Monday, 22 February 2016

Writing short stories for womags - My journey so far

As well as wanting to be known as an indie children's author, I want to become a short story womag (women's magazine) writer. It is not as easy as some might think. For the last year I have bought the magazines and read the stories, but have only slightly taken in what they are really about and what the magazines like to publish. I continued this way until a couple of months ago when I posted one of my stories on the Strictly blog for comments. Boy, did I get comments or what. A couple of the writers, who have been successful at womag writing, said that I should take the time out to study the stories properly. So, that is what I started doing, one magazine at a time. I have started with Take a Break's Fiction Feast as that is the magazine that most of my stories I have been writing seem to go to eg quirky or spooky, stories that TaBFF publish a lot of. The only magazine that publish those sort of stories. I have been writing the studies in a nice pink book. I will study more later today. I have already sent 2 stories to this magazine; one in December and one last week.

Other things I have found out about writing short stories for womags, the main character has to relate to the reader, and the story has to flow. More linear. I tried one with flashbacks, but now thinking about it, it did take the reader away from the story a bit. It is now more linear, going from day to day.

The next magazine I will study I think will be Yours. They have one story in the magazine every issue, which is fortnightly. I do know they are stories that have families in, esp grandparents and nostalgia. I usually study stories written by regulars (writers who have had more than 1 published) first then the rest of the stories.

Will be back in a couple of weeks to let you know how I am getting on.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Writing diary - Weeks 5-6

So, what have I been writing these last two weeks, and how far have I got.

The pocket novel - I have been adding scenes throughout the novel where the heroine chats to her work colleague about her romance. Also the hero thinking about his past. Word count is now 49,306, so not far now to reach the 50K that My Weekly want for a pocket novel. I still have to revise the synopsis, but now that I know what is added to the story, I know what to add in that.

Short stories - I finished the edits of the Xmas short story according to the first lots of comments I got on the story blog. Put it on the blog again. I got more positive feedback this time, saying it read better. I still have a few things to add, mainly putting more of the senses in for the ghost, which I will do once I've finished revising the story I'm now working on. I am now revising the quirky short story I wrote in November. I put it on the blog and got lots of comments to make me think. One womag writer, Fran Tracey (Hiya, Fran) messaged me her notes on the story inc bullet points ones for me to read and think about. I have been editing the story according to those, and feel more confident about this story now and where it goes.

I have also started writing fillers or letters to magazines again. I emailed a letter to Healthy yesterday, so shall see what happens about that. Have another one in mind to send to another health magazine, which I might jot down later today.

I have also been updating my writing website, as I am rebranding myself as a children's author.

And lastly, I have been emailing my lists about plot and what it isn't, along with exercises. This goes with the writing exercise ebook I have been working on for the last few months.

Next post will be something else about writing. Don't know what yet. Need to think about that one. Maybe about writing short stories for the womag market.

Monday, 8 February 2016

My writing priorities have changed

Over the last month or so my writing priorities have changed. How? Well, I had wanted to write both adult and children's fiction, but I now want to mainly concentrate on writing for children. I still am going to write short stories for womags; that is my second priority, but as for adult fiction? I will continue and complete the 2 ebook series' I have been writing ie Geraldine's Gems and Singleton. I will also write pocket novels, but probably only once a year. I will write them in between the children's books I have planned, and they are many. So, how has it changed for me? I have been helping a new author edit and write his own picture books for children, and have been enjoying it immensely, coming up with ideas for him to work on. Helping him has made me realise that I enjoy writing for children more than adults. He has found this too. I think we both find writing for children much easier than writing adult fiction.

So, here is my current writing plan.

1. Finish the pocket novel I am revising. Near the end. It is now 48K. 2K to go. When I finish that, I shall send it to my editor.
2. Whilst that it being edited, I shall start plotting the third and final mermaid story. I am looking forward to that.
3. When I have written and published that, I shall start reading and revising 'Boring Billy'. Get that edited and publish it myself.
4. Then I shall write and publish the last of Geraldine's Gems.
5. Back to writing for children. Read through Charlie, get it edited and published.
6. During the retreat in May I plan to start writing the next Asperkids ebook which will be about Susie who has a heart problem but can work wonders with her fingers and making tapestries. (Based on me).

I think that is enough for getting on with for now, don't you? Now that I want to specialise in writing for children, that is where my niche lays and I want to help new children's authors feel the way I do about writing that genre. So, my author service has changed too.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Writing diary - Week 4

I wasn't going to write this until next week but fellow womag writer, Jackie Sayle, wanted to know where it is. Here it is, a bit later than planned. I'm starting it from Sunday 24 January (where did that month go?)

Sunday - Worked on the pocket novel. It is now 45,680 words. Getting there.
Also worked on the Xmas story, and it went up to 1515 words. Was told that that is an awkward word count to have for womags so thought I'd cut it to 1200.

Monday - I booked and paid a deposit for the SCBWI writing retreat this year. Can't wait. I get so much writing done during that weekend. Plan to write short stories, start another children's ebook and maybe do some colouring and drawing.

Tuesday - Worked on Xmas story. Cut it down to 1298 words. Put it on the short story blog for comments.
Worked on pocket novel, word count up to 46,078. Feel like I can reach that 50K now.

Wednesday - Author client work day today. Read my client's picture book no 2. Words are simple enough for 5-7s. Emailed lists about plot and what it isn't, with exercise. If you wish to get these ideas and inspiration why not sign up to my newsletter at

Thursday - Must have worked on pocket novel and story but it's blank in my planner. I think that was the day I got to read the comments on my Xmas story and they were frank and honest. I am grateful for them, as a couple of them gave me ideas straight away on how to improve the story. It is now a ghost story not a magical one. Had been reading how to write ghost stories by Kathleen McGurl who used to write womag stories. Got an idea from that, too. Reading and analysing more Take a Break's Fiction Feast mag now. Feel that is the first mag I want to get accepted by, even if they are the one mag that keeps all copyright of your story.

Friday - Worked on pocket novel and finished that draft. Hurrah. Now comes to 47,111 words. Still have a few thousand to go, so have decided to create scenes where the heroine chats to her work colleage about her new boyfriend and the romance.

Saturday - Worked on another writing exercise for the ebook I plan to publish later this year. These ones were for children's authors and I enjoyed writing them, that I have now decided to focus on writing for children as my main area of writing from this year. That will be the next post on here.

So that is my writing week just gone. Next time I will post about my diary in a couple of weeks as I plan to do it fortnightly from now on.