Saturday, 23 February 2013

Groping in the dark

Frustrating isn't it when we get those 'thanks but no thanks' letters and emails. Is our work rubbish, OK but not what they're looking for right now, brilliant but on a theme they've recently used? If we're very lucky we might get a line or two of explanation which is of some help but few editors have time for even that. They're there to edit the magazine - not our submissions!

Feedback can be very useful to a writer so if you can, join a writing group or class (there are versions of both online as well as out there in the 'real' world). Alternatively some competitions offer a critique service (usually for a small fee)

If you'd like some feedback and advice from a publisher pop along to The Fiction Clinic. Could be just the thing if you're struggling with a particular issue or have a section that just isn't working - and it's free!

Once you've got your feedback and sorted out any issues you'll be able to enter short story competitions such as this dark one. Prize £50 plus five submissions 'win' publication in the magazine but there's no fee paid. All winners will get a free ecopy of the mag though.

Or you might like to try this much lighter one(prize $1,000 plus 9 more of $100 Amazon giftcards) Or perhaps a poetry contest (the prize for this is £1,000)

I thought I had the perfect photo (of a dark dungeon) to illustrate this but when I found it I saw I'd used flash so it wasn't dark and you can't really tell it's a dungeon so here's a picture of some birds with rather nice feet instead.

33 comments:

  1. I do like entering competitions that have a critique attached to them - although some comps I've seen charge up to £30 on top of the entry fee - I'm not so keen on those!

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    1. That does seem a lot, Annalisa. Most of the ones I've seen have just been a few pounds - don't know how much detail you'd get for that though.

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  2. Has anyone else noticed that some competition entry fees are pretty steep compared to the prizes on offer? I've been working on a couple of short stories this week for competitions but to be honest can't afford to enter too many!

    Those are indeed very nice feet!

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    1. I have noticed that, Suzanne and I ignore those. Perhaps these would offer a better chance of success though as they won't be attractive to many writers?

      Your best bet is to stick with free entry ones, I reckon.

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  3. Ha! Lovely bird feet. :)
    Getting feedback from anyone is always helpful. :)I am so thankful for those who have been willing to read and critique my stuff.

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    1. I owe a lot to the people who comment on my stuff too, Rachel.

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  4. Hmm interesting! I'm trying as we speak to find a good critique group! Thanks for posting.

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    1. It's worth the search when you find one that works for you, Jessica.

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  5. Great post, love that picture Patsy. Thanks for the links. Bet you'll get a lot of clicks with that post title. (giggle giggle)

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    1. I was tempted to use the four letter name for the type of bird, Suzy but I thought better of it.

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    2. That would have been hillarious. Aren't we naughty?:))

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    3. Well you are! I thought better of it remember ;-)

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  6. I entered a competition where everyone got feedbaxk as part of teh entry fee - it wsa great! The next time I went to enter though, I noticed the fee had greatly increased so in a way you were still paying for the critique.

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    1. I think it's better when the critique is optional, Wendy - unless there's no fee involved of course.

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  7. Thanks for the advice and the helpful links, and yay for birds with fun feet! :-)

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  8. Excellent post as usual Patsy and thanks for the links. We try to listen out for different recs., by networking friends like you who post links on their sites. We also have a writing group as you spoke of, so good advice! By the way, we have nominated you for, The Reality Blog Award" Just head over to our blog, for the details and congrats!

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    1. Oooh, thanks for the award - I'll just pop on my best frock, draft an acceptance speech and come over to collect it!

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  9. I'm always very grateful for any feedback I can get on my writing and try to meet up with writery friends on a monthly basis to swap work. Thanks for the links to the competitions!

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    1. The monthly meet up sounds like a good idea, Vikki. Wonder if there's anyone near me who'd be up for that?

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  10. I've just read your story in Prima (March) magazine Patsy, but that definitely wasn't your picture. Or was it her story and her picture, but your name? Annoying for you anyway.

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    1. It is my story, Maggie. Don't know who the picture is of and hope she's not having a tough time explaining to her friends that she isn't really using a false name.

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  11. I guess the frustration is part of the job! Love that photo, Patsy.

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    1. Yes, I suppose it is just part of the job, Rosemary.

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  12. Patsy - have you linked to my blog somehow? I have six emails from you in my inbox all on this same subject "Groping in the dark". I'm scared to open them!

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    1. Lizy I haven't done so intentionally and don't see how I could have done accidentally (although I'm quite capable of messing things up!) If it was something I've done then I apologise. Could you have clicked the 'subscribe by email' thingy - that might mean you'd get lots of emails from my blog.

      Deleting them without opening them should be safe.

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    2. Lizy, I've just tried doing that (subscribing by email) it just takes one click so could easily be done accidentally. If that's what's happened I think you should see a link below the comment box saying 'unsubscribe'. If you do see that then click it and you shouldn't get any further emails.

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  13. I totally agree about joining writing groups! Not just for feedback. Being around other writers is very inspiring :)

    Xx

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    1. Vikki, you're quite right that being around other writers can be inspiring.

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  14. I think that's the part that is and is going to drive me a little crazy when I put out submissions. Not knowing WHY I've been rejected. Being given even just a brief explanation would be nice...

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    1. It is hard not knowing why a piece is rejected, Bonnee.

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  15. It seems that much of writing and publishing is about perseverance. Feedback can be very helpful. Thanks for the links!

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    1. Perseverance is indeed a useful quality for a writer, Cynthia.

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Thanks so much for commenting!