Archives For Resources

10 Publication Opportunities for Young Writers

Writers like Françoise Sagan, Sonya Hartnett and S.E. Hinton demonstrate that youth doesn’t have to be a barrier to literary success. Here is a list of 10 magazines, journals and websites that are committed to publishing young writers and that champion the work of those just starting out.
If you have never submitted your work for publication before, we highly recommend reading How to Submit Your Writing to Literary Magazines, a practical step-by-step guide from the editors of Neon Literary Magazine.

Cadaverine Magazine
believes in showcasing contemporary, innovative and original new writing from the next generation of literary talent. It welcomes submissions of literary fiction, poetry and reviews by writers under the age of 30. Cadaverine Magazine is based in the UK but welcomes international submissions. Cadaverine’s editors may suggest changes or ask you to resubmit an edited draft to help you develop your work. They ask that writers only submit work if they are willing to participate in this editorial process.

Rookie
is an American online magazine created by fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson in 2011, then aged just 15, with Jane Pratt (founding editor of Sassy) and Ira Glass (This American Life) among its many high-profile supporters. The site has monthly themed content, with updates three times every weekday, and once a day on weekends, and every school year the editors compile the best from the site into a printed yearbook  There are no restrictions on the age of contributors and all written pieces should be at least 800 words long (except poems). Rookie’s April 2015 theme is ‘Both Sides Now’.

Claremont Review
is based in British Columbia and publishes young artists, aged 13 to 19 from anywhere in the English-speaking world. It accepts poetry, short stories, short plays, graphic art, photography, and interviews twice a year in the spring/summer and fall/winter. The Claremont Review’s website includes a resources section with tips and examples of the types of work it publishes.

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A guest post by Andy Jackson

Being a writer involves intense and maddening dichotomies. The work of writing requires isolation and withdrawal from the world, a retreat into obsession, both in the act of writing and in the months and years of deep imaginative work while the book takes mental shape. It is a job for an introvert. The process of publishing requires a schizoid opposite, as the work that has been nurtured in the safe, protected space of the computer (or the notebook or the typewritten page) is turned into a commodity…  The sensation of handling stacks of printed galleys of my book was at once deeply satisfying and strangely terrifying. To see the book become more than one – to see it become multiple, reproduced – that was very weird…  And then, with the reviews, comes a different experience: what was produced in seclusion had become subject to public scrutiny…  What surprised me most was how excruciating it was to be reviewed at all. It was an extension of the weirdness and ambivalence that came with seeing my book in print, for sale….

– Kirsten Tranter, “Go, Little Book“, Overland, Summer 2014.

I read this fascinating essay by Tranter in the wake of reading a few short reviews of my book the thin bridge, and it seemed to make some sense of the swirl of enigmatic and contrary feelings I’d experienced. Reading reviews, I found myself scanning the page for negative words and impressions. I read implied criticism into ambiguity, a nonplussed tone into what was actually mere description. I swelled at the unambiguous praise and felt the reviewer must be insightful; they really “got it”. I read these reviews a second time, carefully, expecting both condemnation and celebration. Somewhere in my nerves, I was a genius and a fraud, and I just knew the review would uncover either or both of these truths.

It’s analagous to standing naked in front of a doctor, or a mirror. Awkward, heightened, nowhere to hide. But the thing is, is there any “truth” to be found there? Doesn’t it depend on what we’re looking for?

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Seven Fellowships and Mentorship Programs for Screenwriters

Please check the relevant websites for full entry terms and conditions.

Film Independent’s Screenwriting Lab
is an intensive five-week program that runs two to three evenings a week in Los Angeles every Autumn. It is designed to help screenwriters develop and express their unique voices as writers and to take their current scripts to the next level. Lab Fellows connect with various established screenwriters and explicate their films, learn about their careers, and discuss the writing process. Additionally, Screenwriting Fellows have one-on-one meetings with established screenwriters, producers, and other industry professionals who act as advisers on the Fellows’ projects. Applications close 13 April.

Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting
awards up to five fellowships of US$35,000 each year. This international screenwriting competition is open to writers based anywhere in the world, regardless of citizenship. All entrants must be aged over 18.The final entry deadline is 1 May.

Sundance Screenwriters Lab
is a five-day writer’s workshop that gives independent screenwriters the opportunity to work intensively on their feature film scripts with the support of established writers in ‘an environment that encourages innovation and creative risk-taking’. The next Screenwriters Lab will be held in January 2016, just before the Sundance Film Festival. Applications open on 15 March and close on 1 May.

CBS Diversity Institute’s Writers Mentoring Program
aims is to provide access and opportunities for talented and motivated diverse writers. The program is held in Los Angeles but writers do not need to be American residents to apply (there are no travel grants or subsidies though). Applications close 1 May.

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Teaching Creativity: Born That Way or Waiting for the Muse?

If you’re not born with creativity, do you have to struggle to acquire it?

By Josephine Scicluna, Lecturer in Professional and Creative Writing at Deakin University

Recently one of my Masters students, a filmmaker from the Czech Republic, told me his friends back at home were completely baffled that he was in Australia studying creative writing. You were either creative or you were not, they told him. It wasn’t something you could be taught. Although not voiced in such an emphatic way by my undergraduate students, I’ve still encountered many who hold the suspicion that maybe it’s all just fluff.

What I’ve come to understand is that teaching creativity is not about dishing out a set of instructions how to do it, but much more about helping students to identify the kinds of situations or conditions they need for this receptiveness to occur. From there, they can learn to harness this creativity in exciting ways. But first I have to deal with the resistances.

Much of the resistance I’ve come across bears the vestiges of an 18th-century Romantic view of the artist as a genius, “a one of a kind, a great original” as Margaret Atwood describes in her book on writing, Negotiating with the Dead (2003).

You’re either born that way or not. Or, you have to wait for inspiration, divine or otherwise, to hit you from above, below or sideways. In either case, creativity appears as something outside of your control.

Misconceptions about originality are another factor in my students’ resistance and this can create a real confidence block. If they emulate others, they feel that this doesn’t count as creativity or else if they can’t think of something “completely new”, they think they can’t even begin and freeze up altogether.

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Stephen King's Everything You Need to Know About Writing Successfully in Ten Minutes
We came across the following article by Stephen King a little while ago. We believe it was originally published in a 1986 edition of The Writer magazine and republished in the 1988 edition of The Writer’s Handbook. We reproduce it here for educational purposes only. 

I. The First Introduction

THAT’S RIGHT. I know it sounds like an ad for some sleazy writers’ school, but I really am going to tell you everything you need to pursue a successful and financially rewarding career writing fiction, and I really am going to do it in ten minutes, which is exactly how long it took me to learn. It will actually take you twenty minutes or so to read this essay, however, because I have to tell you a story, and then I have to write a second introduction. But these, I argue, should not count in the ten minutes.

II. The Story, or, How Stephen King Learned to Write

When I was a sophomore in high school, I did a sophomoric thing which got me in a pot of fairly hot water, as sophomoric didoes often do. I wrote and published a small satiric newspaper called The Village Vomit. In this little paper I lampooned a number of teachers at Lisbon (Maine) High School, where I was under instruction. These were not very gentle lampoons; they ranged from the scatological to the downright cruel.

Eventually, a copy of this little newspaper found its way into the hands of a faculty member, and since I had been unwise enough to put my name on it (a fault, some critics argue, of which I have still not been entirely cured), I was brought into the office. The sophisticated satirist had by that time reverted to what he really was: a fourteen-year-old kid who was shaking in his boots and wondering if he was going to get a suspension … what we called “a three-day vacation” in those dim days of 1964.

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Polish Your Prose: An Editorial Cheat Sheet

A guest post by literary agent Nephele Tempest.

No matter your resolutions for the year, regardless where you stand with your current writing project, the time will come when you need to edit. I don’t mean rework your plot, heighten dramatic tension, or beef up your protagonist’s motivations. Rather I’m referring to that nitty gritty editorial process of looking at your work word by word, sentence by sentence, and examining the language you’ve used. Do your descriptions dance on the page? Have any clichés snuck into the mix? If you had to read aloud in front of an audience, would you find yourself running out of breath?

Sentence-level editing involves more than checking for missing words or making sure your Find-and-Replace changed a character’s name all the way through your manuscript. This is your chance to shape up your prose and show your skills, not just as a storyteller but as a wordsmith. But a manuscript can be a fairly long document, and sometimes it’s hard to remember everything you want to check as you work your way through from first page to last.

Here’s a handy cheat sheet of things you might want to keep in mind while editing:

  1. Cut your adverbs and make your verbs stronger.
  2. Rework any clichés.
  3. Eliminate filler words and phrases, such as “currently”, “that”, and “in order to.”
  4. Refer to people as “who” not “that.”
  5. Cut repetitious words and/or phrases.
  6. Divide long, hard-to-read sentences into two or more shorter sentences.
  7. Fix any inadvertent double negatives in long, complex sentences.
  8. Hyphenate modifying words.
  9. Minimize use of “very” and “really.”
  10. Beware of overusing passive voice/passive verb structures (is/was/-ing verbs).
  11. Double check the definitions of any words you’re not 100% sure you know.
  12. Determine and weed out any words, actions, or punctuation that you personally overuse as filler, such as characters smiling or taking deep breaths, ellipses in the middle or end of dialogue, exclamation points, etc.
  13. Replace general words with specific ones, such as “thing(s)” or “stuff.”
  14. Cut unnecessary chit-chat from dialogue; limit conversations to substance that moves your story forward.
  15. Limit distinctive dialogue quirks or movements to a single character; don’t give “signature” details to more than one person unless there’s a reason (child emulating a parent or older sibling, etc.).

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Writers – Have You Considered Sending Your Work Overseas?

In this guest post Tania Hershman, co-author of Writing Short Stories: A Writers’ and Artists’ Companion, explains why writers should look beyond their own backyards when considering where to submit their work.

I set up ShortStops in November 2013 because the short story has a bit of an image problem around here, here being the UK & Ireland. The thing is, there is so much fantastic short story activity – but the other thing is, no-one knows about it. There was no one place where we could all jump up and down and celebrate! I was hoping someone else might do this first (since I should really be focussing on my own writing, sigh) but seemed as though it wasn’t going to happen and so ShortStops was born.

It emerged from a list I’d been keeping for several years on my blog of literary magazines in the UK & Ireland that publish short stories. I started the list just for me and it has grown and grown and generated so much interest, I thought it deserved a site of its own, where each lit mag has its own page and can publish blog posts with calls for submissions, announcements of new issues etc… The second exciting strand is the live lit events, which for me are injecting new life into short stories – writers or actors reading, audiences loving being read to! So we have listings of those events too, each has its own page and organisers put up news on the blog. As well as these two, there is an ever-growing list of UK & Irish short story collection authors, and I hope to be adding info on publishers, writing workshops and more.

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