Two Routes to Publishing Short Stories and Poetry

by @AnnieDaylon

Looking to Publish short Fiction and PoetryAre you looking for ways to get your short stories and poems published?

I recently received an email from a writer who was seeking ways to do that. What follows is what I offered her, what I thought could be shared here as well.

I have used two avenues for publication of short stories: Story Contests and Literary Journals.

I use story contests to hone my craft; therefore, I’ve researched them and have entered many, including 24-hour story contests. This has resulted in having many stories published, both online and in journals in Canada and the United States. 

The most comprehensive resource for contests in Canada is the Canadian Writers’ Contest Calendar.  This calendar is published in the fall of each year, usually by November. All contests are listed by deadline. Everything you need to know—submission guidelines, eligibility, word count limits, etc. — are given for each contest and, yes, poetry contests are included.

The best site I’ve found for information on contests and journals in the U.S. is Poets & Writers, “the nation’s largest nonprofit organization serving creative writers.”  On the right hand side of the landing page, under Tools for Writers, you will find an impressive list of databases for literary magazines, contests, agents, etc.

I know how much time and energy go into the pursuit of publication. I hope the above is helpful to you.

Do you have any suggestions to share? Please send them along.

Annie Daylon reading Buryin' Day

Annie Daylon reading short story “Buryin’ Day” at launch of Freefall Literary Magazine (Vol XIX, Number 1) in Calgary. (First contest entry, second place!)

Good luck on your journey.

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My best to you,

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My Write Before Christmas: 2014

by @AnnieDaylon 

 Sardis, Retreat, Christmas 034 2014

It’s my Write before Christmas, my time to send

Best wishes to wordsmiths and readers and friends.

Authors work solo, yet none are alone

For it takes a village (an adage well-known.)

 

Critique groups are crucial, a part of the team;

Online or in person, they endorse your dream.

(An aside: Many thanks for your commentary,

My critique angels–Fran, Michael, and Mary.)

 

A new writer? This world’s a mysterious place.

Catch a conference! It’s there that you’ll come face-to-face

With writers and editors and agents and such.

Volunteering’s an option if the cost is too much.

 

Like story contests? They’re fun, teach deadlines,

This>Contest Calendar’s < a favourite of mine.

As is Poets & Writers, a site that makes space

For a Contest and Grants and Awards Database.

 

Having trouble with structure? Can’t seem to outline?

K. M. Weiland has guidelines to help you refine.

Seeking courses or webinars to carry you through?

Writers Digest will surely have something for you.

 

If a positive thought is what you require,

Tweets from Rock Christopher will keep you inspired.

If you’re looking to blog but don’t know the scene,

Check out Blog It for authors penned by Molly Greene.

 

Got a post that helps others? Want it retweeted?

@MondayBlogs is a place you’ll be greeted.

Want to do marketing? Don’t know the score?

Book Marketing Tools has ideas galore.

 

Do you have a routine? Great tales must be spun

and writers toil daily to get the job done.

(On that note, dear writers who are reading this verse,

If today you’ve not written, go away and WRITE FIRST!) 🙂

 

Thanks, avid readers on whom writers rely,

The work’s not complete ’til you choose to stop by.

Samuel Johnson once said (and I paraphrase herein)

‘A reader finishes what a writer begins.’

 

That’s it, the year’s end! Best wishes to you

as 2015 comes into view.

And now, ere December slides out of sight,

Happy Christmas to all! Have great reads and great writes!

 

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Short Story: A Canadian Man’s Heart

 

by @ AnnieDaylon

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 I love to enter short story contests (see previous post: Why Enter Story Contests?) In my 2014 goals, I listed that I would enter a few. (One done in January… Yay!)
I enter to learn, not to win. I enter for the fun and for the feeling of accomplishment that the marathon of the novel does not provide.

Here is an example of a non-winning entry (See below for learning experience):

 

A Canadian Man’s Heart
 ©AnnieDaylon


According to my boss, Zeta Thompson, there is only one sure-fire way to a Canadian man’s heart, and it has nothing to do with his stomach.

“Believe it or not, Betty,” Zeta announced one morning after she had tolerated my litany of loneliness one too many times, “the main flaw in your dating strategy lies in your complete dismissal of this country’s national pastime. Canadian men live and die for hockey! Don’t you get that? Ever consider just buying a big-screen TV and asking a guy over to watch a game on a Saturday night?

“Forget it,” I huffed. “Gawking at a TV set and trying to keep track of a flying rubber disk is not my idea of entertainment. Hockey! It’s loud, obnoxious and violent, and I absolutely refuse to take part in anything that celebrates the idea of grown men clobbering each other with long sticks.”

Judiciously, Zeta threw her hands up in defeat, but the fates were not so easily dissuaded; they countered immediately with a loud knock at the office door. Kevin Mason, the new architect we had been expecting, flung the door wide and hovered there, filling the frame with his six-foot splendor.

Lust at first sight!

Many scenarios flitted through my mind, all of them reminiscent of the fiery pictures that grace the covers of my Harlequin romance collection. Never in my life have I been one to ignore a golden-haired, blue-eyed opportunity such as this one and I sure wasn’t going to start now.

Out of the corner of my eye, I could see that Zeta was grinning like an idiot, but she was also staying in the background, generously giving me carte blanche. Possibilities abounded as I stepped forward and extended my hand to greet the newcomer. Quick to respond, Kevin strode across the room. Relationship redemption which, just seconds ago, had seemed light years away, was now viable and I felt hope soar.

 Suddenly, time slowed down, becoming a teasing tyrant, extending milliseconds into eons. The only thing I could do was try to maintain my composure as I watched our hands inch toward each other.

Ultimately, time relented and allowed our hands to meet, but then it stood back and laughed as a huge ring jabbed my palm and punctured my dreams. Visions of victory oozed away the instant I glanced at the ring’s proven symbol of relationship demise—the blue-and-white insignia of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

What the heck was I to do now?

X-rated images—all golden-haired and blue-eyed—pummeled my brain, urging me onward.

“You want to come by my place on Saturday, Kevin?” I blurted before I could stop myself. “Zeta and I were just talking about watching the Leafs game on my brand new fifty-inch, high-definition, plasma TV.”

*****

The above story was written a few years ago for an Alphabet Acrostic contest. The opening, “According to my boss,” was given. The criteria? “Complete your story in 26 sentences, each beginning with words in the sequence of the English alphabet.”

The learning? I expanded my vocabulary by reading the dictionary. (Yes, X is limiting, but there are ways around it.) The fun? Enjoyed it so much that I entered again this year! (This particular contest is available annually through The Brucedale Press. It’s a long wait until the next one but the fee is only $5/entry!)

My questions for you: Did you notice as you read the story that I was progressing through the alphabet? If not, did you go back to check? 🙂

 

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My best to you,

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“Word Vancouver” is Coming!

by @Annie Daylon

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Word Vancouver (formerly known as The Word on the Street Vancouver) is Western Canada’s largest celebration of literacy and reading. It has free events taking place over five days (September 25- 29) in Vancouver at: Carnegie Community Centre, Banyen Books & Sound, Historic Joy Kogawa House, and Library Square.
Last year I participated as a volunteer at the Federation of BC Writers table and took in all the sights and sounds of the main festival day on Sunday.  This year? I’m attending on Saturday and presenting a workshop: Honing the Craft of Writing through Story Contests.

Power Point cover page 001 (640x478)WORKSHOP DETAILS:
Where: Vancouver Public Library
350 W. Georgia Street, Vancouver
Alma Van Dusen Room
When:
Saturday, September 28, 2013
3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Synopsis: What is it like to compete in a story contest?  In her Power Point presentation, Honing the Craft of Writing through Story Contests, award-winning author, Annie Daylon, talks about the story contest experience and how it can help to sharpen writing skills. Topics include: reasons for entering, availability of contests, types of contests (24-hour, themed, no theme), meeting deadlines, and giving the editors, publishers and judges what they are looking for.  Information on contests in Canada and the U.S. is provided.

My workshop is one of six Word Vancouver  workshops taking place at the Vancouver library on Saturday, September 28th. The others are:

  • An Introduction to Story with Nancy Lee
  • Poetry and Relevance with Heather Duff
  • Creating Content for Social Sharing with Lisa Manfield
  • Finding Work: First Steps-Next Steps A Workshop for Freelance Writers with Colin Moorhouse
  • A Literary Agent’s Take on Book Publishing Today from an Author’s Perspective with Robert Mackwood.

 

Learn more about this five-day literary festival at Word Vancouver.

Passages Book Cover

My best to you,

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Why Enter Story Contests?

by @AnnieDaylon

shutterstock_163750679My primary aim when I started writing was to pen novels. One day, I veered from that path into the world of the short story. The result? An immediate burst of accomplishment and, surprisingly, a joy in the genre itself. I still participate in the marathon of the novel, but am always up for a short story sprint.

In order to get my work out there, I entered story contests. Rejection? Yes, lots of it. But considerable success, too. Knowledge crept in: the contests, especially the twenty-four hour dashes, were helping to hone my craft. I kept entering…

Reasons for Entering Short Story Contests

  1. Fun. You have opportunity to play with styles and voice.
  2. Readers.  Your work is seen by objective readers.
  3. Inspiration. Topic is often given. You get to brainstorm around it.
  4. Blind judging. You can dip your toe into the water anonymously: no query letter; no dreaded synopsis. You are selling your work, not selling yourself.
  5. Motivation. You have a deadline, so you have to put BIC (butt in chair) and just write.
  6. Feedback. Sometimes you get feedback.  Disagree? Reject. Agree? Apply.
  7. Word Count Limits. You have no choice but to tighten writing by dropping modifiers and using stronger verbs.
  8. Credibility. Published? Short-listed? Either gives you credibility… something to put under “Recent Awards and Publications” when submitting queries.
  9. Immunity to Rejection. Rejection gradually loses its sting. You simply edit your stories and submit them elsewhere.
  10. Collection. Stories accumulate. Before long, you have a collection.

 

Along with the above benefits comes the awareness that a lot of small publications are staffed by volunteers, many of whom are writers. They give their time to support you. You give a small fee to support them. The result? A writing community. A complete circle. Bonus!

My Best to You,

Annie Signature Light Blue