A Wednesday’s What NOT To Do, Courtesy of Chuck (And Wheee! Romance!)

ImageApparently, I am not the only writer who employs the “What Not To Do” construct. Apparently, Chuck Sambuchino thought it was a fine idea as well. He used it over at Writer Unboxed (where he’s one of the monthly contributors) to present his article, What NOT To Do When Beginning Your Novel: Advice From Literary Agents.

Okay, fine. I suppose great  minds think alike and all that. And it’s a fine article, too, that also proves that many agents think alike when it comes to novel beginnings. Certain openings come up again and again–and that, my writer friends, is not a good thing. You want an agent to read page one and find something different and engaging. So if your novel opens with an agent’s pet peeve, I’d strongly recommend that you revise.

Of course, there are exceptions. And maybe you’ve written the exceptional trite beginning that works. Submit at your own risk, friends.

Which brings me to my next topic. When I read Lovely Lisa’s post today about romance, it reminded me that I’d come across a romance opportunity that might appeal to my readers/writers who haven’t written novels but who have (or could whip out) a romantic short story.

Crimson Romance (an imprint from F & W Media) is looking for stories in the 5,000 to 10,000 word range on holiday themes and sports themes. I know a couple writers who were published in the romance anthology, Fifty Shades of Santa. But for those of you whose stories weren’t accepted, here’s a great opportunity to try again for publication.

Or maybe you want to try your hand at romance-writing for the very first time. A short story is a good place to start. Just don’t start with one of those bad beginnings that agents don’t like.

I mean, it’s not called Wednesday’s What NOT To Do for nothing.

Mozark Press Call Out and Trying to Be Funny

Mozark Press has a quick call out for humorous stories that I received while hanging out at the beach with my folks. Which is kinda funny…well, let me tell you about the call out first.

The editor is seeking humorous fiction for A Shaker of Margaritas: A Bad Hair Day and you must submit by July 15th. So you probably want to go straight over here for all the submission details. It sounds like a fun premise, and the stories in the Shaker of Margaritas series are always a hoot, so I hope I can come up with something soon. Though I don’t know how good it’ll be if I need to write a humorous story.

See, I brought my mom and dad a handful of Chicken Soup books on this last visit: Chicken Soup’s Messages From Heaven, Boost Your Brain, and Married Life. All books that you may recall have a story from yours truly (also known as their loving daughter). My mom finally got around to reading my contributions (after I’d left) and so when I called to let her know I’d arrived safely back across the state, she wanted to let me know what she thought about my work.

MOM: I really like when you write a simple story…like the one in that Brain book. I don’t know about those stories when you try to be funny.

ME: Well, thanks, Mom. I’m kinda glad Chicken Soup doesn’t feel that way.

(I had two stories in the Married Life book.)

MOM: I’m just saying that your simple stories are better. I don’t know why you try to be funny.

(Notice how Mom kept saying “try to be funny”–clearly implying that I’m not succeeding.)

ME: Well, Mom, the Married Life book asked for funny stories. So I had to “try” to write something funny.

MOM: Oh. Well, I suppose if you had to try to be funny…

So I shall “try to be funny” for Shaker of Margaritas: Bad Hair Day. But I don’t think my mom’s expecting much.

Thursday’s Three S’s: Submission, Skype, and Sensational Contest

I’ve got a surfeit of S’s to share today, so let’s get to ’em…

I love, love, love the idea behind World Read Aloud Day (March 7th), that the right to read and write belongs to all people, and that words have power. Amen to that! And thanks to the technology of Skype, authors are bringing their words to life all over the world. That makes Skype pretty powerful, too. And I love, love, love that author Kate Messner is bringing together a whole bunch of authors, available to Skype wherever you are in the world. If you have a class of eager kids who’d love to be read aloud to from a famous author, check out Kate’s post and list and sign up. And if you’re an author and would love to read aloud, you still have time to offer your lovely voice and words.  Who knew changing the world could be just a click away?

And now on to our submission opportunity over at Big Pulp.  Technically, they’re closed now, but they’ll be open for submissions on March 1st, and this time around, they’re doing something a little different. They want stories on a theme. And not just any theme, my friends. They’re going ape over there. So might I suggest that you get to work right now on your science fiction, fantasy, horror, adventure or romance story with a little chimpanzee (or gorilla, ape, capuchin, or orangutan) thrown in? P.S. They like humor. And I’ve got a monkey on my back just dying to get in a story.

Now on to that sensational contest I promised!  My writing buddy, Chynna Laird, has a sweet little girl who’s sponsoring a writing contest. That’s right. Jaimie guest posts at her mother’s blog and she’s been itching to have a contest of her own. So here’s your chance to make Jaimie’s day and get a little writing practice in. She wants 250 words or less about your best experience ever. The winner will receive a signed copy of Not Just Spirited: A Mom’s Sensational Journey with SPD! Jaimie didn’t say a word about age, so I’m thinking the contest is open to kids as well as adults. So if you know a young writer, maybe you could pass this contest along. I know Jaimie will be thrilled to get lots of entries (by February 29th).

Okay, people. You have plenty to do– and time’s a’wasting. (Good luck!)