Julie's Quest

Hello, and welcome to my blog. My blog is about the trials and tribulations of writing, where we celebrate successes and commiserate our near misses. We tell it like it is here and will do our very best to help you on the road to being published and pick you up after the rejections (they will come!) Whether you are a professional or amateur writer you will find something useful here.

I hope you enjoy reading my posts and will visit again soon.

Happy Writing

Julie Phillips - freelance writer - member of the Association of Freelance Writers - member of the Society of Authors

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Stats, stats, and more stats! And a how to write book that has inspired me.

I only have a few figures to report for my end of year stats on the short story and poetry front! So this won't take too long!

Short stories sent out to women's mags:34


Accepted:1 (Wooh Hooh!)


Short stories sent to comps:5


Short stories sent to anthology 3

Pending: 3

Poems sent out:16



rejected 5

Total short stories sent out all categories: 39.

So not a very successful year on the short story front at all. Am I disappointed? Yes! I am also very annoyed with myself at not getting more than one short story published. It seems that, despite my best efforts, I'm just not quite there with the short story writing. But I have gone back to basics from last week and will be continuing my women's mag fiction research to see if I can figure out just where I'm going wrong and whether I can do anything to rectify it.

But I still draw great comfort and inspiration from the writers out there who are getting their short stories published: Teresa Ashby, Geraldine Ryan, Lynne Hackles, Helen. M. Hunt, Olivia Ryan and Sheila Norton, Simon Whaley to name but a few who have done so well this year. May your success continue for many years to come. I hope to join in with your success in 2010. That's what I like about Blog Land, everyone is so supportive and encouraging and there is no one up man ship or silliness like that - we are here to help other writers and support them through the rejections, and to celebrate their successes.

2010 will be tough for writers with more competition and less space in less magazines that take fiction - but there are also some mags expanding their fiction slots and new mags appearing all of the time - so we mustn't give up hope or stop writing and submitting. We can and we will do it! It might take a while - but never say never.

I've been reading a couple of books that Children's Writer and fellow blogger and Wrekin Writer member Carole Anne Carr lent me following the interview and one of the books Techniques Of The Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain. University Of Oklahoma Press. 1973 ISBN 0-8061-1191-7 has struck a distinct chord with me and I had a light bulb moment while reading it!

The ideology that excited me was this: in the book Swain talks about this:

Goal-conflict-disaster (Scene) Reaction-dilemma-decision (sequal)

He also uses the terminology: FAS = Feeling-Action-Speech.

Also Motivation-reaction units.

The theme throughout the book is that feeling is what drives creative writing. Your main Character feels something. They have something they want to achieve or need. Something/someone is preventing them from reaching their goal so they try and overcome this. But then disaster strikes and their attempt at overcoming the obstacle
in their way is thwarted (this is known as the scene.) Then the character reacts to this, they have a choice between two or more solutions and they have to decide (true to their character) which solution to take to resolve the story - the sequel.

It's a fantastic book and has given me food for thought - so if you're struggling with your short stories like me, it would be a good investment. It isn't specifically for short stories and so would suit novelists and poets too. It's American, but it's appeal and advice is universal. And thanks, Carole, for lending it to me.

My next post will be about my research and findings for The Weekly News followed by Take A Break's Fiction Feast. Have a look over on Olivia Ryan's blog as she's done an excellent post on her findings about writing for My Weekly.I know this market is now closed for the time being for a lot of us, unless we've had a story accepted by them in the past. But they may change their policy later in the year - so it's still worth a read.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Xmas and New Year and can at least put their pens down and computers away for a few days - unless of course the muse strikes and you just have to get your next masterpiece down on paper! I also hope that we can all learn from our writing over the last year and improve our outcomes for 2010 and beyond!Here's to a successful 2010!

Julie xx


Sue Horder-Mason said...

Julie I'm sorry sweetheart but I've got to disagree with you regarding your stats.

For Julie and the rest of you, here are the true stats.

Those not accepted because they weren't suitable for what ever reason but were sent in the first place after a lot of hard work - that's 33 pats on the back and well dones

Accepted which proves that yes Julie can do it :1 (Wooh Hooh!) That's two pats on the back.

Pending : That's at least 9 pats on the back.

Short stories sent to comps: That's another 5 pats on the back.

Placed Competitions are so subjective that not being placed doesn't mean that it wasn't good enough.:0

Short stories sent to anthology 3

Pending: Hey that's another 3 pats on the back

Poems sent out: and another 16

accepted:10 - that's twenty pats on the back

pending:1 - one pat for that

rejected and another 5 pats for that.

Total short stories sent out all categories: 39.

Total pats on the back = 99 and an extra one from me because I think you've had a remarkable year, have worked hard and achieved so much. Also for your generosity in willingly passing on what you've learned.

From me and I'm sure everyone who reads and enjoys your blog - thank you.

Sue xx

Sue Horder-Mason said...

PS And on this blog you haven't mentioned anything about the successes you've had with your articles xx

Sue Horder-Mason said...

PPS Sorry it's me again. I read a quote a long time ago which goes along the lines - if you want to buy a mansion from the earning from your writing, you need enough rejection slips to paper it.

So think positive my dear friend


Lynne Hackles said...

I hope 2010 will be a huge success for you, Julie. You deserve it and have been so generous sharing your research.
It's been lovely to share in your family life too.
Onwards and upwards.

Simon Whaley said...

Hang on, hang on, hang on dear. Just one cotton pickin' minute. What's all this about being disappointed? Hello? Submitting 39 pieces of work this year is not to be sneezed at! I presume it isn't 39 different pieces of work - we know from your existing blog postings that you treat a rejection as an opportunity to review and edit before resubmitting, but how many others in our writing group will have made 39 submissions this year?

That is something to be positive about! And 1 short story published (and paid for) and 10 poems accepted, is not to be sneezed at.

So, 39 submissions is something to be proud of, and those rejected will have helped you grow as a writer. And then, of course, there's all those accepted articles as seen in your Article Angst posting at


You've had a fantastic year, and 2010 will only get better!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Julie P said...

Thank you, Sue!!

But can we stop with the pats on my back as my back is sore now!!

I'm very proud of my writing achievements so far but I know I have a long way to go yet and I will get there because I know I have so much support from you guys as Wrekin Writers and in Blog land. So thank you for that. I do appreciate it.

And any way, you need a big pat on the back for finishing NaNo and all your other writing achievements and for keeping us lot at Wrekin Writers in order for the past 12 months! That's not an easy job!

I didn't mention my article successes on here as I'd already posted those stats over on Article Antics and didn't want to bore anyone for longer than was neccessary!!

Thanks again, Sue, and here's to a wonderful 2010.

Julie xx

Julie P said...

Thanks, Lynne, for your lovely comements and I'm glad my research findings and what I've learned along the way have been useful for people. I love sharing bits about my family when I can too as they are such a big part of my life and my writing succes. If I didn't have such a supportive and understanding husband, I wouldn't have got as far as I have.

I think my daughter is a writer in the making too!

I hope you're writing continues to go from strength to strength too in 2010.

Julie xx

Julie P said...

Hi, Simon, and thank you. You're right, of course; I have had a fantastic year article wise and I have to pinch myself sometimes to make sure I haven't dreamt about the amount of subs I've made this year. If it wasn't there on my computer screen in black and white I wouldn't believe it myself!

Thank you for all your valuable advice and support too. It means a lot to me that you have taken the time and effort to help me - even though I must drive you mad sometimes! I do listen to you, honest, and I do act on your advice (well, most of the time anyway!) just think what I'd achieve if I always did what you said!

I hope that I inspire other writers to stop procrastinating and just sit down and write. I hope I've also hammered the message into them that in order to be published you have to write it first and then take that leap of faith and actually submit your work. And keep at it no matter how many rejections you get.

The gauntlet has been laid at Wrekin Writers, so I hope even more of the group will send more work out in 2010 and we get loads more successes! Everyone has done so well already: You, Angeline, Di, Phyllis, Dorothy, Carole, Jan, Mary, Sue Ross, Chris, Sue HM, Fee. It's amazing!

I only started writing in the summer or 2007,and didn't send work out until a year later in
2008, so it is early days yet. I'm more of a slow burner than a rocket!

Happy Xmas and New Year to you too, Mr Whaley - I hope your writing goes well in 2010 as you're another one who has done exceptionally well and you are an inspiration and motivator to all of us. I won't tell them about the whip!!

Julie xx

Abi said...

Good luck for the New Year Julie and well done on the 39 stories you have written. I'm mainly a non-fiction writer but I'm currently writing my first (specifically aimed at a market) short story between articles.

Abi x

Julie P said...

Thanks. Abi, and the best of luck with your articles and short stories!

Julie xx

Carole Anne Carr said...

Hi Julie, good to hear you are becoming a friend of my very sensible guru, Mr. Swain.
Did you receive the first NLP file I sent to you, or did it end up in your Junk folder?


Julie P said...

Hi, Carole,

Yes, Mr Swain is as wonderful as you said he was. He's certainly got me thinking. I did get the NLP file but for some reason it wouldn't down load - I think the file may be too big and I don't think I have enough room on my computer - it is a bit chaotic at the moment - but in the new year I'm going to delete a lot of old stuff I don't need and will try to download it again then when I've freed up some space.
I've kept your email and attachment on my system.

Thank you again for introducing me to Mr Swain and I've also become well acquainted with Dorothea too!

Julie xx

Teresa Ashby said...

I was going to pat you on the back as well, but as your back is sore I'll send you a congratulations hug instead.
You're doing brilliantly, Julie - your blog is lovely and I have no doubt you have the talent and determination to make it - hope 2010 bring you great success xx

Julie P said...

Thanks, Teresa!

I'm looking forward to 2010 and I'm going to continue my quest to get published. I've learned so much about my writing over 2009 and I know I can improve and write better.

Thanks for all your support and I hope your success continues to grow too.

Julie xx

Olivia Ryan said...

Julie, I can only endorse what Sue has said to you - you should be congratulated (or patted on the back, whichever you prefer!) for all your hard work this year - and you still have stories 'pending' which may well turn out to be the ones the editors are considering favourably. The market is tough, tough TOUGH for short story writers now, and even those of us (including both of me!!) who you kindly mentioned as doing well, are suffering more rejections than acceptances (sorry - I should say, I am at any rate!!).

And isn't your poetry a success story! 10 poems accepted! That is amazing - I always thought poetry was the hardest thing of all to get published.

I feel sure you'll have even more success in 2010. You deserve it. x

Julie P said...

Thanks Olivia and Sheila! (Do you ever get confused between the two?!) I thought I'd better give you both fair credit and congratulations in case the other got jealous! I didn't want to be accused of favouritism!

I'm still determined to improve my short stories and see where they take me in 2010 - I'll be happy to get just one published next year so anything else will be a bonus. It's so hard for all writers this year and Mr Whaley has just sent us Wrekin Writers a round robin e-mail forwarding an e-mail he's had about a report that, generally, advances for novels are falling to £500! So it seems to be market wide. I just hope the market picks up next year and I can write better stories that will be accepted. But who knows!

Is Noah looking forward to Xmas? I know he's a baby but I'm sure he'll love all the Christmassy goings on! As will you!

Good luck for next year

Julie xx