my best efforts

SUBMISSIONS:- I’ve already submitted 72 stories this year.

REJECTIONS:- I’ve had 59 rejections so far.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS:- In the pipeline are the publications of “Uncle Ping’s Evening Farewell” from Insignia. Still no official date on this.

“An Improper State Of Mind” from MindCandy is now available https://www.amazon.com/dp/1978380453/ref=cm_sw_su_dp

Third Flatiron are gearing up for their imminent release on March 10th (pre-order here:- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079Q9N7Q1?ref_=pe_2427780_160035660)

Wolfsinger are locking down their final proofs in preparation for a release very soon.

What to do if you aren’t making sales

27 Feb

I had a good January. I sold 1 story and had another picked up but there’s no money in it.
However you look at that, it’s 2 more publication credits.

Since then, I’ve had no further pick-ups or sales.

I’ve had a few nearlys, I was shortlisted and fell before the final hurdle, and I had one especially nice rejection on a piece I had actually lost all hope in anyone ever liking or buying. But I’ve made no sales.

So what does a writer do if they’ve not made any sales recently?

Don’t fall into a depression thinking all editors hate you & that you’ll never make a sale again. I’ve said before in previous pieces on rejection, the odds are MASSIVELY against you. Accept that fact. You tried. Yoda may say “there is no try, only do” but fuck him, he’s a puppet.

Support friends in your genre who are selling, congratulate them, read their work to see why they sold and you didn’t. Them selling in your genre shows the opportunities are there.

Take the time to read what the places you are submitting to are putting out. This shows you what their sweet spot is.  Obviously don’t then just rip off what you read for your next submission. Break down what you read & see where you can improve upon it.

Edit and proof stories you’ve already written. Any chance to tighten work you already created should be seized upon, you are only improving a story this way.

Take a break! No, seriously! Constantly writing and submitting can stress you out. Have a few days off, a week even. You don’t have to be submitting every day, and it’s not healthy to be constantly pushing yourself without any respite. Not good physically or mentally.

Get more exercise. Try to go for a short walk every day, get the blood going, get yourself in the world, see what’s happening in reality.

Watch a movie. It doesn’t matter if it’s the latest blockbuster release or something over 30 years old you’ve seen a dozen times or more.

The bottom line is this. Don’t dwell on the fact you aren’t selling. If you are putting your best work out there, you can’t do any more. It’s just other people’s choices and opinions. One day they might be looking for work about dragons who make sandwiches, other days they might be looking for horses who save kingdoms. (Yes, both of these are stories out in submission right now)

Whatever you do, make it something positive that helps you. Support your friends, read other stuff, re-read your own. Or just take a break.

If selling stories was easy, everyone would be doing it. You are not alone, we’re all in the same boat.

My Archive

15 Feb

Writers who follow me on social media will see that I’ve been doing a lot of story submissions recently. And almost all of them have been unique titles, not currently out to other markets.

So how I am I able to have so many different things out to different places at once?

SIMPLE. I have an archive.

It’s all the stories I’ve written since 2014. All filed by year, and length.

When I’m approaching a new market, I look at what they want, and what length they want. I’ve then got folders for flash (1000 words or less) and longer material (anything over 1000 words) in each years folder for 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Anything I’ve already written this year is currently just in one folder, but I’m generally not likely to submit things I wrote this year yet.

In total I have 394 completed stories that I can select from.

What I call my archive.

Obviously, these are backed up in several places to negate the risk of losing them for any reason.
But this is how I am so easily able to submit new work whenever I want.