Enter the 2014 “Worst Storyline Ever” Contest!

The contest starts today over at our new site today and is put on by Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest.

Why is he having the contest? We’ll let him tell you:

To celebrate the release of the brand-new 2015 Guide to Literary Agents, I am bringing back one of my most popular recurring contests: The “Worst Storyline Ever” Contest. Except this time, it’s hosted on the Writers in the Storm blog. So if you’re looking for an agent and want a big database, check out the book. And if you’ve got a horrible idea for a story, I want to hear about it. Welcome to the “Worst Storyline Ever” Contest—a competition that encourages terrible loglines.

What is the prize?

The top 3 winners (no order) receive 1) a critique of either their one-page synopsis or one-page query letter from me; and 2) a copy of either the 2015 Guide to Literary Agents or the 2015 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market.

Come visit us at the new Writers In The Storm to enter (and giggle at all the truly terrible loglines)!

~ Fae, Jenny, Laura and Orly

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Being Prepared for Your Writing Conference

With the summer conference season in full swing, we’ve got tons of helpful tips over at the new site. Since our subscriber list has moved, we’re posting solely over there. Are you subscribed over at our new digs? We’ve had fantastic topics this month and just want to make sure you’re getting in on the discussion!

New address: http://writersinthestormblog.com/

Latest posts:

Jul 11th: What Should an Author Expect from an Agent?

Jul 9th: What I Learned About Submissions as a Reader for an Agent

Jul 7th: Unblocking Yourself: Ten Ways to Beat Writer’s Block

Jul 4th: GREAT post by Chuch Sambuchino!
Submission Tip Checklist: Double-Check These 16 Things Before Sending Your Book Out

We look forward to bringing you many, many more posts like these!

Happy Summer to you from…
Fae, Jenny, Laura, Orly and Sharla

Posted in Blogging Guests, Craft, Miscellaneous | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Are You Subscribed to Writers In The Storm?

Since our subscriber list has moved, we’re posting solely at the new site. Are you subscribed over at our new digs? We’ve had some fab posts since the move and just want to make sure you’re getting them!

New address: http://writersinthestormblog.com/

Last week’s posts:

JUNE 20TH, 2014: How Emotional Peril Keeps Readers Reading by Janice Hardy

JUNE 18TH, 2014: The Secret Weapon of YA/NA Writers by Tiffany Lawson Inman

JUNE 16TH, 2014: Write Your Own Happy Ending with Scrivener by Gwen Hernandez

We look forward to bringing you many, many more posts like these!
~ Fae, Jenny, Laura, Orly and Sharla

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Novel Diagnostics: How to Tell if Your Book Might Have Terminal Problems in TEN Pages

By Kristen Lamb

Image via Flickr Creative Commons. Bansky's "Peaceful hearts Doctor" courtesy of Eva Blue.

Image via Flickr Creative Commons. Bansky’s “Peaceful hearts Doctor” courtesy of Eva Blue.

For those of you who have submitted before, ever wonder how an agent can ask for the first 20 pages and still reject your book? Did you ever wonder if the agents really read these pages? How can they know our book isn’t something they want to represent with so little to go on? I mean, if they would just continue to page 103 they would see that the princess uncovers a whole underground movement of garden gnomes with inter dimensional capabilities, and they wouldn’t be able to put it down. Right?

Wrong.

I’ve edited countless manuscripts, and today I am going to let you see the first 20 pages through the eyes of an agent or editor. This is Novel Diagnostics 101.

The doctor is in the house…

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Pop on over to our new site to see Kristen discuss four things that are sure to land your manuscript in the rejection pile. Plus, we’re giving away more prizes today!

Note: The subscriber list will be moving over any day now. If you’ve been meaning to subscribe, now is a good time to hit that button at the top of the right sidebar. You’ll only have to do it once. :-)

See you at the new blog…

~ Fae, Jenny, Orly, Laura, Sharla
AND the always-awesome Kristen Lamb!

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Writing Contests — Hell or Heaven?

by Fae Rowen

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photo credit: http://dld.bz/drB75

I don’t usually enter contests, but I decided to go all out this year.

During the past two months I’ve redefined my understanding of the experience from both the judging and entrant viewpoints. I hope this post will help you consider whether entering contests is in your best interest at this point in your career. Next month I’ll share perspectives of a judge.

Pop on over to our new site to see more on my “Heaven” and “Hell” contest experiences. Plus, we’re giving away our first prizes today!

Note: The subscriber list will be moving over any day now. If you’ve been meaning to subscribe, now is a good time to hit that button at the top of the right sidebar. You’ll only have to do it once. :-)

See you at the new blog…

~ Fae

Posted in Bumps & Bruises on the Road to Publication, Inspiration | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Writers In The Storm Moving Party is TODAY!

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Party bus!

Hop on the party bus and come over to the new site!

We’re giving away TONS of prizes this week:
books, online classes, a Ninja Pack and an Amazon gift card.

And, not to worry, we’ll be moving our subscriber list over.
That means all you have to do is relax and enjoy the party…

See you at the new better-than-ever Writers In The Storm blog!

~ Fae, Jenny, Laura, Orly and Sharla
  The Writers In The Storm Team

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6 Reasons to Write a Short Story

Happy Friday to all our friends here at WITS! We’re doing some extra special posts this week as an advance thank you for helping us migrate to our new site next week. All will be unveiled on Monday!

Today our pal, Julie Glover, is here. *Jenny jumps up and down* Here’s an example of why she’s one of our favorite peeps. When we told her y’all love nice meaty posts, Julie responded with:

“I hope I delivered. I’m even hoping it’s bacon. All posts should be like bacon.”

Enjoy!

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My Sister's Demon, paranormal fiction by Julie Glover, @julie_glover

As a novel reader, I always believed I was meant to write full-length books. Yet I find myself entering the self-published market with a collection of short stories instead.

I wrote the first one on a lark—merely a story premise I wanted to get out of my system. But I liked the result so much, I started another. And then I got hooked, eventually completing six young adult paranormal shorts.

6 reasons you might consider writing a short story:

1. Writing short stories hones your skill for writing lean—a skill that will help you craft more effective scenes in a novel.

The limited space of short stories requires the writer to stick to what must be included and leave the rest behind. Mastering storytelling in short form can help you see your novel in a different light.

After working on short stories, I returned to edits on my book and suddenly recognized sections and scenes that didn’t pull their weight. Now that I better understand how to pack punch into a shorter word count, I can transfer that skill to writing longer fiction and create a more power-packed novel.

2. Short stories appeal to the our fast-paced lives.

It’s tempting as authors to expect everyone to be voracious readers like us, toting around thick books or an entire library on our e-reader. But today’s world is fast-paced, and many people simply don’t have time or make time to read a full novel. They might, however, be able to get through a short story and satisfy their urge for fiction.

A short story can be read on the subway or bus to work, while waiting to be seen in a doctor’s office, or in those few minutes to yourself at night before you crash into sleep.

Shorts appeal to our overfull schedules and keep readers reading.

3. Your story idea is great, but not enough for a novel.

Practically speaking, sometimes this is true. You have wonderful characters in mind and a story event worth telling, but it’s not layered enough for a full-length book.

Indie author Kait Nolan‘s most recent publications are her Meet Cute Romances, a series of shorts celebrating the first meeting of a romantic couple. She says:

“Ideally, for a novel, you’d have a full conflict and character arc that brings them together. And that’s great. But sometimes, all you’ve got is the beginning, that moment of promise that gives you a thrill of knowing this is IT, this is the ONE. And in your head you can see it playing out—as relationships often do in real life—with little conflict worth a full dramatic story. That doesn’t make the story of that relationship any less worthy of being told, it just means it needs a shorter format that zeroes in on that moment of spark.”

Not every idea is worthy of 300 pages or so, and sometimes you can tell a great tale in 10, 20, or 30 pages. So don’t toss that fabulous idea! Make it a short story.

4. Shorts help maintain reader interest in between full-length books.

Self-published authors and traditional publishers have discovered how important it is to keep an author’s name active in a fan’s mind. Since it takes a while to write, edit, and publish a book, how can you keep your readers engaged during the wait?

More and more, short fiction fills the gap—with novellas and short stories both teasing and satisfying a loyal fan base. Many successful authors, such as thriller author Lee Child (Jack Reacher) and Kathy Reichs (Bones), have added shorts to their series as a welcome bonus for their readers.

5. Anthologies provide an avenue for gaining new readers.

Collaborating with other authors can put your name in front of potential readers. If another author’s fans buy the anthology, they might give your story a shot and discover you’re their happy cup of tea as well.

However, participate in an anthology because you believe in the product or cause, not merely for exposure. Best-selling urban fantasy author Jaye Wells wrote “The Werewife” for the anthology Carniepunk: “Agreeing to submit was a no-brainer because the other participating authors are good friends and the carnival theme was irresistible. The side benefits of increased exposure was a secondary consideration.”

When choosing to submit a story for an anthology, Wells has this advice as well: “I’ve also learned that it’s often best to write stand-alone short stories because writing a scene or connected story with your other books comes off as an advertisement, which can annoy readers.”

You might pick up a new reader, not with a teaser story for an existing series, but for your unique voice in fiction.

6. Short stories are a powerful storytelling medium.

Remember the short stories you enjoyed? I vividly recall The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe, The Veldt by Ray Bradbury, and The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry. These fiction greats understood the power of short fiction to hook a reader.

Indeed, the short story market is growing. While shorts never went away, they weren’t commercially viable with printing costs. The ebook revolution has given this powerful medium a resurgence, to the benefit of both writers and readers.

Why write a short story? Even with these six reasons, the ultimate reason is because you have a short story to tell. Many writers do, if they open themselves up to the idea and let their imagination go.

Have you ever written a short story? What do you like about writing short? If not, what keeps you from exploring short fiction? Who is your favorite short story writer?

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About Julie

Julie Glover, Writers In The StormJulie Glover is the author of “Color Me Happy,” a young adult romance story in the Orange Karen: Tribute to a Warrior anthology, and My Sister’s Demon, the first of a series of young adult paranormal shorts. She is also working on a novel and lives with her wonderful husband and two sons in her beloved Lone Star state. (That’s Texas, y’all.)

Find Julie at her website or on Twitter. She loves to tweet.

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