50 Publications Accepting Sci-Fi/Fantasy Submissions – Winter 2019

Winter 2019 Markets for Sci-Fi and Fantasy Short Fiction

Dear Writers,

In Fall 2019 I made a list of 26 magazines accepting Sci-Fi and/or Fantasy submissions. This is the updated list for Winter 2019 – there are some removals due to closing, hiatus, or reading period limitations. Many additions have been added – I’ve really scoured the web this time.

I’ve broken this into three groups:

SFWA Qualifying Markets
Qualifying Rates but Not Approved SFWA Venues
Non-SFWA Markets

New to magazine submissions? Then this link will take you to something I previously wrote – What the ****? Things Beginners Might Want to Know about Magazine Submissions.

Continue reading “50 Publications Accepting Sci-Fi/Fantasy Submissions – Winter 2019”

Going the Distance – Thoughts After NaNoWriMo

🏃‍♀️On pacing, burnout, and progress 🏃🏃‍♀️

Writing a novel takes time – even if you’re a pantser (a NaNoWriMo term meaning someone who writes by the seat of their pants), it is still a process: drafting, developmental edits, line edits, and that’s not even considering critiques and re-reading it yourself.

Athlete’s feet over asphalt.

Today I want to talk to you about pacing, burnout, and progress.

Continue reading “Going the Distance – Thoughts After NaNoWriMo”

Heinlein’s 5 Rules on Writing

Last year one of my critique partners, Richmond Camero, gave me several ebooks.
Two of them were written by the bestseller Dean Wesley Smith.  One of them was on Heinlein’s Rules. 


Heinlein’s Rules, if you’re unfamiliar with them, are:

1 – You must write.
2 – You must finish what you write.
3 – You must refrain from rewriting unless to editorial order.
4 – You must put it on the market.
5 – You must keep it on the market.

These rules were penned in the 1940s and are controversial in the writing world because they seem almost impossible to follow despite their simplicity. 


Dean Wesley Smith breaks these down in his book Heinlein’s Rules. Smith swears by these rules and attributes them as a game changer for his career.  

Rule Number 1 makes sense.  Who can argue with “You must write“? 


Rule Number 2 is one that according to Smith trips up most aspiring writers: You must finish what you write.  It makes sense.  I have a ridiculous number of projects that I’ve lost steam on and not finished.  Because of that I’ve picked up an old project and I’m working on it now while I wait to gain some perspective on my last project, Dark Fate. Because I plan on rewriting it.


Rule Number 3 is where I think many of us have a problem: You must refrain from rewriting unless to editorial order. It’s easy to get caught in an endless loop of rewriting and rewriting. After all — first drafts usually aren’t the best.  This is when you’re telling yourself the story and have to work the kinks out. I have to admit that Threads of Fate went through five drafts before becoming what it is now.

By rewriting Heinlein does not mean avoiding fixing typos, according to Dean Wesley Smith. The intent was to avoid endless loops of revision. He says, “Everybody in this modern world looks for ways and reasons around this rule”.   Guilty. He later comments, “If you’re rewriting, you are not finishing”. Can’t argue with that. I can only try to do better and one area in particular where I am committing to keep rewriting to a minimum is short stories.

Dean Wesley Smith also reminds us that an agent is not an editor, and a paid editor is not what Heinlein meant either — he meant an editor that will pay you from a publication/publisher. 

It’s easy to take criticism from a professional like an agent, or an amateur like a beta-reader, and immediately want to change your story.  The problem is that you can’t please everyone and that your book will never be perfect.  You have to decide when it’s good enough.


If you’re like me and plan on breaking rule number 3 (at least for my novels), here’s a good article on how to do so with grace and hopefully less rewrites than Threads of Fate: How to Know When You’re Done Revising.


Rule Number 4 should be the ultimate goal of a writer: You must put it on the market. I have to admit with the screenplays I’ve written and the other novel and short stories I wrote that this has been a breaking point for me as well. I have only queried one agent for one piece of fiction that I’ve written. I have had such a fear of rejection that I haven’t queried.  Now querying still frightens me, but I’ve learned that the worst that can happen is that they’ll say no and if you don’t ask the answer is already no.


Rule Number 5 is another breaking point for me: You must keep it on the market. With that in mind one of my goals for this year is to start writing short stories, but not so many that they interfere with my other writing. I would like to start putting the short stories on the market. If that’s a goal for you as well, here’s Where to Submit Short Stories: 23 Website and Magazines that Want Your Work. Since joining the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America is also a goal of mine, I’m going to focus on this list.


So all in all, Heinlein’s Rules seem simple yet difficult to follow.

Which of these rules is a challenge for you?

Revisions: the returns of the writing world

 

“Christmas is saying thanks for some gift you’ll return” Francesca Battistelli belts out. We all know that December 26th is a big day for gift returns and that gift giving is one of the most stressful parts of Christmas.

Writing is kind of like gift giving.  It’s hoping that the reader will like this story that you’ve toiled over in quiet for many long hours.  With writing it’s many people in different stages of their lives that are going to be hopefully enjoying your work. Each person reads your book differently because they have different expectations leading into the experience. One workshop I attended harped on audience and said that audience was so important that this fiction writer would put a sticky note on her computer that read, “Subject. Audience. Goal.” One teacher I had in college harped on every word in the story leading towards the mood and tone of the story down to alliteration insofar as emotional words having more vowels and intellectual words having more consonants.


On the other hand, another school of thought says to write what you love and that there is an audience for everything. With seven billion people on the planet you’re bound to find someone who will like what you write.

One of my critique partners, Eric Peterson, wrote:

Don’t worry about what the reader thinks about the story.  There were choices I had to make that the reader may not have wanted but they had to happen for the sake of the story… At the end of the day you have to ask yourself what is good for the story.

In Stages of a Fiction Writer Dean Wesley Smith says, “Words now are still important but only in the service of the story and nothing more.  Words can be tossed away at will, just as cards are tossed away in poker.”

I read this and know exactly what stage of fiction writing I’m in because I collect words like poker cards (not a good sign). I actually have a note in my phone of words I like.  I read it before I write and try to use them (and fail to incorporate them usually). I was delighted when I actually was able to use caparisoned legit.


How does one mitigate the stress of writing between these two schools of thought? In the words of the bard – to thine own self be true.  If you’re a pantser, someone who writes by the seat of your pants, then stick to what works for you. If you’re a planner, then stick to the plan.


Revisions are the returns of the writer’s world. They are performed silently and no one need ever know how many times you work on a particular scene before you get it right. Waiting a few weeks to gain perspective and then picking up a piece again can be extremely beneficial. I let a piece rest for a few months – I was working on it during Camp NaNoWriMo over the summer and then put it down, but now I’ve picked it up again, and I’m excited to be working on it. That time was what I needed to gain perspective and new appreciation for the piece.
Now if you work with beta readers, you do have an audience that witnesses those painful first drafts, so you have to decide when the timing is right to send those drafts.


There is no limit to how rough a first draft can be.  With that in mind, most first drafts aren’t perfect.  Heinlein’s Rules say not to rewrite except to editorial request, but who can live by those rules? That will be a different post. I didn’t give myself permission to let the first draft of Dark Fate suck and I struggled writing it in parts because I wanted it to be perfect. I re-read it and noted all the inconsistencies and things that I would like to fix and expound upon and all the pieces that I would like to change in the next draft. Then after sitting on it for a while I’m going to fix those things and re-read it. Once I’ve expounded it to the second draft, then I may open it up to beta readers.