Monday, 25 July 2011

Writing stories for magazines

Over the past year or two, I've tried to hone my craft by completing short stories for the few magazines out there that still publish fiction.

At the outset, I had no idea what I was doing. Pulling together a few stories I'd already written, I sent them off to magazines that published fiction. Of the first nine, just one was accepted. I realised I had a lot to learn, bought some more magazines, did some online research, and started over.

Of the online information available, Womag ( is the unsurpassed Queen of How to Get your Short Story Published. Her blog has all the guidelines from the different magazines that publish fiction and she and her 450+ followers are involved in campaigns to keep the short story slot in magazines.

Thanks to Womag and my ever-patient husband who reads everything I write, I'm getting a much better hit rate. Every acceptance makes me feel like I've won the lottery. In the midst of agent rejections and the continued absence of a bidding war over my latest novel, seeing my name in print and receiving a few pounds for my efforts feels amazing. And, in the process, I've found that short stories are really helping me to learn how to manage my time, come up with new ideas, and adapt my voice.

Now, I read each magazine carefully, think of stories that might appeal to their demographic, and write specifically for that publication. The People's Friend, the Weekly News and Yours magazine have accepted my stories, and I feel like I now understand what they're looking for. Women's Weekly is still proving elusive, but I'm going to keep trying.

Wish me luck!

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