Saturday, May 23, 2015
Effective with the just-published July issues of True Confessions and True Story magazines, I have had one or more short stories published each and every month for 144 consecutive months (that's 12 years). Including the stories sold before this streak began, I've placed more than 1,100 short stories since I made my first professional sale as a teenager in the late 1970s.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Monday, May 18, 2015
Thursday, May 14, 2015
I wrote and submitted my twelfth short story today, a 1,600-word confession based on something I read in an advice column this morning. It's been quite awhile since I wrote a complete story in a single day, so this feels like a small and pleasant accomplishment.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Sunday, May 10, 2015
In honor of Short Story Month, Untreed Reads has all of their short stories on sale. Pick up a copy of my crime fiction story "Chalkers" for only 25 cents:
Thursday, May 07, 2015
No matter how good we are at proofreading our mss. before sending them to editors, sooner or later we make an error that embarrasses us such that we feel we should hide under the blankets, curled in a fetal position, until the beginning of the next calendar year. I have done just that, but rather than hide away, I will share my embarrassment with y'all.
I recently had a story published in which an important character's name changes halfway through the story. I didn't notice it before I submitted the ms. and the editor didn't notice before publishing the story. I only know about it because an astute reader pointed it out.
This is a classic rookie mistake, and I haven't been a rookie since Jimmy Carter was president. Sigh.
Not long ago I developed a trick that helps me prevent making this mistake. Unfortunately, this story was written long before I discovered my trick.
Each time I name a character in a short story I'm writing, I scroll to the end of the file, type that character's name and add a brief description. Then I refer to the list each time I identify a character by name to ensure that I'm using the correct name.
Sarah Stuffinmister--love interest
Lt. Earl Warner--police officer, antagonist
Joe "Bags" Banaboo--John's sidekick
I leave the list on the ms. through the final proofread. Each time I come across a character's name during proofreading, I check my list to ensure that I have used the correct name and have spelled it correctly. If I come across a name in the ms. not on my end-of-file list, I determine why and then correct the error.
This trick might help others avoid the public embarrassment of Proofreading Failure. It's been working for me.
If only I had started doing this sooner...
(And, no, I'm not going to identify the story by name.)