Are 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 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 2015 calendar from the Federation of British Columbia Writers arrived the other day and, from all of Ben Nuttall-Smith’s stunning illustrations, one jumped at me– Pianist. It triggered memories of my beginnings at a keyboard: the Leila-Fletcher-on-staff-Middle-C-approach to the piano, taught by Sister Mary John Hughes and her trusty pointer. Ouch!
Over the years, I worked my way from Fletcher’s C-D-E to Debussy’s Reverie. I never mastered the art of sight-reading (the ability to pick up a piece and play it as you would pick up a book and read it.) Once, when I was a student of music at Mount Allison University, a friend suggested we partner up and plunge into the world of sight-reading, an attempt to conquer the beast. I started, half-heartedly, and fell away from it: for me there was a gaping hole where passion, drive, and above all, confidence should be. My friend persevered and became a long-time professional musician. (Thank you, T: I never did excel in sight-reading but I did learn from watching you gain mastery.) My piano, except for the annual Christmas carol, is now a silent shadow in the hallway of my home.
However, another keyboard has replaced it.
My passion is writing. I dipped my toe in the water seven years ago and I stayed. In that time, I have written three novels, each better than its predecessor, and I have a fourth awaiting editing. I have also penned forty+ short stories, sixty-five blog posts, and a few articles. Apparently, what I could not apply to music–commitment and perseverance– I can apply to writing. Doubt may knock once in a while but I don’t let it in. I just show up and write, daily. My routine: coffee, crossword, computer. Three hour minimum.
In the coming year, whatever your passion, just have at it. If writing is your passion, park yourself at that keyboard and plunk away. One letter, one word, one sentence, one paragraph, one page… eventually becomes one book.
Just show up and you will create a wonderfully accomplished, well-written new year. One key at a time.
Please subscribe to my Author Newsletter by placing your email address in the space provided on the right. Many thanks.
Maeve Binchy: author of Tara Road; The Glass Lake; Light a Penny Candle; Circle of Friends; Nights of Rain and Stars
“You’re much more believable if you talk in your own voice… I don’t say I was proceeding down a thoroughfare, I say I walked down the road. I don’t say I passed a hallowed institute of learning, I say I passed a school.”
(In Memory Of Maeve Binchy: Her Writing Secrets by Jonathan Gunson)
Colm Tóibín: author of Brooklyn; The Master; The Testament of Mary; The Blackwater Lightship; The Empty Family
“Finish everything you start. Often, you don’t know where you’re going for a while; then halfway through, something comes and you know. If you abandon things, you never find that out.”
(Colm Tóibín, Novelist – Portrait of the Artist by Laura Garnett, The Guardian, Feb, 2013)
Tana French: author ofIn the Woods; Broken Harbor; Faithful Place; The Likeness
” It’s OK to screw up. For me, this was the big revelation when I was writing my first book, In the Woods: I could get it wrong as many times as I needed to. I was coming from theatre, where you need to get it right every night, because this audience will probably never see the show again; it took me a while to realise that, until the book goes into print, it’s still rehearsal, where you can try whatever you need to try. If you rewrite a paragraph fifty times and forty-nine of them are terrible, that’s fine; you only need to get it right once.” 5 Writing Tips from Tana French, Publishers Weekly, 2012
Frank Delaney: author of Ireland (A Novel); Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show; Tipperary; The Matchmaker of Kenmare
“Give similar rhythms to the opening and closing paragraphs of your entire piece. It’ll deliver an unconscious sense of completeness.”
( Frank Delaney’s Writing Tips, #283)
Emma Donoghue: author of Room; Frog Music; The Sealed Letter; Landing; Life Mask
“Write a lot, write with passion. Don’t give up the day job till you have reason to believe you can live off your writing; plenty of great books have been written at weekends. Try giving up TV, or getting up earlier; if you want it enough you’ll find the time to write.”
(FAQ Emma Donaghue)
Roddy Doyle: author of The Commitments; Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha; The Barrytown Trilogy; The Guts
“Do change your mind. Good ideas are often murdered by better ones. I was working on a novel about a band called the Partitions. Then I decided to call them the Commitments.”
(Ten Rules for Writing Fiction, The Guardian, Feb, 2010)
Sebastian Barry: author of A Long, Long Way; The Secret Scripture; On Canaan’s Side
“I do believe writing for a writer is as natural as birdsong to a robin. I do believe you can ferry back a lost heart and soul in the small boat of a novel or a play. That plays and novels are a version of the afterlife, a more likely one maybe than that extravagant notion of heaven we were reared on. That true lives can nest in the actual syntax of language. Maybe this is daft, but it does the trick for me. I write because I can’t resist the sound of the engine of a book, the adventure of beginning, and the possible glimpses of new landscapes as one goes through. Not to mention the excitement of breaking a toe in the potholes.”
(Interview With Writer Sebastian Barry by Marissa B. Toffoli)
Marian Keyes: author of Sushi for Beginners; Anybody Out There; Rachel’s Holiday; The Mystery of Mercy Close; Saved by Cake