art / novel / writing

Breaking Stories

I’ve taken one novel I thought I’d finished, Drowning Karma, and cut away 50,000 words. The words leftover I’ve broken into short stories. Well, I’ve broken them. Whether they’re short stories yet is another matter. The process was painful and liberating. I looked at some comments I’d gotten on the novel (thanks again, readers!) and realized I wasn’t up to repairing the entire thing. So, the novel will become short stories even though I’ve heard that agents don’t want short story collections. No matter. I’ve discovered this new (to me) site that is going to help me make sense of all these literary journals.

One problem I’ve had is making sense of all the literary journals out there. In the bookstore and online, I find the lists of journals overwhelming. Where to send anything? They all seem impossible. But this Duotrope site offers relief. At least now I have a starting point. No more excuses. By the end of the summer I’ll have stories sent out. Right?

My reasons for being stuck are so lame and tiresome. How do you decide where to send anything? How do you keep from being overwhelmed by the choices? What literary journals are you favorites and what do you recommend?

12 thoughts on “Breaking Stories

  1. I’ve been using Duotrope for years and just assumed everybody knew about it. Not that it’s helped me sell anything, but it has helped me submit. Glad you’ve found it!

    • I’ve seen the name around, but didn’t know what it was until a friend showed it to me yesterday. It may not help sell anything, but if anything helps me submit things, then I’m better off than before.

  2. Duotrope’s awesome. It’s a nice way to filter and figure out where you’re going to send things.

    I’ve submitted only one story, and it got rejected. I cannot offer anything insightful on this matter. At all.

  3. I added Duotrope (and another site, Bookfox’s list of lit journals) to the “Writers’ Biz Resources” section of my blogroll months ago. And promptly forgot about both. So, thanks for the reminder. A fallow creative period like the one I’m currently in — note delicate euphemism — is probably exactly the right time to work on marketing and the other “business of writing.”

    You said that you cut 50K words, and what was left you snipped into separate stories. What happened to those 50K words? Are they still the core of a novel-to-be?

    • Yeah, I’ve seen the link, but didn’t know anything about it and didn’t investigate. Glad if I reminded you of it. It looks useful. And yes, get on with the business of writing if you can’t get elsewhere.

      Oh, those cut 50k words are in a file that I’ll probably never open again. It is the CUTS file, and the CUTS file is a step above the trash.

  4. I have heard only good things about Duotrope. I went there once a few years ago and felt totally overwhelmed, and actually thankful I wasn’t a writer, lol. I may need to re-investigate it though to help Darc when he’s ready for submissions.

    • Golly, I missed these last few comments. Duotrope seems overwhelming, but getting all that info together on my own would be worse.

      Darc is lucky to have you! (Though you know that already.)

    • Squirrel,
      I missed this comment when you left it. But I’m going to take a look at this resource–though I’m not sure I have anything ready to actually submit. Always the way.

      And I hope your submission process is going well…?

  5. I usually choose literary magazines to submit to at random from a Writer’s Market and filter down from there, but I’m always sure to go onto the magazine’s website (if they have one) and check some of their previously published material to see how good of a fit my style is. It’s a good way to double-check submissions guidelines and deadlines as well.

    I’m trying to subscribe to more of the small press stuff as well as I collect links to their websites and get to know their authors/editors, not only just to learn more about the subgenres, writers, etc…but also to support the same industries that I would one day like to make a decent living at.

    • Thank you for stopping by, Kelly. I use Writer’s Market too. Well, I have it. I haven’t been up for submitting like I should be. Subscribing is a great thing! Sometimes I subscribe or pick up literary journals when I can.

      Good luck with your writing!

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