Lit Journals, Writing

Market Spotlight: The Writer

The Writer is one of the oldest, most venerated magazines for writers in the world. It was started in 1887 and continues to churn out issues packed with so much useful information that you could never cover in one sitting.

They host several contests for writers on a regular basis, including short stories, flash fiction and essay contests.

A year ago, I came across their essay contest which had a theme of ‘Your Writing Life’. As a software professional who dabbles in writing on the side, I felt quite passionately about this subject and had already begun an essay about how I’m constantly engaged in a tug of war with both my work and my creativity pulling at me.

I read a lot of past winning entries in both the fiction and nonfiction contests, and then I set about completing the essay and revising it. As I subscribe to their newsletter, I received timely reminders for the deadline. I have a habit of editing and revising right up until the last minute, and I’m sorry to say I did the same for this submission. My delays are mostly self-inflicted, as I worry about the quality of my writing and whether its worth the hassle of the entry free (a substantial $20!).

In fact, I dithered until the very last moment for that reason, wondering if I should splurge, and finally something pushed me to take the plunge.

Months passed, and I fully expected to receive a rejection, though I hoped for a shortlist at least. In their previous fiction contest, I had been pleasantly surprised by an encouraging note stating that they loved my story and I had made it to the final round but not placed.

So, it was with some trepidation when I woke up one morning and found an email from The Writer. The first few sentences were standard, thanking me for my entry and saying my piece had not been selected as a winner.

The last sentence perked me up: they would be interested to publish it in an upcoming issue! I did the dance and emailed them back right away saying I’d love that.

They offered me publication in the September’18 issue and $75 payment, which was credited into my Paypal just about a month later.       The whole experience was smooth and I would love to write for them again.

Here’s a link to their submission guidelines. Subscribe to their newsletter to remain updated about their contests.

Have you written for The Writer? Do you subscribe to their magazine? And if you have any tips for winning writing contests, let me know in the comments below!

Lit Journals

Market Spotlight: On the Premises

Last year I had written about my story published in On the Premises. I’d been submitting to this literary journal for a few years before that. Like most markets, I discovered this one too on Duotrope.

There’s quite a few things I like about this lit mag. To begin with, it offers payment to winning writers while maintaining free submissions. Every issue is run as a themed contest, with the top three stories and one honourable mention earning handsome prizes. They also offer a critique for stories that make the final round of judging.

When I came across the journal, I read through a number of back issues in sequence, and I must say I liked whatever I read. The stories were well-written, but also had plot and character.

In 2015, a story I sent in made it to the final round of judging. I received a detailed and really helpful critique. I used the feedback to rewrite the story.

Last year the theme for the first contest of the year was ‘It’s On You’, i.e. clothes. I had been working on a story along those lines but something was missing in it. When I realized I could tie it to the ‘clothes’ theme, I set about rewriting it. I finished drafting and revising and finally sent it out literally minutes before the deadline.

Within a week I got the good news that my story had made it to the final round of judging. I yearned to place but had decided by then I would content myself with another free critique if I didn’t.

Another week later I got the great news – I had placed second.

As the editors promised, the stories went through a round of minor edits and within the month I was both published as well as paid.

Overall it was a great experience and I would recommend everyone to send in their best stories here.

Their next contest ends on 30th August, and this time the theme is ‘Tradition’.

If you have a story or can whip up a good one in that much time, please send it across! And let me know if you win!

My Writing

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

My Writing

The Bargain

Earlier in August this year, I got an email from the good folks at Southern Star Publications, which published the winners of the contest held by Creative Writing Institute last year, in which I won third place.

They asked if I’d be interested to send in a story on the theme sentence for this year’s contest – “I got more than I bargained for.”

I sent in my story and am proud to be included in Creative Writing Institute’s third annual anthology – BARGAIN!

Written by CWI short story contest winners, finalists, judges, staff and invited best-selling authors, genres include general fiction, humor, fantasy, romance, dystopian, horror and sci-fi.

Bargain ebook cover 2015.jpg

Grab a bargain! Only $1.99! Available on Amazon. Do check it out and tell me what you think.

That’s all I have for this year. Hope to see you next year in a brand new 2016 with the year in review and lessons learnt (there were lots of those!).

 

 

My Writing

Successes to Share

The month of September has brought with it great tidings for me. I’m pleased to report a couple of successes:

This was my first story for the Short Story Challenge written way back in January when we started. I had put it on the backburner as I tend to do, and returned to it much later to make the changes suggested by those who critiqued it. For the most part I’m happy to leave my stories to percolate so that I may read it with renewed energy and a fresh eye. This turned out to be a good move for this story.

  • My story Reading the Leaves won 3rd place in the themed short-story contest held by the Creative Writing Institute. They don’t seem to have announced the winners online, but I got this news in the email last week!

The theme for the contest was to write a story of any genre between 1,000 and 2,000 words, but it must contain the given sentences in order without any changes:

I have a list and a map. What could possibly go wrong?

I had a draft of a story that fit the theme. Days before the deadline I rustled up the story proper and whipped it into shape for the contest.

 

These wins have given me the motivation I need to continue writing. Though the last few months have been hectic on the work front, I continue to plod away at my stories, even its only one page at a time, or revising a little as I go.

So what have you been writing lately?