B.I.G. Goals, a Weird Fiction Submission Call, and More

The beginning of the year is a time for dreaming big. So–dream big! Forget about S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound). Forget about small daily wordcounts, and incremental improvements. Make some B.I.G. goals: Beautiful, Inspirational, Grandiose.

Now lean back in your chair, or wherever you’re reading this newsletter, close your eyes, and take two minutes to imagine these things happening for you. Imagine getting that agent phone call. Imagine seeing your name on the cover of that magazine. Imagine getting that glowing review. Imagine being asked to give a reading at your favorite bookstore–or heck, your favorite university or big tech company.

If you didn’t close your eyes and actually daydream, do that now. This newsletter will still be here when you open your eyes. Set a 2-minute timer on your phone if you have to give yourself permission.

Okay. You’ve daydreamt. You can imagine it vividly. Now write this big, ridiculously huge goal down. Or make a vision board collage, if that feels more natural to you. Either way, put this goal reminder in someplace that you will see daily.

No, really. Take a couple of minutes and do it right now, even if it feels silly. There’s actual science behind that.  If you put your goals where you see them often, you’re more likely to be guided by them when making choices. Get your subconscious working for you!

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

I encountered the first trigger for my “make a fun one” writing resolution! I did not expect to find a flash fiction call in 4theWords, but there it was.

… And of course, my attempt to write a flash piece under 1,000 words resulted in a 1,900+ word short story. It still counts! It was in response to a flash fiction call, I wrote it in a short period of time, and most importantly, I had a lot of fun writing it. Even better, the contest also has a short story category, so I can still submit it. I’m delighted with the charming fantasy that resulted. If you’re a 4theWords member, you can read “My Familiar (Didn’t) Eat My Homework” here: https://app.4thewords.com/community/reading/book/abrasw/my-familiar-didnt-eat-my-homework-1

Save the date! In other news for Minnesota locals, my Dreamhaven reading has been rescheduled to March 20, 2024, at 6:30pm. More details closer to the reading.


Things Shiny or Useful

Archive of all shiny or useful links: https://aswiebe.com/marketlist/shiny-or-useful-writing-links/

All the Types of Science Fiction: https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/all-the-types-of-science-fiction

10 Tips For Applying to Writing Residencies: https://electricliterature.com/10-tips-for-applying-to-writing-residencies/

Fanfiction Authors: HEADS UP: https://www.tumblr.com/mckitterick/740279699840876545

Tools for Thinking About Censorship: https://www.exurbe.com/tools-for-thinking-about-censorship/

Another Word: Chasing the High: https://clarkesworldmagazine.com/another_word_06_14/

Mastering Beats and Tags to Improve Your Dialogue: https://careerauthors.com/mastering-beats-and-tags-to-improve-your-dialogue/

How to Spot a Fake Literary Agency: https://writerbeware.blog/2023/12/15/how-to-spot-a-fake-literary-agency/

Peak Fake: A Scam Website Impersonating Macmillan Publishers: https://writerbeware.blog/2024/01/19/peak-fake-a-scam-website-impersonating-macmillan-publishers/

DIMENSIONS OF WONDER: George Saunders in a Haunted Mansion with Chocolate Mint (pantsing a plot): https://locusmag.com/2023/11/dimensions-of-wonder-george-saunders-in-a-haunted-mansion-with-chocolate-mint-by-eugenia-triantafyllou/

Featured Market

The Silence (ed. Dave Brzeski) anthology wants themed weird fiction, due 3/31/24.

For this project, it is essential that you read or have already read all six of Algernon Blackwood’s John Silence stories from 1908. Five of these were published in John Silence, Physician Extraordinary, and are available to read or download free through Project Gutenberg: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/49222

… Stories should have all the following elements:

  1. John Silence as a key element. In keeping with the original stories, Silence does not have to be the main protagonist throughout. He may, for example, be the authority of last resort, the deus ex machina who saves the day, the instigator of events, etc. Removal of Silence from the story, on the other hand, should significantly detract from it.
  2. Silence as the canonical psychic doctor in the style that Blackwood envisaged, with the same general nature and modus operandi. Writers are welcome to add to aspects of the character (within sensible limits) but should not deduct from his already stated characteristics.
  3. Setting, societal and technological aspects in keeping with the Edwardian period, or any reasonable period up to the late nineteen thirties, remembering that Silence would be getting on a bit by then.
  4. A decided psychic, paranormal, supernatural or occult problem. Unusual psychological problems or issues may also qualify. Stories about general monster hunting and classic monsters are unlikely to be chosen, unless their approach is particularly innovative and relates to Silence’s established range of activities.

Basics: themed weird fiction, 6,000 word minimum, no reprints, pays $150. Submissions due: 3/31/24.

Guidelines: https://horrortree.com/taking-submissions-silence/

Market List Updates

To see all the details about these new listings and what they’re looking for, go to https://aswiebe.com/marketlist/new/. For all the hundreds of listings, go to Aswiebe’s Market List and download the latest version of the spreadsheet, or view it online at https://aswiebe.com/marketlist/marketlistonline/. Best read on a bigger screen!

Screenshot of updates from January

Click to see details of the latest updates!

Keep writing, keep submitting, and good luck!

Abra Staffin-Wiebe, Keeper of Lists 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 2/15/2024. If you don’t want to miss an update, subscribe to the Aswiebe’s Market List newsletter: https://aswiebe.com/marketlist/subscribe-to-market-list/

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New Year’s Resolutions: Make A Fun One!

‘Tis the season to talk about New Year’s resolutions, and SMART goal setting (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound). But that’s not all it has to be.

I was thinking about this because of the Pasta Quest / Fruit Adventures meme that is going around. The gist of it is that resolutions can be fun, like eating as many different pasta shapes in a year as possible, or eating and learning about a new fruit every time you see one.

Of course we want our readers to have fun when they’re reading our stories. If they don’t have some kind of enjoyment from reading it, they’re not likely to come back for more! But often writers focus on hard numbers when they’re coming up with their goals for the new year: this many words written; this many stories submitted; this many hours of butt-in-chair, fingers-on-keyboard; or this many words written every day, no matter if you’re sick or busy or not feeling it.

These goals have a purpose and a place. But they don’t sound all that fun, do they?

So this year, think about adding a fun one to your New Year’s writing resolutions. What is especially fun for you about writing? What is silly? What is play? What writing-related thing will you have fun doing even if the result never sees the light of day?

A few ideas:
* When you introduce a new character, as a writing exercise, write a scene of them eating a meal. Just for fun, not as part of the story.
* Take a class about something that interests you. Make that part of your next main character.
* Make a sketch of every new character. Stick figures are A-OK.
* Build new fantasy/science fiction worlds based on the history, culture, or geography of every continent on Earth.
* Create a new language, and use it in a story.
* Rewrite the ending of someone else’s story that you didn’t like.
* Every time you read a book or story that you really, really love, write down 3 things the author did that you really liked–tropes, a twist ending, a type of character, a detailed description of a particular type of thing–and pick one of them to try and do, in your own way, in your next story.
* Make a list of new places that you will write next year. Art museums, coffee shops, parks, cafes, libraries. Check them off the list when you’ve tried them.
* Mimic a different style of writing each month of the year.
* Freewrite for 5 minutes every day, based on Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day: https://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day

Let me know if you come up with another fun one! I’d love to make a list.

My fun one for this New Year’s writing resolutions is flash fiction. Every month, the first time (at least!) I see a submission call for flash fiction, I will write something for it. I won’t over-polish it. I’ll spend half an hour planning and brainstorming a story immediately after I see the submission guidelines. And after I’ve had a chance to sleep on it and let my subconscious do its thing, I’ll spend a solid hour writing on it.

2024 will be my year of flashing!

(But not the nekkid kind. LOL, I live in Minnesota–I would die.)

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

The never-ending ending of my WiP continues with the not ending!

Things Shiny or Useful

Archive of all shiny or useful links: https://aswiebe.com/marketlist/shiny-or-useful-writing-links/

What I Wish I’d Known Before Launching My Newsletter: https://inboxcollective.com/what-i-wish-id-known-before-launching-my-newsletter/

The Writer’s Guide to the Holidays: https://careerauthors.com/the-writers-guide-to-the-holidays/

Genre Grapevine on Machine Learning’s Problem with Bad Stories and Bad Intentions: https://www.patreon.com/posts/95493900

Working Out, Working In: Applying the Six Principles of Athletic Training to Writing and Creative Work: https://www.themarginalian.org/2023/12/17/exercise-writing/

Tenses, Distance, and Persons: https://ilona-andrews.com/blog/tenses-tightness-and-persons/

Featured Market

Psychopomp wants death-themed novellas, is open for submissions 1/1/24 – 4/30/24.

  • stories where grief or loss play a leading role
  • stories that feature the afterlife or the underworld
  • stories that involve the journey through death/the journey of the dead
  • stories that involve death personified (Death!)
  • stories that take place in, or utilize a multiverse
  • stories that involve time travel (esp. those that involve time travel + a previously mentioned theme)
  • origin stories (especially as they relate to previously mentioned themes)
  • stories where the characters slowly lose their sense of reality
  • goth
  • space, but make it goth
  • a story within a story within a (within a story that’s [within a story] within a story) story….
  • stories where things that are not usually personified ARE personified (planets? galaxies? time? …bones?)
  • creepy meta-horror
  • amazingly original ghost stories
Psychopomp

Basics: themed speculative fiction novellas, 20,000 – 40,000 words, no reprints, pays $750 + royalties. Submissions due: 1/1/24 – 4/30/24.

Guidelines: https://psychopomp.com/novella-guidelines/

Market List Updates

To see all the details about these new listings and what they're looking for, go to https://aswiebe.com/marketlist/new/.  For all the hundreds of listings, go to Aswiebe's Market List and download the latest version of the spreadsheet, or view it online at https://aswiebe.com/marketlist/marketlistonline/. Best read on a bigger screen!
Snapshot of latest updates

Click to see details of the latest updates!

Keep writing, keep submitting, and good luck!

Abra Staffin-Wiebe, Keeper of Lists

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