It’s the end of the summer. And there’s still so much to do! The kid has all kinds of medical appointments. Target’s on the schedule so I can spend a boatload of money on pens and paper and, apparently, make-up and a locker mirror. She‘ll be a sophomore in high school, after all; she has to look good. Then there’s the mall trip – she’s been saving up her dog-sitting money to buy new clothes. (I just wish she’s pick the old ones up off her floor!) A college friend of mine is home this week with his family. We’ll all do lunch one day. Saturday is a road trip for a command performance at my parents’ in Connecticut.
We haven’t even made it to the beach and the zoo yet! I surmise that posts to this blog may be a little spotty for a week or two while we’re all out running here and there, squeezing in as much as we can before school starts.
Nonetheless, one of my more pleasurable – most of the time – duties picks up again this week. The lit journal I read for, Fifth Wednesday, is open again for submissions (for the Spring 2013 issue). A group of us start reading short stories this week. Sure, sometimes, it’s difficult wading through them, but most of the time I really enjoy reading pieces from writers aspiring to have their work published. I know what it’s like to be an author writing, writing,writing, editing,editing, editing a story and only then, finally, sending it out into the world on its own to sink or swim. Hell, it’s good training for when I send my daughter out there in a few years.
So, polish up a story and think about sending it to Fifth Wednesday. Or another journal or magazine of your choice. (See the ones I’ve posted so far in Cool Links.) Before you seal the envelope or press the SEND button, though, check out these few recommendations that I have based on what I’ve seen as a slush pile reader.
- Read the submission guidelines and follow them to the letter. If they say use 12 point Times New Roman as the font, use it.
- Read stories that the journal’s already published to get a sense of what the editor likes. (Usually, at least some are available online.) For instance, don’t send sci fi or a romance to an a magazine that prides itself on being edgy. And that says it doesn’t take genre pieces.
- Send only your very best work. Proofread, proofread, proofread! And then have someone else read through it. Someone who is NOT your mother. She’s proud of you regardless. You want someone who will and who can give you good, honest feedback regarding the content and form of your story.
- Consider work-shopping the story before you even think about sending it somewhere. I do this with my writing groups. If you can’t find a good one in your area, join one online. There are all kinds out there.
- Reconsider graphic, sexual content. It’s probably not appropriate for the journal, and few can do that sort of thing well anyway. (I’ve read some nasty stuff – not a lot, but a little goes a very long way, trust me.)
- And please don’t expect instant success. The road of (not to) writing is paved with many, many rejection slips and emails no matter who you are.
So, get out there and write and rewrite. But don’t forget to enjoy the end of summer with your family and friends. It goes by too quickly. And bring a notebook with you; you never know when and where writing inspiration might strike…