One of the challenges about starting out as a writer is having your work accepted for publication.
Leaving aside the question of whether your story is compelling and well written, too often emerging writers do not think enough about the market for their work. I'm not suggesting that you constrain what you write. The genre, style, tone, theme, character and plot will depend on you and your experiences and imagination.
What matters is, having created something original, that you make informed decisions about where to send your work. An agent or publisher whose speciality is young adult fiction will not be interested in your post-Nordic crime thriller, while the crime fiction publisher won't consider your teen romance. Research those agents and publishers who handle your type of writing. Target these, keeping a keen eye on their submission guidelines and requirements.
Having your short stories published will give a fillip to your writerly credentials. Softcopy grew out of the ACT Writers Centre Hardcopy 2014 Professional Development Program and is designed for those writers starting their writing journey. If you have a short story of no more than 1000 words, Softcopy would love to hear from you.
‘We find what we are looking for in life…if you look for happiness you will see it.’ Alexander McCall Smith – The Full Cupboard of Life
Even when I sit down to write, I'm never quite sure what kind of story will emerge. The characters seem to have a mind of their own. There they are, skating off when I thought they were going to look inside the broken box, or picking up a gilded spider when they should be watching the road for smugglers. That's part of the excitement.
When this happens, I keep writing because something unexpected and wonderful might flow.
Still, there are times when the plot takes a turn for the worse. A character is sick, has an unhappy life experience, is no longer talking to their significant other, seems to be dwelling in the darker spaces. At these times, I wonder whether I have the courage to take the story where it needs to go. Will I be happy with the outcome? Will the character recover, be better for the experience? Will people enjoy reading the end result?
At this point, I remind myself that readers will bring to the story their own life history. A sad or confronting story can be meaningful, satisfying or even uplifting. So with a full cupboard of life, I can carry on even if the wayward characters eschew the broken box, or fail to safeguard the pass. All I have to do is open the cupboard door.
In 2015 I had the pleasure of meeting Emily Craven, author, professional speaker, blogger, podcaster and entrepreneur. She is an inspiration for anyone interested in epublishing and other opportunities in the digital age.
We share a fascination in reading practices now that the digital revolution has taken hold.
Emily has been kind enough to host my blog about (subversive) ways of reading Peter Carey's True History of the Kelly Gang on her ebookrevolution.
If you've read Ned, let me (and Emily) know how you went about it.