Welcome to WordCrazyAuthors

Your WordCrazy hostesses, Michelle O'Leary and AJ Caywood, welcome you to their blog about writing and hope you enjoy the mind-bending mania. Feel free to join in with your own brand of insanity...crazy loves company.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Turkey Day & Black Friday

(For those who celebrate Thanksgiving and Shopping)

Thanksgiving has become one of my favorite holidays. During my childhood, it was basically torture, lots of boredom and uncomfortable family interactions. But now that I'm an adult, and we do Thanksgiving with less pomp and more fun (the difficult family members do not attend), I really love this holiday. We laugh, we play, and we pig OUT.

Juicy and delicious organic turkey, yummy stuffing, sweet potato casserole, garlic mashed potatoes, and a killer spinach salad (so we can pretend we're being healthy.) And of course, pumpkin pie. I threatened to throw up several times, yet didn't stop eating. What a hog-a-thon! Add in goofy family, Wii and board games, hockey, football, and you've got a recipe for a fabulous family get-together.

Which brings us to the day after, Black Friday. The stores open early and close late, sales abound, and people go a little insane. Will I be shopping today? Over your dead and rotting corpse!! Shopping and I don't get along under the best of circumstances, let alone the craziness of the biggest shopping day of the year. No, thank you. I'll just stay home and eat turkey sandwiches. (Yeah, baby!)
Happy Holidays to all!
Peace and love,

Monday, November 16, 2009

Helpful Writing Links

Completing a novel can be daunting enough, and then comes the task of submissions, markets, rights, editors, agents, and a plethora of other issues that follow. Learning the business side of writing is the next step that must be taken. It can be a jungle out there when first starting out, and a lot of time can be used in the research that needs to be done. Below is a list of places that can answer some of those writing questions and hopefully cut down on time consuming searches. Some of the listings are free to use while others charge a fee. Each of these listings are legitimate and helpful.

AAR - The AAR was formed in 1991 through the merger of the Society of Authors' Representatives (founded in 1928) and the Independent Literary Agents Association (founded in 1977). To qualify for membership in the AAR, an agent must meet professional standards specified in the organization's bylaws and agree to subscribe to its Canon of Ethics.

Copyright - An author's work is under copyright the moment it is created and fixed in tangible form. Some confusion arises over copyright registration. You do not have to pay for a copyright, only if you register your copyright with the US Copyright office. Registering a copyright allows the author to sue for infringement of their work. For much more information on copyrights, visit the U.S. Copyright Office

Duotrope Digest - A free database of over 2700 current markets for short fiction and poetry. Use this page to search for markets that may make a fine home for the piece you just polished.
Duotrope Digest

Miss Snark's Blog - Miss Snark is a legit Literary Agent that blogged for a while. Although she no longer adds to her blog, the information she has listed there is priceless. Got an agent question? She's probably answered it, with spice.
Miss Snark

Preditors & Editors - A free guide to publishers and writing services for serious writers. P&E is chock-full of information on all aspects of writing and they list scams and places to avoid.
Preditors & Editors

Publishers Weekly - The International Voice for Book Publishing and Bookselling. THE place to find publishing news.
Publishers Weekly

SFWA - Widely recognized as one of the most effective non-profit writers' organizations in existence.

Writers Market Online - Where and how to sell what you write. More than 8,000 listings including: fiction, nonfiction, children, scriptwriting, poetry, publishers, literary agents, magazines, and contests.
Writers Market Online

Monday, November 2, 2009

Short Story Writing

Early in my writing life, and after my first novel was published, I felt certain I would never be able to write a decent short story. For a few years, I didn’t even attempt one because I couldn’t see how I could cut back on my word count to create a good story. Today I have seven short stories published along with two magazine articles. I look back on how I used to think about shorts and wonder what in the world was going on in my head. I think mostly it was fear. How did I get over that fear to move on to short story writing? I didn’t force myself into writing one just to do it because I knew there would be no creativity there, and no passion. I began to read a lot of short stories, paying close attention to their structure and pacing. It was the key to allow myself to let go of that fear, let my creative mind wander in that direction, dreaming up a multitude of ideas.

Typically, short stories focus on a single incident, have fewer characters, and cover a brief period in time. It’s a story that can be read in one sitting while snuggled in an easy chair with a favorite beverage. Edgar Allen Poe was a master of the short story, and Kurt Vonnegut, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Ernest Hemingway were highly accomplished in the form of short story writing. When those half-hour radio shows were popular, it was the short story that brought them to life for that audio world. The legendary Fables (or Parables) can’t be left out; these shorts have been used through the span of time to enlighten and entertain readers, their messages staying with us forever. There was Aesop, Geoffrey Chaucer, The Brothers Grimm—familiar names that stir emotions within as we remember their stories.

On the publishing side of the short story market, it does seem to have dwindled over the years. Stephen King wrote about this in an article a couple of years back (SK Article). But as he also said, there are those that are still passionate about the short story whether writing them or reading them. We need to keep that passion alive. The magazine market and anthologies are the best places to submit, and many established authors put together their own book of shorts. Word counts for short stories can vary a lot! I’ve seen 20,000 words or less, and almost always at least 2,000 words. Always check the writing guidelines before submitting. A great place online to check for short story markets is Duotrope Digest.

Short story writing is an art that is well documented throughout our literary history. Let’s continue to buy, read and write them. In a world where so many of us have limited time for anything past work or parenting, let’s take a few minutes to grab a pad and pencil, a magazine or an anthology and get lost in another time and place. It’s amazing how that little trip can refresh the soul.

My Best to All,

AJ Caywood