Friday, November 8, 2019


STARTING OFF . . . AS A FICTION WRITER After last weeks editorial about becoming known as a writer first Interesting article, but with so few magazines publishing fiction, what are we to do, write for the â€Å"little magazines† for no pay? My bad. I was not clear. What I meant to say is that you need to become known as a writer first . . . in any way possible. . . even in magazines. Even if you write fiction, you can write nonfiction for magazines, which gets you used to deadlines, writing tight, and adhering to editorial guidelines. Once people realize you write, they follow you to your fiction. The average person doesnt recognize that you are a fiction writer or nonfiction writer. They just know you write. Call me a blasphemer for making you write outside your genre. Im being practical, pragmatic, and common sensical. Im a left brain person. Nonfiction pays. Fiction doesnt until you bust all the odds over a long period of time. So . . . if you want to write FOR A LIVING . . . you write nonfiction for a while to become established. Also, fiction has an advantage that nonfiction doesnt have. Contests. There are ten or twenty times the number of contests for fiction than nonfiction. Especially if you write short stories, from flash to 15,000 words. So, while youre writing all that nonfiction that might go against the grain, you can keep preening and honing your fiction for contests. Win one or two contests, and opportunities open up more. What other options do you have as a fiction writer? Write for literary magazines, for little to nothing. Write for genre magazines, for little to nothing. Yes, the clips count. Yes, agents and publishers will admire you for getting published. Just be realistic and accept the fact it is hard to earn a living writing short fiction for magazines and lit journals. But seriously, what nonfiction can you write about as a fiction author? Ideas you can use -how to write or be a writer pieces (The Writer, Writers Digest) -become a specialist about your genre (Amanda Hocking blogged about fantasy) -become a specialist about your setting (rural, inner city, beach, government, a state, a country) -become a specialist about your time period -write for trades in your profession represented in your stories(cake decorator, doctor, police, computer techie, dog trainer) -write for mags that use your voice(humor, noir, cozy, sexy) -beliefs or causes (Mary Alice Monroe and environmental conservation) -subject matter research or methods(PI Magazine on forensics or police procedure if youre a mystery author) -geography(Pat Conroy and Dorothea Benton Frank on South Carolina) Hopefully your mind is spinning with ideas now!

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