Tag Archives: word count

Submitting Work to Magazines/Competitions

I just submitted something. This is a big step for me.

It feels like pushing your baby out of the window in the hopes that someone will catch it.

God I hope they catch my word baby.

For those interested I entered the Aeon Award – http://www.albedo1.com/aeon-award/aeon-award-2014/

It may well come to nothing, but that’s okay. This step of actually submitting work has had a positive effect. I now feel like a struggling writer, rather than someone struggling with a hobby.

My work is out there. It’s like opening a flood gate. How many other things can I submit? How many magazines are out there accepting new work?

 

 

This is an important point – I really didn’t understand how many sci-fi and fantasy magazines there are out there accepting submissions. You’d be surprised! There are so many!

Do be careful though, each place has their own strict guidelines. Read each carefully and make sure you follow them to the letter. There is no ‘basic’ way of submitting your work these days. Fortunately there are now extensive guidelines and FAQ pages so make use of them.

And, finally – exercise caution.

There are always going to be shady places out there looking to trick you out of money. Research a magazine/competition etc before entering it. The internet is your friend…

 

Push those word babies. Push them.

 
– Zero Nine

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Take a Break from Writing!

 

Wait! Come back! Close that search window… close iiiit.

Perhaps the title should be – Take a Break from What You’re Writing.

I’ve discovered the wonders of writing short stories. Now, like many writers out there, I am well and truly submerged in my ‘first real novel’. And by that I mean I’m writing something that I could imagine being published. It’s something that I’ve been working on for AGES! It’s hefty.

But in all this time I’ve never tried to get published in other ways. I’ve never seriously sat down to write something that could be submitted to a magazine. In essence I’ve been hiding behind my novel.

We’ve all been guilty of it ‘I can’t split my focus, I have to work on my novel’, and then what? Typing a couple of hundred words in the early hours of the morning?

Do you remember when you didn’t look at the word count? Do you remember losing track of the time because you’ve spent it all typing?

 

 

I lost that feeling for a long time. Then I got a kick up the ass to write a short story just to have something to submit for a magazine. I plunged in – with limited word count there’s less stress to have everything planned out. You really can go wild without the danger of plot holes (I favour sci-fi, plot holes are commonplace).

I’ve been flying through it! It might never see the light of day but everything is in perspective now. Once I’m done with it I’ll return to my novel with fresh eyes. I’ll submit it. Who knows, I might even get published before I’m published…

 

 

So if you can’t keep your eyes away from the dreaded word count – if you’re not as scared/excited of the events of your book as your protagonist is – maybe it’s time for a break.

Write something fresh, a little window into another world. Flexing your writing muscles doesn’t drain your creativity, the more you write the more you CAN write.

So stop writing, and start writing!

 

😉

– Zero Nine

 

 

 

 

 

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The Importance of Deleting Words

I know. It’s blasphemous. As a writer, whether published or not, deleting words is the hardest thing in the world to do. I could easily wax lyrical about every word being a beloved child but that’s simply not the case. Every word is another soldier for the grinder, driving you towards your goal. But not every battle can be won. Sometimes sacrifice is needed.

My latest writing project (which I’ll go into more detail about at some point) was going really well until the 40,000 word mark at which point I dramatically changed the direction of the story. The main characters went from being survivors to action heroes. I suppose I wanted more to happen in the plot but in doing so I belied the original intention of the book and made caricatures of my protagonists.

Yet I ploughed on into new plot developments, all the while worrying about where it was going. Before I knew it I had reached 60,000 words. But I wasn’t happy, and I felt that I was in too deep now to really turn back. I was stuck between not being able to carry on and not wanting to get rid of everything I’d written.

I remained in this no-man’s land for ages. Never writing, never reading. Always thinking about it. Then I bit the bullet. I deleted it. I knew the point that it all changed and I deleted everything I’d written after that point. Then I read through it and deleted more. I went on a delete-fest. I deleted myself raw. If the delete button had a mind it would…

Well I suppose it would have an existential crisis, not unlike this one:

But less fruit orientated.

I digress.

When the red haze dissipated I was left with around 35,000 words. With my goal being around the 80,000 word mark this set me back considerably. But that doesn’t matter: because I’m writing again. Not much I admit. It’s slow going. I’m restructuring everything. Re-reading and editing as I go.

It’s bloody difficult. But not half as hard as what my characters are going through. And without me they’ll never get to the end. So I guess it’s the least I could do…

– Zero Nine

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