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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Productive Procrastination with Flash Fiction

“I’m on deadline, so my house has never been cleaner.” I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard some version of that from my writer friends. It’s never worked for me, alas. My brain does not accept cleaning as a procrastination method from writing deadlines. However, it turns out that the reverse might be true!

This month, I was doing a cleaning and organizing challenge*. So naturally, my brain decided that I should be doing some writing instead. But not Big Writing, like working on my book. No, that would be too obviously not what I was supposed to be doing. But how about something smol and quick, with a deadline that meant I should obviously do it sooner rather than later?

That is how I ended up taking my daily quick freewriting exercise and tweaking it to fit a monthly flash fiction contest’s theme.

* Necessitated by the accumulating detritus that began when I participated in NaNoWriMo’s monthlong writing challenge right before the pandemic hit, and snowballed when … yeah. All that came with it.

Takeaway 1: Seriously, if you’re not a super-speedy writer and you’re planning on NaNoWriMoing this November, have prep plans and recovery plans for everything non-writing-related! Bonus points for actually writing your plans down in advance.

Takeaway 2: Don’t have time for a “serious” writing project? Not sure what you want to write next? Try something small and fun, like one of these monthly themed flash fiction contests. As always for publishers included in Aswiebe’s Market List, none of these charge fees and they all pay (a little–flash fiction is not usually highly remunerative!):

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

DreamHaven storefront in the Standish neighborhood
DreamHaven storefront in the Standish neighborhood, by Elcief (CC BY-SA 4.0)

If you’re in the Twin Cities area, I have a reading coming up in October at Dreamhaven!

On Wednesday, October 4, ABRA STAFFIN-WIEBE reads and holds a reception as part of the Speculations Reading Series, from 6:30-7:45 p.m. Abra Staffin-Wiebe is a science fiction author who loves futuristic fairy tales, cheerful horror, and dark science fiction. Dozens of her stories have appeared at award-winning publications including Tor.com, Escape Pod, and Fireside Magazine.

Bring a friend! There will be cookies and soda as well as giveaways during the reading. Afterwards, we usually adjourn to Parkway Pizza for some social time.

Things Shiny or Useful

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

Lucy Worsley’s 9 “Christie Tricks” for Mystery Writers: https://careerauthors.com/christie-tips-on-mystery-writing/

Hook Your Genre Readers on Page One: https://careerauthors.com/writing-for-genre/

5 Ways To Use Short Stories To Grow as a Writer: https://www.writersdigest.com/write-better-fiction/5-ways-to-use-short-stories-to-grow-as-a-writer

Publishing Contracts 101: Beware Internal Contradictions: https://writerbeware.blog/2022/06/10/publishing-contracts-101-beware-internal-contradictions/

How to Prevent AI Bots from Scraping Your Website: https://www.jonathancrowe.net/2023/09/how-to-prevent-ai-bots-from-scraping-your-website/

10 Tips for Building a Realistic and Vibrant Fictional World: https://www.writersdigest.com/write-better-fiction/10-tips-for-building-a-realistic-and-vibrant-fictional-world

Overdrive and Libraries: Everything You Wanted to Know: https://ilona-andrews.com/blog/overdrive-and-libraries-everything-you-wanted-to-know/

Featured Market

Tales & Feathers Magazine (Augur) will be opening soon for cozy fantasy submissions!

Our ideal submissions look like this:

  • Quiet character-driven storytelling
  • Gentle moments
  • Rich fantastical worldbuilding
  • Everyday moments
  • Stories that take place before or between or after the epic conflicts
  • Stories that offer warmth, comfort, and possibility

We welcome stories written in any fantasy genre or genres, including stories that blur genre lines. We are especially interested in high fantasy, fairy tales, and myth.

We also welcome stories that have been translated into English and stories that engage with non-Western fantasy genre traditions.Tales & Feathers

Basics: cozy fantasy, 1,000 – 2,500 words, CA$.11/word, no reprints. Submission periods: 10/1/23-10/21/23 BIPOC, trans, or disabled writers; 10/8/23-10/21/23 general submissions.

Guidelines: https://www.augurmag.com/submissions/

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 updated New Markets page

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 10/15/2023. 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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