Posts by Gargi Mehra

Software Engineer by day, Freelance Writer by night

Feet in Two Boats

In January this year the venerated magazine The Writer held an essay contest on the theme ‘Your Writing Life’. I sent in my essay with hope in my heart and a prayer on my lips.  

When the inevitable rejection popped up in my inbox a few days later, I had a tough time reading the email. But I was glad I did, because at the end were the words that gladdened my heart. Though I had not placed in the competition, they wanted to publish my essay anyway! 

It was scheduled for the September issue which is out now.  

You can read my essay Feet in Two Boats here and do let me know what you think!

Resources for Literary Journals

It’s been 2 months since I last posted which is my longest gap in quite some time, but it can’t be helped, as I was tied down with health issues for myself and family members.

The writing has been sporadic to say the least, but I have managed a little in spurts.

I’m not sure if I’ve posted a resources list earlier, but since I have been submitting my writing for regularly for the last five years, I have accumulated quite a collection. A number of resources exist on the internet, but like everyone else I have a few favourites that lead to journals publishing fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry.

  1. Duotrope: This used to be free many years earlier but has now moved to a paid subscription model, costing $5 per month or $50 per year. I have subscribed the last two years and intend to continue, considering that I easily recover the cost within a few months.
  1. NewPages.com: This is an entirely free resource and includes a huge number of listings. However you might have to sift through quite a few to find the paying opportunities.
  1. The Review Review: If you’ve ever wondered what kind of content a literary journal publishes, The Review Review serves as your guide. It features reviews of journals, interviews with editors, and classifieds as well.
  1. Erika Dreifus’ Practicing Writing Newsletter: One of the best resources out there, with focus solely on paying opportunities.
  1. Trish Hopkinson: Her posts focus more on poetry markets, but since most feature fiction and creative nonfiction, they’re a great resource too.
  1. Entropy Mag: Entropy is itself a “website featuring literary and related non-literary content.” Every quarter they publish a list of submissions calls for the upcoming three months.
  1. Published to Death: A month-wise list of calls for submissions. An excellent resource for fiction and other creative writers.
  1. Ralan: This site has been around for many years and features mainly Fantasy, SF, and Horror markets.
  1. Submittable Discover: Submittable is known more for their submission platform that most literary journals use. They recently launched their Discover platform which helps writers/artists seek out opportunities and filter them based on their requirements. I find that it requires some work to unearth the paying ones.
  1. Poets and Writers: I came across this quite recently and found it a worthy addition to my list of resources.

One resource that I used to go through every month was Cathy’s Comps and Calls, but sadly it is not updated any more:
http://compsandcalls.com/wp/

I do hope Cathy Bryant returns with this but looks like for the time-being this is on hold.

That’s my comprehensive listing of resources. If you have any more do let me know! If any of the above leads you to publication, please leave a comment and let us all help you celebrate!

Short Story Month

In case you didn’t know already, May is celebrated as Short Story Month. At Penguin Random House, they offer a list of their best short story collections. Electric Literature too is celebrating this May.

I have blogged before about the Short Story Challenge I had participated in two years in a row, which really freed up my writing muscles as I strove to complete one short story every month. The exercise placed the focus on completion of the stories, which is really important. More often than not, we start stories with enthusiasm but find that it peters out.

In May, writers are encouraged to write one short story per day. That is too much even for me. At the most I could attempt flash fiction, but even a five-hundred-word piece with a coherent beginning and end is easier said than done.

Are you planning to write any new stories to celebrate Short Story Month in May? Do share links to your stories in the comments!

Starting with Goodbye

If you write creative nonfiction, you must head over to Lisa Romeo’s corner of the web right now. I’m pleased to share that her memoir Starting with Goodbye was launched on 1st May! 

Lisa-Romeo-fuller-2015

Lisa works as an editor, teacher, and freelance book manuscript editor. Her work is listed in Best American Essays 2016, and she has been nominated for additional BAE and Pushcart Prize awards. She also serves as an editor for two literary journals.  

I enlisted her help with my creative nonfiction and I highly recommend it. If you ever feel stuck and need guidance, sign up for her services! 

You can order her book here, and watch a beautiful book trailer here!

 

What to Write When You’re Not Writing

I don’t usually post twice in one week but this time I have to make an exception. My post on What to Write When You’re Not Writing is up on the SFWA blog.  

If you have ever faced the torment of the blank page, or a dull phase in writing when you can’t pen something substantial but don’t want to lose the habit, then this article is for you.  

Do read it and let me know if it helps you. Here’s an excerpt: 

Writing when you’re in full flow is like living a dream. Who doesn’t love that feeling when the words spill out faster than you can type them? If you’re old school, the scratch of the pen as it flies over the pages struggles to keep pace with your thoughts.

The reverse scenario keeps writers awake at night. Often, we’re stuck for topics on which we want to write. Even if we do write a page or two, once we read it through, we feel that every word is junk, and destined straight for the recycle bin. The words that leave our brains and imprint themselves on the screen appear stale.

But we’re writers, so we can’t really stop writing, or stop think about writing, or even stop reading about writing. There’s one thing we know for sure – that magic of full flow always returns, sooner or later.

So the question arises – how to make it sooner rather than later? How do we achieve that feeling of full flow once again?

Here’s what I usually do when I don’t feel like writing something new, but my fingers are itching to put something down on paper nevertheless.

Read the rest on the SFWA blog.

 

World Book Day #Shelfie

In honour of World Book Day today, here are a few #shelfies to celebrate! The books don’t belong to me, unfortunately, and neither does the bookshelf. Both are the property of the erudite owners on whose property I stayed recently. They wisely kept the bookshelf locked! If they hadn’t, I am sorry to say I might have tucked a few under my arm and run off with them!

White Piping

Hola, folks! If you’re wondering why everything looks new around here, it’s because I decided my blog needed a change of scene, or should I say, a change of theme. Yep, that’s the best joke I can crack early on a Sunday morning before my cuppa. 

Also I thought what better way to declare a short story win? 

If you haven’t heard of the literary journal On The Premises, do head over there straight away! They hold nifty theme-based contests every few months. These are free to enter and offer excellent prize money. If your story becomes a finalist then they even offer a critique! 

Their last themed contest that ended in March centred on clothing, titled ‘It’s on you.’ 

I am more than thrilled to report that my story earned 2nd place in the contest! This story was particularly important to me, with all the conversations around #MeToo and #TimesUp entering the mainstream. 

This is one of the fastest acceptances I’ve ever received. I sneaked in my entry minutes before the deadline as I usually do, and a week later came to know I’d been shortlisted. Fast forward, another week and I received the fabulous news that I had placed second! 

I’d love it if you popped over to read the story and let me know what you think!

Please note: Opinions expressed in the story belong to the characters only!

Image Credit and Rights: Rare Vintage