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Writers describe their planning process (or lack thereof) in all kinds of ways. Plotters! Pantsers! Plantsers! Architects! Gardeners! Drum Plotters!

Wait, no, that last one is a piece of graphics equipment.

I am not going to discuss all the different approaches, but this one secret is for all the kinds of writers who plot. Ready for it? Here goes.

You. Can. Change. Your. Mind.

Changing your mind can even be part of your process! It doesn’t mean your process is broken. Maybe you need something to write towards, but when you get there, you need to stop and think for a few days.

Imagine you’re following a treasure map to a walled city. When you finally reach it and climb that wall, you see that there’s a lot of city inside and you’re not exactly sure where the treasure is. And you also see a couple of pyramids in the distance, which look like they might have some treasures you never even guessed existed. Maybe while you were following the treasure map, you picked up some traveling companions. Now you need to consider their goals and skills too. Your treasure map didn’t fail; you’ve advanced to the next stage.

I call this the Replot Point, and I hit it about 3/4ths of the way through every writing project of sufficient length and density. Then it’s time for me to stop and think and scribble connections in my writing notebook. My subconscious has been leaving me breadcrumbs and making promises to my readers all the way along. It’s my job to follow those breadcrumbs and fulfill those promises, while getting from where I am to where I want to be. I plot from both ends to the middle. I make lists of all kinds of possible connections and outcomes. I think really hard about all of my characters’ goals and drives. I think about the emotional effect I want to produce in the reader.

And then I make a really detailed plot for the last quarter of the story. Did I change my mind about my initial plot for this part of the story? Maybe. Did I go from a big picture map to a city street map? Absolutely. Is there treasure at the end?

Well, that’s for the readers to decide.

What I’ve been up to lately, writing-wise:

I have created a detailed plot for the last 1/4 of my Altered Carbon meets The Expanse, as written by T Kingfisher* space opera/SF horror work-in-progress, and I am chugging along on it happily.

* Obvs, my pitch still needs a hell of a lot of work. But that’s a job for Future Abra.

Things Shiny or Useful

Archive of all shiny or useful links:

Estate Planning Tips for Authors (video):

SFWA Members Weigh in on AI & Machine Learning Applications & Considerations:

Upcoming Virtual Conventions/Workshops

(Any registration fees are noted.)

Flights of Foundry (highly recommended! – ASW), April 14-16, 2023:

The Nebula Conference, May 12-14, 2023 ($150). Purchasing a membership also gets access to recorded panels and year-round special events:

The Orange County Library System has many upcoming, free virtual writing talks:

Featured Market

Deathcap & Hemlock wants dark speculative flash fiction written in recipe format, pays $10.

What are we looking for?: Recipes that hint at a deeper narrative without violating the recipe structure will catch our eye. We are looking for short pieces, formatted like actual recipes (ingredients list, steps, measurements (metric, imperial; weight or volume—you decide!)). A short introductory paragraph to the recipe is okay, but optional.

Themes that are likely to mean you have a lot of competition in the slush include: revenge poisonings, transformation magic (eat something and it turns you into x), unwitting cannibalism.

We are not looking for stories about food or prose descriptions of how to make something. We are also not looking for anything that threatens actual people or real recipes for a poison that could be followed by readers. This is not a how-to site: we want speculative elements, we want recipes that ignite imagination (not felonies). Think outside the box of cereal killers.

Deathcap & Hemlock

Basics: dark speculative flash fiction, up to 1,000 words, pays $10, no reprints, due 3/31/23. Guidelines:

Market List Updates

Click below to see all the details about these new listings and what they're looking for. For hundreds of other listings, go to Aswiebe's Market List and download the latest version of the spreadsheet. Note: going forward, limited demographic market listings will be italicized.
NameWhat they wantFSFH/DFPay Per Word USD (originals)Flat Pay USD (originals)WebsiteNotes
Clarkesworld MagazineSF and fantasy, likes languageYYN$0.120 fast response time!
khoréoFantasy, SF, and horror themed to stories of immigration and diaspora. Limited demographic: diaspora authorsYYY$0.100 SUBMISSION PERIODS: 1/1-1/31, 4/1-4/30 (ONE-TIME 2023 THEME: flash fiction 1,500 words or fewer), 7/1-7/30, 10/1-10/31
Little Blue MarbleSF fiction and poetry themed to climate change, especially hopefulNYN$0.086 material up to 2,000 words, reprints up to 5,000 words. ONE-TIME SUBMISSION PERIOD: open until Summer 2023.
Pseudopod (Podcast)Horror and dark fantasyNNY$0.080 Escape Artists publication. ONE-TIME SUBMISSION PERIODS: 4/1/23-7/31/23 2023 anthologies and collections, 8/11/23-8/21/23 general submissions, closed 8/22/23-7/31/24
Orion's BeltLiterary speculative flash fiction and poetryYYY$0.080 SUBMISSION PERIOD opens 3/1/23 through 9/1/23 (historically open Mar-Aug)
MetastellarFantasy, SF, and horror flash fictionYYY$0.080 all submission windows are paid. ONE-TIME PAID SUBMISSION PERIOD: 3/1/23-3/31/23
CatsCast (Escape Artists) PODCAST Speculative fiction themed to catsYYY$0.080 ONE-TIME SUBMISSION PERIOD: 3/11/23 – 3/19/23
Vastarien (Grim Scribe Press)Literary horror and dark surrealismNNY$0.050 ONE-TIME SUBMISSION PERIODS: March 2023 women authors, June 2023 general submissions open
Dread Space Vol. 2 (Shacklebound Books) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 3/31/23Dark SF and SF horror, themed to military/paramilitary charactersNYY$0.020
Horror Story MagazineHorror fiction and poetryNNY$0.020
Space Westerns MagazineSF/fantasy/horror themed to space westerns, steampunk westerns, and weird westernsYYY$0.020 Also accepts serial fiction with wordcount and pay limits applying per episode.
Haven SpeculativeAll speculative fiction and poetry, esp. climate themedYYY$0.010 WINDOWS: General submissions Feb, Apr, Jun, Aug, Oct, and Dec. Limited demographic Jan, Mar, May, Jul, Sept, and Nov. ANNUAL THEMED ISSUES: Wet (water-themed climate fiction) and Dry (desertification climate fiction)
Last Girls ClubHorror and dark SF/Fantasy from the female perspective, themedNNY$0.010 PERIODS (may close early if submission quota is reached): 1/1 - 2/1, 4/1 - 5/1, 7/1 - 8/1, 10/1 - 11/1
Dead Letters: Episodes of Epistolary Horror (Crystal Lake Publishing) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 4/1/23-6/1/23Epistolary horrorNNY$0.010
PropaguleAll genres, experimentalYYY$0.005
Imagine 2200 (Grist) ANNUAL CONTEST – DUE 6/13 Solarpunk and optimistic climate fictionNYN
If There's Anyone Left 2023 Microfiction Contest ONE-TIME CONTEST – DUE 4/15/23Speculative fiction. Limited demographic: marginalized authorsYYY
All Women Are Werewolves (Erro Press) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 4/14/23Fabulist and literary fiction, mythic etc. themed to transformative womanhood. Limited author demographic: women (inclusive)YYY
word west revueWestern-themed fiction and poetry, including weird western and weird AmericanaYYY
$100.00 PERIODS: 9/15-11/15, 3/15-6/15
Short Story SubstackAll genresYYY
$100.00 SUBMISSION PERIOD: 4/1/23 – 4/30/23
Nemesis (Wicked Taxidermy Press) ONE-TIME CONTEST – DUE ??Speculative fiction, themed to enemies-to-lovers/friendsYYN
Flash Fiction OnlineAll genres, including SF/F/H and literaryYYY
$80.00 Submission period: 1st to 21st monthly, closed December. They do accept reprints during certain submission periods.
Fairy Tale ReviewFairy tale poetry and proseYNY
$50.00 ONE-TIME SUBMISSION PERIOD: 3/8/23 – 7/15/23
Mirrors Reflecting Shadows (A Thin Slice of Anxiety) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 4/15/23All genres, incl. speculative fiction, horror, etc.YYY
$40.00 Charity anthology – proceeds go to the Trevor Project
Campfire Stories (Hollow Oak Press) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 3/31/23Spooky campfire horrorNNY
Bullet PointsMilitary speculative fictionYYY
$30.00 Original fiction < 5,000 words, reprints variable.
No Lives Left (Splatter Ink Publishing) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 4/1/23Horror themed to video gamesNNY
Solarpunk Magazine Micro Fiction Contest - MONTHLY CONTESTSolarpunk with a monthly themeNYN
$25.00 ONE-TIME 2023 SUBMISSION PERIODS: 5/14-5/21, 8/14-8/21, 11/14-11/21
Planisphere QuarterlyAll genres, themedYYY
$25.00 ONE-TIME THEMED SUBMISSION PERIODS: 3/15/23-4/30/23 speculative fiction, 6/15/23-7/31/23 metamorphosis, 9/1/23-9/30/23 hauntings
Bathroom Horror Anthology (Voices From the Mausoleum) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 4/3/23Horror set in a bathroomNNY
Crawling (Hear Us Scream) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 3/31/23Horror themed to sub-dermal body horrorNNY
Penumbric Speculative Fiction MagSpeculative fiction and poetryYYY
Deathcap & HemlockThemed to dark fiction in recipe formatNNY
$10.00 ONE-TIME SUBMISSION PERIOD: 3/15/23 – 3/31/23
Drop, TheDark fantasy and dark SF flash fictionYYY
$10.00 NOTE: accepted submissions are also publicly critiqued. ONE-TIME SUBMISSION WINDOW: 3/1/23 – 3/31/23
Luna Station QuarterlyFantasy, science fiction, creepy horror by women-identified writers onlyYYN
$5.00 periods: Sept 15 - Nov 15, Dec 15 - Feb 15, Mar 15 - May 15, June 15 - Aug 15
Space SquidFunny SF humor, weird, bizarro, fantasy, etc.YYY
Full Moon Chronicles (Howling Wolf Press) – DEAD MARKETSpeculative fiction, flash fiction, and poetryNNN
$10.00 INDEFINITE HIATUS due to hurricane
Olde Wolf MONTHLY CONTEST – DEAD MARKETAll genres, themed contestsNNN
Mythic Magazine – DEAD MARKETSF/FNNN$0.010

Keep writing, keep submitting, and good luck!

Abra Staffin-Wiebe, Keeper of Lists
Aswiebe’s Market List
Abra Staffin-Wiebe’s Author Website

Feel free to share this blog post/newsletter with others by whatever means you like, as long as you include all of it. 

The next update of Aswiebe's Market List will be after 04/15/2023. If you don’t want to miss an update, subscribe to the Aswiebe’s Market List newsletter: