Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Nine Reasons to Write Short Stories
By Jeanine McAdam
When Maria asked me to write for the RWA-NYC blog I knew I would blog about the short story market. Immediately I came up with a bunch of thoughts. The next step was to organize them into a meaningful entry. That’s where I got stuck. After mulling over different ideas I decided to create a top ten list of the reasons I write short stories. Sort of like David Letterman…. except that my list ended at nine. When I couldn’t come up with the tenth, I let myself off the hook and accepted the fact that I work in the short story market.
9) My stories are being bought. There are numerous markets contracting romantic short stories. Dorchester Media’s four confession magazines publish 10-12 stories a month. Plus, New Love Stories Magazine and e-anthologies offer plenty of opportunities.
8) Ability to sell rejected stories. If one of my stories is rejected, I never delete it or bury it in an absurd folder on my computer. Two years ago, True Love rejected a story I wrote set on a rural college campus. A year later, I sold it to True Romance. Furthermore, when I was unable to sell a story to one editor at True Romance, after she left the company, I resubmitted the story to her predecessor and she bought it. (Note – I did tell the predecessor the story had already been rejected.)
7) A chance to practice the one line pitch. Every story I submit I write a short synopsis highlighting the characters and conflict. I’ve gained lots of confidence and increased my skills tremendously at targeting the heart of the narrative and narrowing it down to a few words.
6) Opportunity to learn how to write in different genres. Besides romance I’ve submitted stories to the children’s and horror markets. Currently, I am working on a gay love story. Each of these diverse genres give me the chance to hone my skills, sharpen my voice and learn their conventions.
5) Improve my skills at flushing out motivation and conflict using only 5,000 to 7,000 words. Every month I’m creating two new characters, defining their strengths and weaknesses and constructing a problem.
4) Work with an editor regularly. At Dorchester Media, I’ve worked with the same editor for over a year now. I’ve gotten to know her style, likes and dislikes; plus, learned more about the editorial process.
3) Ability to expand into new markets. My most recent story “Inhuman Resources,” appearing in the anthology HUNGRY FOR YOUR LOVE, is a zombie romance. It will be marketed to both horror and romance readers. I’m hoping to continue to work in the horror market and increase my readership.
2) Forced me to be a writer. When I started writing short stories I made an agreement with myself to submit a story every month. As I result of that commitment, I write through the ups and downs of my personal life. I write when I don’t have an idea, and I write when the words barely form a complete sentence. After I finish writing, I submit by the second week of every month.
1) Last but not least, the number one reason I write short stories is because I am participating in my chosen profession. My stories define me as a writer. When people ask what I do, I say proudly, “I am a short story writer.” Plus, it’s great to get paid for my work!♥
BIO: Jeanine McAdam has published over twenty two short stories with the Dorchester Media “true confession” line of magazines during the past two years. Working as a reference librarian for seven years, Jeanine always loved books and helping patrons find great fiction. In her profession as a technology trainer, she wrote instructional materials and contributed to technology newsletters. When she began inserting romance, intrigue and a touch horror into the manuals she knew it was time to start her career as a short story writer. Look for her short story, “InHuman Resources” in the HUNGRY FOR YOUR LOVE: An Anthology of Zombie Romance, from Ravenous Romance (www.ravenousromance.com). And look for her confession, "Snowboard Baby", in the December 2009 issue of True Romance.