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

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Give us a clue

I was reading the new issue of Take A Break Fiction Feast the other day. Once I got over the disappointment that, yet again, several of my short stories that I had subbed to this magazine had been rejected, and I wasn't going to see one of my stories in there, I started to analyse it again. One thing that struck me this time was that if you look at the one or two sentence pop up text in the stories, usually in a bigger font size, you can find out a lot about the story before you read it.

Possible examples could include:

      'Jude was sure he'd get the big promotion this time, but who was trying to stop him?'
      'Mike wants to emigrate but will meeting his first love again make him change his plans?'
      'Carla  promised James that she'd change, but will she?'
      'Will Anna ever get away from the life she hates to be with Joe?'

It then occurred to me that if I could create a 'pop-out' text for my own short stories, when I come up with a short story idea, it might help me to better plan out my story and help me to see what my conflict is and what the possible resolution might be. Trying to layout the crux of my story in this way, rather like the blurb on the back of a book, but a lot shorter, might help me to write better stories, ie, stories that I have thought about: are they real stories or just a sequence of events? Is the story an original idea with that special spark editors are looking for? Or could I tweak it to make it better?

Along with the mind mapping for my stories I started last week, I'm finding that this other technique of reading the pop-up texts and writing them for my own short stories is also helping me to get a better and much clearer picture of what my stories are about.

I haven't done much short story writing this week as I've been trying to get two assignments for the journalism course I'm doing finished. But I do have several short stories at various draft stages to get my teeth into in the coming few weeks. I'm taking it slower than usual and really taking the time to let my stories rest in between edits and allowing myself to think a lot more about what my stories are about and how I can improve them. It's been an interesting exercise and I'm hoping my stories and publication rate will improve as a result. It's not easy getting published but we have to give our stories a fighting chance by doing all we can to raise our own standards.

What are you doing to improve your chances of publication?

Happy writing

Julie xx


Diane Fordham said...

Hi Julie - I really like that idea. Thanks for that. :-)

Julie P said...

Hi, Diane -

I don't know why it hadn't crossed my mind before - it takes a while for things to sink in to my brain!

Julie xx

Frances Garrood said...

I'm being very bad and recycling (very) old plots, with some success (otherwise I'm a bit short on ideas at the moment).
Probably not to be recommended, though...

Julie P said...

I don't know, Frances - you've had some success with it so it can't be too bad doing that! My ideas seem to come to me in little flurries - I get several together and then none for a while!

Julie xx