Monday, April 23, 2012

Books and More

I stopped at a couple of thrift stores today. After buying an old ivory colored USA cereal bowl, a Mirro aluminum fluted mold and an old plastic three sectioned bill and letter holder that you hang on the wall, I headed for the book section.

I love Garfield. And, I love Little Golden Books. With all the Little Golden Books I have, this is my first Garfield one.  The other book is a 1950 book filled with 15 short stories.

I'm not very good at writing short stories, so I thought this might be a good book to buy. Maybe reading these famous authors' short stories will help me learn how to write a good one. There are short stories by Thomas Hardy, Stephen Crane, Ernest Hemingway, Dylan Thomas, Anton Chekhov, William Sansom, Nathaniel Hawthorne, James Joyce, Guy De Maupassant, Kay Boyle, Sarah Orne Jewett, Alun Lewis, D.  H. Lawrence and Eudora Welty.

We picked up the May Two-Lane Livin' magazines in Mineral Wells while we were running around. Aren't those baby birds on the front cover just the cutest?

My article is on page 16.

 And, I was surprised to see on the reader's page a poem sent in by my neighbor. I told his wife that she was living with a poet and didn't know it. (Sorry, but I just had to say that).

And, I am happy to say that my online PB critique group is up and running. There are 7 of us and I am enjoying critiquing and getting critiqued! It is a very learning experience.

Have you bought any good books lately? Or been critiquing any manuscripts?

 Posted by Janet Smart at Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch.
©Janet F. Smart

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Getting Out of the Slush Pile

Publishers get thousands of submissions a year. How do we get our manuscript in the small percentage that get published?

How do we get out of the slush pile? How do we stand out in the crowd? How do we get a publisher to read the entire PB or read more than the first page of our MG manuscript?

These are good questions.

Many people write thinking it will be easy to get published. They write their manuscript and send it out the door. They think it is wonderful and the publisher will soon be knocking on their door with a contract.

First you need to follow the rules and submission guidelines and format correctly or your manuscript will immediately go to the slush pile.

Research the publisher. Do not send a PB to a publisher who states they do not publish PBs.

Join a critique group! Edit, edit and edit until your story shines. You may have to cut out a few of your favorite parts. But if it does not fit, take a deep breath and slice away. Add description to your MGs and take it out of your PBs.

Start your story with your first sentence, so the publisher will read the second sentence.

Make your characters unique. Do not have cookie cutter characters or cookie cutter story lines.

Publishers want unique stories. How do you do that when everything has already been written about?

Put a different spin on your story or subject.

Try to narrow your niche. How about historical fiction for younger kids?

Try writing non fiction for children. Write it in a way that makes it stand out in the crowd.

I know what I need to do to get published, but I need to put that knowledge to work for me and my manuscripts.

My husband and I are going on a trip today, I will  be taking one of my PB manuscripts with me so I can brainstorm in the car. I will try to edit, edit, edit and repair my manuscript.

What are your ideas for getting out of the slush pile?
Please tell us in the comment  section. We all  need any help we can get.

Posted by Janet F. Smart at Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Cedar Lakes

Spring has sprung at Cedar Lakes.

Cedar Lakes is where West Virginia Writers has their annual writer's conference. 
I drove through it a few weeks ago and took these springy pictures.

Beautiful Holt Lodge where conference attendees can spend the weekend.

Go here to read all about West Virginia Writers.

Go here for more pictures of Cedar Lakes.

I look forward to seeing some of my writing friends here in early June.

Posted by Janet F. Smart at Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch.