Literary Agents, publishing, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

Submit Today!

Looking GlassHaving a short fiction to submit, I took a fresh look at what’s out there in the way of getting it in front of readers. Googling “current fiction publishers” returned the usual half-million results. But a site that noted “a full list of publishers accepting manuscripts directly from writers” had already done much of the work for me.
Here are two current (May, 2018) sources.

Free:
Erica Verrillo’s
https://PublishedToDeath.blogspot.com/p/calls-for-submissions.html
lists hundreds of markets. 217 Paying Markets for Short Stories, Poetry, Nonfiction; 36 Paying Markets for Fiction, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction; Speculative Fiction Magazines Accepting Submissions; 163 Literary Magazines Accepting Reprints; even a spreadsheet with 300 places to submit.
Erica also provides a list of Upcoming (June, 2018) Calls.

$5 per month
https://Duotrope.com/  currently lists 6,863 active fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and visual art publishers and agents. I chose Duotrope because they successfully helped the Writers Co-op advertise for story submissions for our upcoming anthology, The Rabbit Hole. That, and, paying for updated information implies a contractual obligation on their part to keep their information updated.

Researching publishers that are actively calling for submissions and submitting Happyaccording to my preferences and their guidelines is, well, a fun and hope-full part of this business.

 

If you will, please tell us in the Comments section how you find outlets for your work.

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About Writers, blogging, inspiration, Research, Stories, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op, writing technique

Steep and Roll

songwriting 2This is a concept that I am gradually beginning to understand how to use. A friend once critiqued my first novel with:

“There’s so much great stuff in there it needs to slow its roll and steep a little, meaning take longer to explain things and have a nice build up.”
– Chris Gabriel, song writer

Chris explained it as a technique that professional song writers use. It made me wonder how many other song writing techniques could apply to story writing. So, I researched song writing advice and found dozens of tips. Here’s the top 6.

1. Practice. Like any other creative process such as playing guitar or programming synth sounds, lyric-writing is a skill that can be learnt and improved upon.

2. Don’t be disheartened if your lyrics aren’t perfect on the first draft. Many professional writers will rewrite a song’s lyrics dozens of times before they make it onto record.

3. Persevere. More often than not, songs aren’t born, they’re created and sculpted. Don’t expect a song to arrive fully formed; they sometimes take time and you’ll need to work at it.

4. If you can’t quite figure out how to say what you want within a particular line, jot down the gist of it and move on to another part of the song – you can come back to it later. That way, you won’t spend hours wrestling with one small line that might turn out to be insignificant in the wider context of the song.

5. Try to have a clear idea of what the song is about. You should be able to sum up the essence of the song in one sentence.

6. Analyze other songs. Try to pick out the differences in lyrics between your favorite songs and your own and apply any lyrical techniques you learn to your own work.

I think we story writers can learn a lot from song writers. Oh and, if anyone has insight into “Steep and Roll,” please post it in the comments?

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blogging, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

GUEST BLOGGERS WELCOME!

guest blogsThe WritersCo-op welcomes blogs from those in the writing community, be they authors, publishers, editors, agents, cover & illustration artists, PAs, marketers, etc. We will not publish book promotions save for those of a member’s new release. But, we are interested in just about any blog that interests writers.

Submit your blog, or link to your blog, to GD<at>Deckard<dot>com.

For an idea of what we look for, scroll down past this notice, or click the ARCHIVES button at the top of this page. But don’t let what we’ve done suggest limits. We are always open to fresh ideas.

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About Writers, blogging, book promotion

Facebook Street Cafe

My first two weeks:
The humanity cascading down my Facebook page needs filtering, of course. I want to learn from other authors. They get invites. **Purged are the space-wasters – haters, fanatics, scammers and whores may have their story but I am not here to write it. Everyone else is appreciated. Well, I occasionally knock off the loudly ignorant, the maudlin, the chanters of feel-good gibberish, a proselytizer or two, even the emotional yo-yos when they don’t know when to stop. Still, I have over 1400 “Friends.” Some are generous authors happy to share what they know while others would kill your mother for a Popsicle if they were hungry.
But what else should one expect from the crowds on Main Street, Earth?

I am not here to sell books. Happy as I am to see the hits jump on my book’s webpage, I came to see today’s authors and the books they are writing. Posting my book is just flashing my badge.
Most authors seem like myself. They like to write, they like being authors, they don’t sell many books but two out of three keeps them writing. Granted, I’m not friended with James Patterson, Steven King or JK Rowlings but I ‘could’ be chatting up a future Rowlings, King or Patterson. That thought keeps me respectful.

Social media, by its nature, skews the sample towards social people and social themes. There are more women authors on Facebook than men authors. Facebook authors are usually outgoing, happy to share books or thoughts on genres, plots, characters, publishing, marketing or any topic related to life as a writer.
I like them. I learn from them.

It’s a humbling experience. So many people who know more about any topic than do I are happy to set me straight. My reference to the War Powers Act was expanded in a reply from a judge who kindly explained why I was right but …not really on target. My comment in another discussion was labeled a “red herring” by someone who knew.

True, some here have unusual kinks in their DNA helix and always remember that you are talking with faceless strangers even when they put a face to the talk. I received a friend request from an active duty soldier. The photo showed a wholesome young woman in US Army uniform at her desk. Her account page said she was born in NYC, currently living in Damascus, Syria. Right.
Y’gotta love Humans.
**Addendum. Note: Do not use the word “purged” or the phrase “knock off.” My use of those elicited a happily rabid response from a fanatic agreeing on the necessity for “culling the rat fuck bastards” who can “be erased with the push of a button on a suicide vest.”
Apparently, word choice can be critical here.

Writing at my desk with Facebook but a click away is like writing while sitting in a sidewalk cafe where one only has to look up to engage people going by. Talking with people having similar interests is a refreshing break. So if you’re a lover of books, please send me a friend request. I’m in front of Ducky Smith’s SciFi Roundtable cafe. I’ll hold a chair for you.
+++– GD Deckard

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book promotion

Writing DaysZ 8

Ever wonder why billions of dollars have been spent to help Haitians and they still live in three-sided hovels? It’s because the Haitians never got the billions of dollars. And no, their president didn’t siphon it all off. It was mostly kept by the companies, foundations, charities, NGOs and international agencies that provide disaster relief. The people they help are helped at a high cost. That’s some scam, that disaster relief.

Bob Vs the Aliens
To read Writing DaysZ 1-7, go to ROFLtimes.com/BvA.pdf

The Haiti Scam

+++“There,” said Old Spice. For two days, the Alien had been sitting at a hole in the floor of the rail car working on something attached to the undercarriage. Now, the hole was covered and he was standing.
+++Piper, working the hand pump with Bob, faced forward. She looked past him to the Alien in polite inquiry. Bob glanced over his shoulder. “What?” Neither knew what Spice had been doing.
+++“You can stop pumping now.”
+++“Oh,” Piper smiled at him, “We’re there?”
+++“Where?” Bob looked around at the Alabama countryside, seeing only oak trees, littered fields and an occasional home.
+++“No,” said Spice, looking around with Bob. “We’re going to Colorado. I mean you can stop pumping now. I fixed the batteries.”
+++“Batteries?” Piper and Bob backed away from the hand pump. The rail car picked up speed.
+++“Wow,” Bob sat down and leaned his back on the pump housing. “Great!” He rubbed his arms. “My arms and shoulders are killing me.”
+++“Wimp,” Piper said, although she was smiling and rubbing her own arms. “Thanks, Spice.” He had picked up Lisbeth, the ventriloquist dummy. Piper told him, “See if you can learn how to throw your voice, Spice,” and whispered to Bob, “He needs things to do. He’s been depressed since the other aliens left him here.”
+++“Really,” Bob replied to both.
+++Spice turned one eye on them while turning the other inward. “I found ventriloquism on the Internet. The ‘Net’s slow though, now that power is going out everywhere.”
+++“That thing is designed to survive a nuclear war.”
+++“Look, a park,” Piper pointed ahead.
+++“Could be a golf course,” Bob thought aloud.
+++“It’s a cemetery.” The Alien had the advantage of built-in GPS. “We can spend the night in the Caretaker’s Shack.”
+++Bob looked at Piper. He wasn’t going to admit an unwillingness to sleep among the dead and from her expression, he surmised neither would she. “Fine.” Together, the two slowed the rail car and braked to a stop where a gravel path crossed the tracks. Poppies lined the path leading them to a small cottage. Inside, they found a front reception area lined with chairs and a side room, apparently, a gift shop.
+++“I’ve figured this thing out,” Spice indicated Lisbeth, now sitting on his arm, just as the back door opened and a man came in.
+++“Figured out what?” the man asked. He wore a suit and tie and carried a briefcase.
+++“Me,” Lisbeth smiled at the man. Spice explained, “I’m often misunderstood when I am trying to express myself in human language.” He glanced pointedly at Bob and Piper.
+++Lisbeth nodded. “Poor baby.”
+++“Therefore, meet Lisbeth, my official translator.”
+++Lisbeth offered her hand to the man. He stared at it, then shook his head and turned to Bob and Piper. Several other well dressed men and women were entering and taking seats. “Alien humor,” the man half-laughed. “I’m glad you could make it. This is a very important meeting. I’m Tyrone Kuuhn. You can call me Ty.” He shook their hands and turned to greet Spice but was met instead by Lisbeth’s outstretched hand. “Uh,” he waved at the other people, “We are here to facilitate the Aliens’ outreach to Earth.”
+++“Outreach?” Piper smiled.
+++“How could you possibly know we’d be here?” Bob wanted to know. “Is there a bug on that railcar?”
+++“Not exactly,” Ty said. “But there is a GPS locator on all railroad cars. They are needed for inventory control. So, when the Sheriff of Gay Camellia, Alabama reported a hand car missing right after you three had attended their diversity celebration, those of us who own railroads put this meeting together.”
+++“This is an outreach planning meeting?” Piper sounded interested. “Oooh. What does your group do?”
+++“Disaster relief. Always lots of money to be made there, but this! Well, civilization is collapsing. The potential boggles the mind.”
+++“How do you make money from disasters?” The well dressed people looked at Piper as if she were a child inquiring about sex.
+++“The money’s free,” explained Ty. “We use donations and taxpayer money to restore everything the victims need. Medical services, infrastructure, housing, even government. We do it all.” He smiled, “At a profit, of course.”
+++“Well, while you’re at it, why not improve things for the people?”
+++“Oh. No. That would bring a storm of criticism. Our donations would dry up. People might say we’re profiteering.”
+++“You are,” Bob said.
+++Ty winked but his eyes were cold, “No one thinks about profit as long as we leave things no better than they were.”
+++“So,” Lizbeth folded her arms. “Just what is this ‘outreach’ you have in mind?”
+++“Well,” Ty told her then caught himself and addressed Spice, “Everybody’s losing everything, so we cannot count on donations. We are going to have to raise taxes. That is why we need you.” Ty ignored Lizbeth’s raised eyebrow. “Governments find it is easier to raise taxes when the people feel threatened by an outside enemy. That’s you, my friend.” He smiled and placed a warm hand of friendship on Spice’s arm which Lizbeth promptly bit. “Ow!”
+++“I am not your enemy,” Spice told him.
+++“No, no! Of course not!” Ty glanced at the little bite marks on his hand. “We know that. Don’t we?” He waved at the other people in the room who all nodded assent. “And we don’t want anything to happen to you, do we?” The other people all shook their heads.
+++“If something did happen to us,” Bob’s tone was reasonable, “You’d lose your number one enemy and tax revenue would drop.”
+++“Exactly!” Ty beamed as if, finally, he was getting through. “Look at what happened to defense spending when the Soviet Union collapsed. We had to replace the Military-Industrial Complex with the Foreign Policy-Industrial Complex. Now, we rebuild nations!”
+++“But,” Piper asked Ty, “If people think we’re an enemy won’t we be in danger?”
+++“Not to worry, my good lady.” He handed her a slip of paper. “Log on to there. That website on the dark ‘Net will have threat information. It will alert you to incoming danger. And, it will let you know where to find food, water and shelter along your route to Colorado.”
+++By now, even Piper was suspicious. “How do you know we are headed to Colorado?”
+++“We do have contacts in the government. For some reason, DARPA has been investigating you.”
+++“Stene!” Piper’s hand flew to her mouth.
+++“Yes. That was the contact’s name.”
+++She turned to Bob. “Bob?”
+++“Stene tried to kill us already. Did you know that?”
+++It was impossible to tell from Ty’s face whether he knew or not. “Really! Well, don’t worry. Like I said, we can forewarn you of incoming danger. Once Old Spice downloads that URL I gave Piper, he will receive warnings, alerts, resource locations and other messages as needed.”
+++Piper held out the slip of paper. Lizbeth took it and showed it to Spice who read it with one eye, the other eye turning inward. “OKAY. Got it. Say, speaking of incoming, there’s a missile coming at us now. It’s about 80 seconds away.” Lizbeth did a doubletake at Spice’s face and screamed, “Incoming!” She kicked him furiously. “Get me out of here! Now! Now! Oh, damnit. Go! Go!”
+++Out the door they ran, down the path to jump onto the rail car. Spice jiggled the hand pump and the car lurched forward, picking up speed as the missile whooshed up the flower-lined path to disintegrate the Caretaker’s Cottage and some people in suits and ties and some briefcases.
+++“Faster Spice!” cried Piper. “I don’t want people raining down on me again!” She buried her face against Bob’s shoulder, “No, not again.”
+++“It’s OKAY,” he held her, whispering, “It’s OKAY, Piper.” He caressed her hair. “Ty Kuuhn bolted out the back. The rest, hell, it’s OKAY if some of those people died.”

It is amazing how many activities, rituals and products are credited with accomplishing something they have no effect on. The nostrums and quackery of the medical, diet and belief industries are well documented. But the social and political rain dances continue as if no one recognizes the sham.

 Rain Dancing
… to be continued
(Follow Writing DaysZ to read Bob Vs The Aliens as it is being written. To read Writing DaysZ 1-7, go to ROFLtimes.com/BvA.pdf)

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Research

Beyond the ‘Net

A Chrome search for the phrase, “Glabelhammies trend higher,” on Google returns the notice that, “Your search – Glabelhammies trend higher – did not match any documents.” The same search on Internet Explorer’s Bing returns 15,200,000 results, none of which has anything whatsoever to do with Glabelhammies. Billions of web pages without a single mention of Glabelhammies and Google knows it – that’s impressive. When researching a story element, Chrome & Google do a good job of focusing on the element being researched.

For scenics, nothing beats Google Earth’s ability to show you the scene being described. This is important for writers who haven’t been there and for readers who have. Especially if you want the reader to remain immersed in the story when your character stands somewhere famous and looks around. Millions of book readers have been in Times Square, so, better Google it with Street View before you describe it. Nevertheless, Google Earth will not show where the Glabelhammies trend.

The basic limit to Internet research is exactly what makes it so useful. The ‘Net contains existing knowledge. To go beyond existing knowledge, try good old fashioned primary research. Primary Research means collecting information that does not yet exist. There are three basic approaches.

Observation is the key to seeing real life. Details caught by your eye the way you see things can help your writing show what no other writer has and make your story original.

Explore anything new that pops into your head. Accept your creativity and mentally walk into the unknown to develop an idea.

Construct new story elements. Give the reader something they’ve never read by first researching all the old ways that a part of the story has already been told. (Use the Internet) Then get imaginative.

Of course, we already know all of this. The useful question here is “how.” How do we observe real life, how do we explore creative ideas and how do we construct new story elements?

How do you, yourself, collect information that does not yet exist? Anything you can share in the comments below may help others. I know I benefit by learning from other writers. Thank you!

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About Writers, Research

IDK

OKAY, let’s get the (explanatory) blonde joke out of the way.
“This blonde girl asked me what ‘IDK’ stood for. I said I don’t know. She said, ‘OMG, no one seems to.'”

She was, of course, right about a lot of things. If there were a Medieval map of the Internet, vast areas would be marked “IDK” for voids and “Here There Be Dragons” for misinformation. We don’t know a lot of things.

But don’t blame the Internet. History is riddled with gaps and untruths, eye witnesses get it wrong and experts grind their own axes. We never really knew all the facts. The problem is that now the Internet is widely accepted as the fact-checker. The Encyclopedia Britannica has been replaced by Wikis.

Not that this matters so much to creative writers. We seek truth, not facts. Information changes but truth only varies within the constancies of human behavior. The great themes of literature haven’t changed since Enheduanna wrote about lovers among the reeds along the Euphrates River thousands of years ago. Only the settings change, like the scene in time travel movies where the traveler remains fixed against a background of civilizations changing, falling and rising. Aren’t unchanging human truths what really matter?

We need facts to anchor our fiction. Do our “facts” have to agree with what readers find on the Internet?

I don’t know. I’m a writer. I make stuff up.

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