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

Friday, 19 February 2010

Inspiration, Inspiration Everywhere!

So far over the last couple of days I've found inspiration for short stories in a number of unusual places: a funeral, in the bath washing my toes, sitting down quietly in my lounge on the sofa doing absolutely nothing, walking through a crowded shopping  centre, and sitting in the cinema watching The Princess and the Frog!

I've also found inspiration in the more usual places by reading the women's magazines and seeing the characters, settings, situations in the stories that have been published over the past few months. And I was motivated and heartened by the wide variety of stories being published. There is hope for me yet!

One thing that has struck me recently, as I was reading the women's mags, is the use of headings the mags use to 'define' the genre of the story: put your feet up; spine chiller, tale with a twist, love story, one from the heart, crime time, to name but a few. And even in the mags that don't have these headings, if you read the byline the mags use to introduce the story you will find they use definitions of the type of story it is: heart warming, poignant, thoughtful, delightful. So I wonder if one of the keys to writing a successful short story for the women's mags is to keep these words in mind when you are writing the story. 

I have already written the first draft of one of my new stories and have outlined three more, loosely using the character, goal, conflict, disaster, reaction, dilemma, decision format (not all these 'stages' are included in all short stories but it provides a framework to begin with that I can adapt to suit the magazines, ) and closely following the layout and style the authors of those stories that have been published in these mags use. I'm hoping what I have learned - if I can apply it to my own writing - will get me that elusive sale.

Good luck everyone with your writing!
Julie xx

8 comments:

Suzanne Jones said...

You've done it before and you WILL do it again, Julie. Keep writing and subbing...

XX

PS was The Princess and the Frog good? I'm desperate to see it, but my 13-year old refuses to go. Think I'll have to wait for the DVD.

Julie P said...

I was enjoying the Princess and the Frog, Suzanne, but my four yr old neice didn't - she was scared of the voodoo man! So I had to take her out while my hubby and daughter stayed in. Then ten mins later they came out too!! We got a refund from the cinema though - the young lad who letting the punters in was most concerned that my neice was crying. I'll have to go and see it by myself!!

Julie xx

Suzanne Jones said...

Oh dear. Won't be long before they bring it out on dvd, hopefully - it should be less scary on tv.

Not that it will be any consolation, but we had to leave A Bug's Life early (she was about two and didn't like the grasshoppers).

XX

Sue Ross said...

Julie, you make me ashamed...and tired.
I hate to ask, but a masochistic part of me is making me, what was the story inspired by you washing between your toes?

womagwriter said...

I would definitely write with one of the magazine tag-lines in mind. Decide it's a One from the Heart and you need to get lots of emotion into it. If it's a spine-chiller then don't be afraid to make it scary! Then when you sub, you can mention the genre in the covering letter eg This is a 1000-word crime time story... Will prove you've studied the market!

Julie P said...

My neice was fine after she spied the sweetie display, Suzanne! But I could feel the other parents' eyes following me accusing me of being a bad mother (even tho I'm not her mother!) for daring to take my poor little girl into a film that scared her half to death!! You'd think I'd taken her in to see poltergeist or something!!!

Julie xx

Julie P said...

Hee hee, Sue!!

I have no control over which inspirational ideas ping into my head at any given moment of the day! It was to do with a funeral I had attented earlier that day so why the idea should have come to me whilst bathing - I have no clue!!

Julie xx

Julie P said...

It does indeed, Womag! I used to hate it when the editors used to send out a little note and enclose their guidelines suggesting I read their magazines when I ruddy well had - hundreds of them!!! LOL!

Julie xx