Writing for Who?

I teeter back and forth between writing for specific publications (especially anthologies) and writing freehand, of my own imagination, limit-free. The problem with the latter is that sometimes, my bizarro story takes a while to find a home. But it is original and that must count for something.

On the other hand, when I write for a specific eZine or anthology I’m trying to publish with, and the story is not accepted, I end up with a piece not entirely of my own, and with a sense of weight to it, that is it’s too specific in theme or other elements and thus, also hard to place.

In the end, it comes down to persistence in submitting, and I do believe that eventually, every story if given enough attention, will find a home.

What about you? Do you write more for yourself, for eZines you want to get into, or a little of both? In which way do you think you are more successful?

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15 thoughts on “Writing for Who?

  1. I’m terrible at writing for someone else’s style. I try different styles, and I’ll go with interesting elements, but I can’t work to order, especially not now that most of my time is consumed with novels. Writing a bad imitation of somebody’s vampire smut isn’t going to help any of us.

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    1. There are anthology themes that are better left unthought of. I think it can be a good thing though to try to stretch your style as a writer while still not sacrificing your own voice, even if that means putting another story in the trunk.
      Best of luck with your novels, John. You must have one coming out soon?

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  2. I teeter too — reading the pro-zines and trying to craft a story that fits their overall expectations and ending up with something I’m not thrilled with; writing “my own” pulpy stuff (Quasar, Coyote Cal, Mercer) and selling them to token-paying markets. I spent a sizeable chunk of December on a story for an extremely specific anthology that ended up closing by the time I submitted! Grrrr. All part of the journey, I guess.

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    1. You made a good point, Milo. Writing and placing stories is a tough journey all writers have to make. But you’re persistent, and you’ll find that story a home, hopefully without too much door knocking.

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  3. I basically write for the noir/hardboiled/crime ezine and anthology short story markets. I find that when the stories are about male criminals doing crimes I’ve rarely had a problem placing them (in my so far seven-month experience). But, when the stories have women main characters and/or are more about non-criminals doing awful or criminal things they are a little harder to place. And, I sometimes wonder if it’s the second category that I am more interested in. But, the second category might be more suited to a slightly more literary market, but, that market DOES NOT LIKE my stuff. Ever.
    Jeez, did any of that make any sense?

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    1. Definitely makes sense, Mike. Noir/hardboiled crime is an entity of itself. It seems to me that the stories published are very specific in style. Still, you should be writing what you are more interested in. There are others out there that will like it too, you just have to search them out.

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      1. Yes, but. I do love reading and writing crime/noir and I love getting accepted and read. That is fun, and, there is an artistic/craft satisfaction in doing such stories well. Now that I think about it, the latest story that I’ve written is about a bunch of white trash-like working people in Modesto whose night of drugging and partying goes very bizarre and violent. It is my favorite story so far and exactly the kind of thing I want to do. It got rejected by one noir site and then quickly accepted by another. So I’m probably wrong about a couple of things I said in the first post.

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  4. I do like writing for specific anthology. But it depends on my inventory too. I just did tons of mythos stories last year (about 4) that still need to be sold, so I’m quite wary of writing another.

    In general though, I find that stories I wrote for anthologies that got rejected, do sell quite well, unless they’re super-specific. Also it’s really nice if you can sell a rejected story to a higher paying market. Result!

    So those two things influence me, what’s I’ve got on my to be sold list and how specific the call is.

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    1. That’s a good feeling to sell a rejected story to another market. I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to do a good inventory on all my stories too. Good luck with your mythos, Deborah. I would love to read them someday.

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  5. I rarely write to a particular market I have to say. I generally get the story and then think about where it can go.

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  6. I’m constantly pushing myself to write for specic markets, anthologies, and in different genres. I love writing whatever the hell I feel like, but there’s something satisfying about running with a posed idea, meeting the challenge presented, and ending up with a story I’m not only happy with, but that ‘s accepted and enjoyed. Now not everything I write for a target market is accepted, but either way, I still have a finished product that will eventually find a home. And no matter the guideline limitations, I always write for myself. There’s nothing wrong with pushing yourself as a writer, but never compromise your unique voice in order to claim a publication credit.

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    1. Excellent advice, Angel. We should always write for ourselves, no matter the guidelines.
      Still, some of my favorite stories have sprung from contests and other market calls I’ve written for, and sometimes those end up shaping what I feel like writing next.

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  7. I do a little of both – I quite like seeking out themed anthos and picking ones that I like (or that I already have a story snippet to start from that fits the theme). Having said that, I have also found times when writing for a specific antho when the story isn’t quite working but I am stubbornly trying to force it into the mold. It may take me some time to realize it, but when that happens, I either try something else or stick with my original idea and find a new home for it.

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    1. I understand the feeling of stubbornly trying to force a story to fit an anthology when it seems to want to take off in a different direction. Some anthology themes are just so tempting.
      Thanks for stopping by, Mary.

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