June Rodriguez
DORI: I have more examples of magazines that pay for short fiction stories. I'm still looking at contests, but realize that you have to think about the cost associated with entry. Some are no fee some $10 to $15, but with a very limited income even these small fees add up and in the end there's little likelihood of money or publication. I presented to the group information about a current contest called The Genre Wars being sponsored by the Literary Lab blogspot folks (for more information go to http://www.literarylab.blogspot.com/). Winners get a small dollar gift card to their favorite book store and get published in their first annual Genre Wars anthology. Profits from the anthology will support a yet to be named reading/writing non-profit. For those of us looking for publishing credits this is a great opportunity as there is no cost to enter. They are looking for shorts between 1 to 2,000 words. I just finished a 1,500 word crime genre short story that fits the bill. Can't wait to hear from you guys next week on what I can do to make it a stronger submission.

SARAH: I'm sure it will be great, Dori. You have a wonderful voice and I think your ideas are fresh and inventive.

SUNNY: There are limited options for fiction stories, but what about writing articles for magazines? We each have things going on in our lives that we could riff off of and do non-fiction pieces. List articles are short and easy to write.

JUNE: Like saving money in these tough times, recipes, sewing or even personal experiences. Ideas are popping up as we talk. I have a crafty bent but never thought about turning those ideas into saleable material.

SUNNY: There's a copy of Writers' Market in the library. I was sort of surprised at the magazines NOT listed, like Woman's World and For Women First. But, it was interesting to note that many magazines were more than 50% written by freelancers. And, airline magazines were the high-paying markets. Something like $300 to $700 an article!

SARAH: I wonder if they have 2500 entries a week like Women's World. LOL For that kind of cash, articles better be as polished as a politician's Mercedes.

DORI: Based on Sunny's research I realized that my author interviews could be marketed to regional markets based on where the author lives or sets their books. In addition, airline magazines that fly to those regions would be another potential place to market the interviews. This would be a win-win for both me (getting paid for the work I now do for free) and for the author (they would get a lot more exposure from the interview). I'm in the process of finishing up interviews for Phillip Margolin and William Dietrich who both live in the Pacific Northwest (Oregon and Washington, respectively) and so I'm going to focus trying to market them to the same magazines and see what happens. Can't hurt, as I'm doing the work anyway. Look forward to reporting back the results.

SARAH: That is an interesting idea, Dori. You might think of the tourism magazines that one would find in a hotel, too. I wonder if your concept would work in romance. LOL I've got over 40 interviews collecting cyber-dust.

DORI: Absolutely, dust them off baby!

JUNE: We had trouble finding any info on Woman’s World as they do not have a web site. And as you said the magazine was not in Writer’s Market. I found that going to the magazine distributor’s site http://www.magsdirect.com/ was a good source of info on the demographics of the magazine's readership and a break down of the magazine’s article content. You can even write a review of one of their magazines to be entered to win a gift card.

SUNNY: When I was sick and had LOTS of time to think, I made a list of topics I thought I could intelligently write about. I even jotted down notes until I ran out of ideas for a topic, and then started another. I have about 200 ideas ready to be explored (or exploited).


JUNE: We talked before about getting the word out about the blog. The main idea was to send out the information on all our list serves. I am only on two sites and wondered:
How many list groups are you on? List serves, good or bad. Do we spend too much time on them? How useful are they?

SUNNY: I'm on about 35 list serves. I have a few tricks: I only attend to the lists on Sunday; I take them as they come, from latest post to first. I also have a folder with possible items to post slanted to the site. I take my time and update thoroughly before moving on.

DORI: I'm still trying to figure out the whole social networking thing. It is a good use of time, but time is a commodity I'm definitely short of. One of these days I'll get as organized as Sunny and Sarah, but it’s not going to happen tomorrow. I fully understand their value but haven't sat down long enough to put together a roadmap and game plan to be able to efficiently make them work for me.

SARAH: I have 17 loops that I follow and some other sites that are just for networking. I try to be active on all my loops, but with my busy life I don't always get that luxury. Weekends are just as crazy as the weekdays, so my "free time" is usually spent writing. I'll admit it's pretty daunting to sign on and see I have 885 emails waiting to be waded through with only naptime to do it all! BUT the upside of being on the loops is that I have a great group of cyber-friends that I can chat with anytime about writing and have any questions answered. I lurk more often than not and chime in on important things, but on the whole I've been able to learn A LOT about writing and industry by staying on the loops. So, I guess it's a Catch 22. LOL A necessary evil, if you will. Faint of heart need not apply.

JUNE: Before starting into the critique part of our meetings we usually do an overview of the individual piece. I find I am still having trouble doing this part of the critique. Do you have any suggestions on what I need to concentrate on? What are the most important things to look for?

SARAH: I think if you look at an overview as 'foreplay' you'll do fine. LOL I like to think giving an overview is a 'tasty teaser' of what is to come. Give just the highlights and save the hard core info for the page by page.

SUNNY: I jot down notes of what I see as problem areas as I read. It forewarns the author of what I intend to concentrate on in detail later in my critique. This week it was Sarah's use of conjunctions at the beginning of sentences and over-use of idioms. June, I notice your expertise is plotting. Dori often addresses POV.

DORI: One of the great things about the group is that we do seem to have different strengths. Using our strengths as we review we start to see certain patterns that are then listed in our overview. Those patterns can be both positive and negative. For instance, with Sarah this week I pointed out that first, the scene was an OH so much better rewrite of an earlier scene (which was really important feedback for Sarah). It was a chance to tell her that she heard our previous criticisms and was able to incorporate it into a rewrite that resulted in a much more interesting and engaging scene. In addition, I pointed out that she had some particularly wonderful phrases and sentences, then as Sunny noted followed-up in our page by page analysis to point out what they were. The negative was that she needed to pay attention to when she needed to use new paragraphs when the "doing character" changes. In other words; when the person who is doing something, saying something or thinking something changes, the paragraph must change. Changing the paragraph helps the story flow for the reader, otherwise the reader can be confused, and not understand who is doing what. This becomes even more confusing when as in this scene you have more than one "he" or "him" involved. Again, after pointing this out in the overview, I followed up and showed her in our page by page analysis where the new paragraphs should be located. Hopefully, in the process it helped Sarah see how to address this issue in the future.

SARAH: Lucky me to have my dirty laundry aired in cyber-space. Thanks, ladies. LOL. Whose turn is it next week? I like overviews as they give me a feel for what the general consensus of my chapter was. Going page by page helps reiterate what the overview touched on and makes me feel 'linked' into my problem areas. I always take notes when the overview is given to assist me later when I do edits.

DORI: I should point out to folks that Sarah was the example this week because she was the only one that brought work to the table, not because the rest of us write perfect prose! I'm glad to say that next week we have a flash fiction piece by Jackie, my short story I just completed along with more work from Sarah of course. I look forward to being the object of next week's discussion. Means I'm producing work!

JUNE: So my goal for this week is to take what you have told me and apply it to Sarah and Jackie’s work for this week. No sweat. I have my red pen ready.
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