Published Flash Fiction: Brain Painter

Well good morning my little spam lunches, I’ve got a new flash fiction over on Bizarro Central called Brain Painter. It’s about…well, you’ll have to see. Enjoy!

Link

Why not send yours? Follow the link to find out how.

Scratch That…Send Us Your Three Hundred Word Or Less Stories

We’re getting too many good stories that are over a hundred and under three hundred, so that’ll be the new length we read on the podcast.

The rest stays the same, send us an odd or scary story along with a website/other contact I can read aloud, however nothing over three hundred as no-one wants to hear me droning on for hours. OK…now!

Send to: bizartcast@gmail.com

Podcast link: bizartpodcast.wordpress.com

Send us your hundred word or less stories

We need your brains. We need to open up the hard outer shell to get to the soft goo inside. We would like odd, weird or scary stories, or perhaps all three, 100 words or less for our podcast. Send the story along with a website or alternative preferred method of online contact for you which I can read out loud with my lips.

Have a listen of the podcast, which weirdly doesn’t feature any stories yet, and send them to bizartcast@gmail.com

Bizart: The Odd, The Art And The Rest

Submit Yourself: A Submissions Calendar is a Smart Idea

Stumbled across this calendar of endless possibilities on the Litreactor site just now (original article here). It’s a handy little monthly submissions guide to time-restricted publications. Before you read may I just make the personal assertion that I don’t believe in submission fees:

 

Whether you’re looking to make it big with a book you’re sure is a best-seller, or you’re just interested in breaking through with a few bylines in lit journals that your mother can frame and put on the ‘fridge, one of the biggest hurdles is to know where to even send your work–and when.

Sure, going through a literary agent is obviously the easiest way to get your pieces in front of important eyes–but even getting an agent to represent you can be a huge challenge, particularly if you haven’t had a lot published. Which means it’s smart to also have, on hand, a list of places where you can submit unsolicited work throughout the year, in hopes of beefing up your portfolio.

But because accepting unsolicited work is, well, a lot of work, many journals, publishers, and magazines have limited time-frames during which they do all of their reading and deciding. So it’s smart to keep a Google Calendar or some other sort of digital log of who you’re aiming to submit to, what the due-dates are for submissions, and also a link to the requirements.

Here are a few places that accept unsolicited novels, stories, collections, and poems to get your submissions calendar rolling.

January

Get a running start with a few places that take submissions all year long.

Boyd Mills Press, out of Pennsylvania, is a small-ish press that accepts submissions of children’s and young adult books all the time, so you can send them your work as soon as it’s been proofread.

Electric Literature is an awesome short-story producing new-media magazine that gives print space to some of America’s freshest young talent. Submit your boldest and brightest, whenever you like.

Another most excellent (and highly selective) publication that will take your work all year is PANK Magazine, which publishes exciting, quirky, awesome poetry; short stories; and other forms of text. Check their website to see what they’re cooking up.

February

The Portland Review is a fun collective of writers and editors who publish (usually) around 3 times per year. They almost always have a beginning-of-the-year submission period, but will take what you send them most all the time. They also have a very cute and inspiring blog that I like very, very much. And, they use Submishmash, which makes it easy to track all of your entries.

March

Need a little seed money to start the year? The Oberon Poetry Magazine accepts contest submissions in the Spring (usually March or April) and awards $1,000 for the judge’s favorite.

April

Vagabondage Press’ literary quarterly, The Battered Suitcase, accepts fiction, non-fiction and poetry, but not criticisms or book reviews. They’re looking for previously unpublished authors who are interested in getting their name out there, so all levels of experience are encouraged to submit.

May

Founded by poetic dreamboat Derrick Brown, Write Bloody Publishing is rapidly establishing something of a cult following. Each year, they invite writers to send samples for short story or poetry collections, and select 7 to receive a book deal. A book deal! Their submission window is almost always in May, and almost always gets pushed back.

June

It’s pretty rare that you get personal feedback on your submissions– but Our Stories takes the time. They also offer prize money. There is a submission fee, but for many, that’s a much better trade off than receiving a stock letter of acceptance. Their submission period usually begins in Spring, but Summer is a slow literary season, so this one can get bumped down to less busy times.

July

Summer is really, really boring in publishing. Use July as your catch-up month for all of those year-round places.

August

No, really. Take the summer to write whatever you like. Relax and write. Put it on your calendar.

September

Tin House Magazine is a respected literary publication that accepts short stories and essays between Sept. 1 and May 31, which is a nice wide window. They have some themed publications, so check their website to see if you’re on-topic.

October

The Avatar Review accepts poetry, prose, and pretty much anything, beginning in October. They publish just once per year, and their main goal is to get unpublished authors their first exposure. Think of it a bit like really nice training wheels.

November

Some places have two submission periods per year, which offers a nice bit of flexibility. Memoir (and) is one of those places, and is also a really great publication. The November submission period runs through February, and they’ll consider just about everything you send them, so go ahead and write your heart out.

December

December is actually just the best time to wrap up any and all submissions that you’ve had sitting around. Instead of adding December-specific ones, I’ll redirect you back up to January.


Of course, there are hundreds of journals, magazines, quarterlies and publishers who take submissions throughout the year, and depending on your genre of choice, some will be a better fit than others. But whomever you decide to grace with your work, having firm-ish deadlines inked out ahead of time is a smart way to hit the ground writing.”

I think that says it all! Hop to it or the beating hand gets angry.

Submitting – and writing – a graphic novel

I’m writing a YA graphic novel and I was worrying about structure, whether the artwork needs to be submitted at the same time and a million other things when I came across this article on a website called Let the Words Flow. Here’s the original article and here’s what Hayleigh Bird said:

What do you think of when you hear the term graphic novel? I’m willing to bet that images of Spiderman, Batman, and Wonder Woman pop in to your head. But graphic novels aren’t just for superheroes and villains anymore. The audience for graphic novels has been expanding rapidly over the past few years. These days you can find graphic novels about space cats, political and philosophical issues, circuses, and yes, even vampires. Graphic novels are no longer targeted only at teenage boys. They are being created for boys and girls alike, for kids as young as six, and for adults too.

So why is this trend interesting to you, the writer? Publishers are very hungry for good graphic novels. That’s good news for anyone aspiring to be published, particularly if you have a fondness for art, sketching, and drawing. This post won’t tell you how to create a graphic novel, because there is really no guideline for that. And if you were to follow a guideline, your graphic novel would likely look the same as your next-door neighbor’s graphic novel, and as such not be as stand-out-fantastic as it could be. The best thing you can do if you’re creating a graphic novel is to create straight from your own head, from your own imagination. Different equals interesting, so go for it.

What you may need a little guidance with, however, is how to create a graphic novel submission, and what to include. Most publishers (and agents) do have a section on their website stating the regulations for submitting to them; however very few tell you what to include in a graphic novel submission. And submitting a graphic novel is very different than submitting a novel. For starters, you will submit a proposal rather than a partial.

What do editors and agents want to see in a proposal? You will need to include a document describing the book’s concept and specs. This means a plot summary, character and setting descriptions, proposed extent (how many pages?), trim (what size of pages?), and colours (full colour? Black and white?). This document should also include a biography, listing previous work. This part of your proposal expands on what you might say in a query letter. There are a few reasons that this document is important. First, an editor or agent wants to know that you have a clear idea of what your graphic novel is going to look like. If you don’t know the extent, trim size, etc, it means you haven’t really planned out what you are going to create. That’s not to say that these numbers won’t change as you continue creating – they might. But you should at least have a clear starting point, and plan.

If you are planning to write and illustrate your graphic novel, you will also need to include some sample spreads of finished, typeset artwork. I would suggest including spreads from your opening scene, and a climactic moment. Whatever you choose should be an important part of your plot, as whoever is reviewing your proposal will be most interested to see how you plan to illustrate and create those moments. In addition to the spreads, you also need to include character designs for each of your main characters. This means a couple pages of that character doing different things. You’ll want to portray them in a variety of poses and situations, so that there is a visible and clear sense of who that character is.

It is possible to submit a graphic novel proposal even if you are not an artist. Your chances of having your proposal accepted are likely lower, but if you have a stellar idea for a graphic novel then there are many agents and editors out there who would want to know about it. Your document containing a plot outline, character and setting descriptions, etc, will look the same as a proposal that includes illustrations. Your proposal, however, won’t include sample spreads, or character designs. What you will need to include is a scene of sample script. Again, it is advisable to choose either your opening scene, or your climax. The script should be just that: a script. It would look similar to a play, or screenplay script.

Publishers do not usually accept collaborations (of art and writing) from first time authors. That being said, the arena of graphic novels may be the only exception to this rule. Since most publishers do not have hard and fast submission guidelines for graphic novels, I would say that if you follow the general guideline that I gave you, there is no reason not to submit a collaboration. BUT it will take a lot more time, effort, and work before the submission is ready to send out. The nature of collaboration is that it is a lengthy process, as two people need to agree upon, and harmonize one vision. The revenue split would vary project to project, and publisher to publisher. Those details would get worked out when a contract is drawn up.

The sample spreads should definitely match/reflect the proposed dimensions for the finished book.

Lastly, if you are proposing a series, you should include a series outline, so that the editor or agent can see what the overall narrative arc will look like. They will also want to know how many books are being proposed. It is important to have a clear arc in mind, and not to plan to leave it open ended. Editors and agents want to know how you plan on ending your novel or series, not just how it starts.

If creating a graphic novel is something that interests you, I would definitely suggest giving it a try. The market is hot right now, especially with the appeal that graphic novels have for reluctant readers. Even schools are starting to use graphic novels in their curriculum, and their classrooms. Good luck in your endeavors, and as always, post questions or comments if you have them! I will try to answer all of them.

In answer to the entry above, Victoria Dixon wrote this very useful bit of info:

I’d have to object to the idea that there are not guidelines on how to write a graphic novel. There are at least two good ones I can think of: Scott McLeod’s “Understanding Comics” is the would-be graphic novelist’s bible, and his “Making Comics” is also a must-read. Alan Moore (Watchmen, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, V for Vendetta, From Hell) has a How-to out, Will Eisner’s got two How-tos (Eisner did The Spirit comics), and there are others. I’d look through them and see what speaks to you, but DEFINITELY pick up “Understanding Comics” as it will walk you through why and how things work graphically AND in tandem with your brilliant story.”

Plus the writer’s website Litreactor has all of these entries regarding graphic novels and comics. If you’re anything like me though you won’t be doing stuff that costs money. So there you go. Hopefully soon I will know what I’m doing…P.S. Any artists out there? I’m serious…?