We’re days away from the official start of spring; it’s hard to believe winter has come and gone!
On that note, two classes remain for those taking the current session of Basic Elements of Creative Fiction Writing. During the previous class, we began the workshop portion of the course, which students really enjoy and find fruitful. It’s great to see and hear the students apply lessons learned to their own writing and to their peers’ submissions. The last two classes will feature more workshop, review, and a brief talk about publishing.
Many students who take my classes are interested in learning more about publishing. Specifically, students want to know where to look for publishing opportunities. First and foremost, I always stress the importance of revising a manuscript until one feels it’s polished…and then revising it more. Jorge Luis Borges‘ father may have said it best when he advised his son “…to write a lot, to discard a lot, and not to rush into print.”
The publishing world has changed a lot in recent years, and the industry continues to evolve. During the final class of Basic Elements of Creative Fiction Writing, I will introduce students to the Duotrope website (which I briefly discussed in an earlier post). Duotrope is a great resource, and I recommend it as a place for writers to begin their search for the right place for their work. I cannot stress this last point enough – “the right place for their work.” Eagerness to send a manuscript to publishers, combined with a failure to research those publishers, results in rejection emails and letters. A publisher’s admonition to “read samples of what we publish” – generally found on a publisher’s “submission” page – should be taken seriously if one wants to avoid needless dejection. Furthermore, beyond finding a possible venue for publication, one has the opportunity to read great fiction, non-fiction, and poetry that would have otherwise gone undiscovered.
For instance, have you heard of Carve Magazine? Duotrope recently featured Carve Magazine as its Market of the Day. Named in honor of the great short story writer, Raymond Carver, the magazine publishes strong works of literary fiction. Alongside its ongoing request for submissions, in just a few days, the magazine will begin accepting submissions for its 2016 Raymond Carver Short Story Contest.
Now, we live in a competitive world, and this certainly includes the realm of writing and publishing. You may edit your manuscript to death, research various publishers, and still receive a “thanks but no thanks” reply. However, don’t let this discourage you; it’s simply part of the process. Revise and workshop your manuscript with others, research publishers, but, most importantly, look for joy in the initial act of creation, like we did naturally, as children, for it’s here that you’ll find much fulfillment.