Wednesday, January 4, 2017

IWSG: Lumps & All, Mni Wicon, Stats, Links

It's the first Wednesday of January, which means it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

The purpose of the IWSG is to talk about our doubts and insecurities, as well as to support each other. We post the first Wednesday of each month, and anyone is free to join. Go to the link above and enter your name on the linky, then jump in!

Our co-hosts this month are Eva @ Lillicasplace, Crystal Collier, Sheena-kay Graham,Chemist Ken, LG Keltner, and Heather Gardner! Be sure to drop by and say hi to them, and thank them for all their work.

This month's optional question is: What writing rule do you wish you'd never heard?

I can't list just one. My problem isn't with any one writing rule. However, when you attend workshops and conferences, read craft books and blogs, and otherwise study the craft of writing, it's easy to stagger under the inundation of rules. For me, I had to find a happy medium between learning to hone my craft and leaving myself free to write. Otherwise, I end up overthinking my writing, and I don't think that makes it stronger. Not for me. There are more introspective writers who gain something by over-analyzing their writing, perhaps, but I'm not one of them.

Writing is a creative pursuit. Like anything else, it has rules, but when creativity is the goal, I think it pays to break rules much of the time. Being a grammar nazi, there are rules I obviously think it pays to follow unless that inhibits the story, but the rules I'm talking about are those generalities that impact story lines and plots. I'm sure we'll see tons of those in posts today! For example, show, don't tell, can tie someone up mentally if they're focusing too much on that rule instead of their writing.

Having said this, I believe it still pays to learn from those who know more than we do, to attend workshops and the like, to continue honing our craft. It's just that I also believe it needs to be mitigated, and that we need to carefully riffle through the things we learn to pick out the gems, while discarding the aspects that won't help us, and being careful to use it as an aid, not as something that kills our creativity.


Before I get to this month's stats, I'd like to announce that the Mni Wicon Blogathon I posted about here has been extended, courtesy of the holidays! A lot of people were out for the month, so we've added a week. It will now be ending on the 7th of January. Full details can be found on my previous post, but here's a picture of one of the prize packs that will be issued to a random winner.

If you'd like to see examples of letters to the banks, Nicole has posted at The Madlab Post.

We'd love to see some folks letting the banks that bankroll corporate greed get an earful.


My stats for the month of December were as follows:

2 pieces published in magazines!
5 submissions
4 rejections
9 pieces currently on submission

I'll recap my stats for the year in a post next week.


Now for some links!

Bear in mind that I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Three Drops From a Cauldron is open for poetry and flash fiction submissions for A Face in the Mirror, A Hook on the Door. Urban legends and modern folklore. Pays in a percentage of profit. Deadline January 30.

Chicken Soup for the Soul is open for submissions with the themes Demons, Premonitions, & the Unexplainable; Stories About Cats; Stories About Dogs. Up to 1200 words. Pays $200. Deadline January 31.

Pen and Kink Publishing is open for submissions of vampire romance for Triskaidekaphilia Book #2 - Ravenous. 1000 to 15,000 words. Pays $10. Deadline January 31.

Martian Migraine Press is open for submissions of short stories dealing with possession, whatever your definition of that might be. 1500 to 7000 words. Pays $.03CAD/word. Deadline January 31.

Nashville Review is open for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Up to 8000 words. Pays $25/poem, $100/short piece. Deadline January 31.

Recompose is open for flash fiction and poetry. They want you to walk the line between literary and speculative fiction. Up to 1000 words. Pays $.06/word. Deadline January 31.

Kristell Ink is open for submissions of short speculative fiction for several anthologies: Infinite Dysmorphia, Terra Nullis, and Holding On By Our Fingertips. 6000 to 10,000 words. Pays 10. Deadline for all January 31.

The Cantabrigian is open for submissions of literary fiction. 800 to 8000 words. Paying market, but does not give specific payment amount. Deadline January 31.

Hyperion & Theia is open for submissions of fiction, poetry, and art. This year's theme is Saturnalia. They take poetry, short stories, novelettes, and novellas. Word count varies by type. Pays $.01/word. Deadline January 31.

Grivante Press is open for submissions of erotic horror. Up to 5000 words. Pays up to $30 depending upon length. Deadline January 31.

What are your insecurities? What writing rules do you hate? Will you be participating in the Mni Wicon Blogathon? Any of these links of interest? Anything to share? What did your December stats look like?

May you find your Muse.


  1. Very true. You need to find that happy medium between learning more craft and actually writing. I still find I struggle with that, thus the reason it's taken me four months to get through ACT I of my current MG. I'm glad you mentioned this today. I'll keep it in mind while I write later today. Hopefully I can move forward with the book. Wish me luck!

  2. Congrats on the two publications! And having nine pieces currently out on submission is great. Fingers crossed! :)

  3. Happy New Year and congratulations on getting two pieces published in magazines. Proud of you!
    I wish you an awesome 2017 and many acceptances for the stories you write.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat Garcia

  4. Learning the rules and breaking them for a reason is what writers must do. :)

    Congrats on your publications!!!

  5. Congrats on the published pieces. As far as the rules, it's good to have them as long as one realizes they are not rules but merely guidelines.

  6. Once writers start to learn the rules, they tend to drown in them, which scares them into writing nothing. There is a balance.

    2 pieces published - congrats!

  7. Trying to focus on all of the rules definitely kills creativity.
    Happy 2017!

  8. There are some rules I try to follow religiously, like where to put punctuation, but rules like show don't tell, never start a sentence with and or but, don't use fragments...well, those I bend a bit, for effect. Congrats on 2 more published :)

  9. I don't think there are many writing "rules" that anyone should be following. Grammar rules are not writing and should be followed in that they allow the writing to be understood. It's like speaking a common language. Beyond that, though, rules are mostly arbitrary and stupid.

  10. I agree, it's a balance at times between rules and the freedom to create. Bit it looks like it's been working well for you. Congrats on all those publications! :)

  11. Good Post Shannon. I agree!!!

    Wishing you all the best in 2017!!!!

  12. Congratulations on having two pieces published in magazines! Woot woot!

    I regard a number of writing rules as merely suggestions.

  13. Congrats on the two publications. Yay!! You are so inspiring with how productive you are with the submissions.
    This is a great thing you and Nicole are doing in regards to Standing Rock!

  14. I hear you on the overwhelming amount of writing info that's out there. Pick what works best for you. You might have to experiment before finding that sweet spot. When you do, you'll know it. Best wishes for a great 2017.

  15. So true. Rules are guidelines, to follow until you don't. Like road maps. You drive along the mapped roads until you get out of the car and walk on the grass away from the road. Unmapped and free.

  16. Hi Shannon - it seems so many of us agree ... find our own voice, make sure it's understandable to one and all - i.e. common grammar, lingo etc ... and let the good writing times roll - Happy New Year and enjoy 2017 - cheers Hilary

  17. See, I'm more of the "master one thing at a time" kind of people. I work on a rule until it feels natural, then move on to the next. The system seems to be working.

  18. Congrats and Happy 2017! I've mentioned the show don't tell rule as one rule. It really used to stump me in the beginning. But now, with show don't tell and other writing rules, I try to find a balance of the rule that works best for me.

  19. Happy New Year! I agree that focusing too much on the rules can inhibit the creative process. I over analyze everything! The last thing I need to do is focus too much on rules, at least while I'm writing a piece. The rules -and which ones you follow or break- can come during the editing.

  20. I'm always impressed with your stats. Congrats on your publications - great way to start off the New Year :-)

  21. Got to say your post for IWSG got me thinking about submissions and writing shorter stuff, as well as how to track a side of writing I rarely enter. So not only congrats on your progress this month, but also thank YOU for giving your readers so many goodies, actions to take, and possibilities to ponder! Make it a good month -- and Happy New Year.

  22. I loved your Jan. recap! That is some ambitious submission schedule. Good for you and cheering you on.

    It's always interesting how many opportunities writers have to submit for publication. These are great links. Thanks so much.

  23. I agree with you that we need to find a balance between the rules and our creativity. Our writing is personal, somewhat of an art and a craft (at least that is how I feel about memoir writing), it needs a particular voice that draws people in. Of course, when you write you care about not making mistakes, spelling or grammar-wise (I do hope an editor will help out with that in the end as well), but there needs to be room a personal touch. Thank you for the links! I might check the one of Chicken Soup for the Soul out. I have many adventurous dog stories! :-)

  24. Happy New Year! I agree, for me it's very important to find a happy medium where I just let myself write. It means I spend more time editing, but it helps me progress much faster. Thanks for the great topic.

  25. Congratulations on getting 2 publications and thanks for the links! I've been looking for a place to submit a short stroy of mine and may try one of your links. Diane Wolfe suggested I stop by and I'm glad she did. Anyway, Happy New year and all the best with everything. :)

  26. It reminds me a bit of the line, "Take my advice. I don't use it anyways." :) That's usually how I approach writing rules. Woot on the submission results. Hope those 9 come back positive for you.

  27. December was one of my best writing months. I actually accomplished everything I wanted to. Congrats on having two stories published.

  28. Rules: Some of them can be bent, others can be broken.

    Excellent post.