View Full Version : Short story writers... Where are you reading?
November 4th, 2004, 10:36 AM
So, everyone writing and attempting to get published, where are you currently reading short stories from?
Particularly I am interested in what genre fiction publications you are reading, The 3rd Alternative, Andromeda Spaceways you tell me?
I ask because most writers who expect to get published in magazines one day and who frequently use places like Ralan, don't actually subscribe and support these publications.
I see buying these magazines as three-fold... I am getting a great product with great fiction, I am researching what the publication likes which improves my chances of being accepted but perhaps most importantly as a writer, I am investing in my future... If you don't buy the fiction magazines and they vanish (and one dies every day much like the faeries in Neverland, every time a boy and girl says they don't believe in them) then who will publish your stories?
It's a cyclical process people.
November 4th, 2004, 11:29 AM
Myself, I subscribe to "Realms of Fantasy" which is a mag that comes out about every 2 months. It has good short fiction, decent reviews, and also info about upcoming books, movies and games that fall under the fantasy umbrella. I recommend it if you haven't seen it yet.
November 4th, 2004, 11:38 AM
Have you looked at The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction edited by Gordon Van Gelder?
He is a very smart, very intense editor. I know that the stories he prints are quality ones.
November 4th, 2004, 11:42 AM
I never had the money for multiple subscriptions and didn't want to commit to any one magazine. Being from Austria means that I'm dependent on imports, which, currently, totally, utterly sucks. Nobody imports magazines anymore.
Most of the mags I've got (and they stack), are the big ones, that don't really need my money: Asimov's, Fantasy & Science Fiction.
Then, there are quite a few issues of SF Age (which died; pity, it was a good one).
I've got New Worlds 1 - 4 (original anthology series from the 90ies - still looking for the fifth one, which is harder to get, as it's got a different publisher).
Then, a few issues of Interzone.
Finally, there are quite a few mags (or anthology series), I've only got one of: alebedo 1, Semiotext(e), SF Eye (articles)...
Perhaps, I should mention that I've also got an issue of Analog, but I didn't like that much.
Do the mags still offer life-subscriptions? I thought of taking one of those more than once.
November 4th, 2004, 11:49 AM
There was a panel discussion at WFC last weekend about short fiction:
EDITORS DISCUSS THE STATE OF SHORT FANTASY FICTION - These editors will discuss the changes and trends in short fantasy fiction throughout the years. [Ellen Datlow, David G. Hartwell (M), Gordon Van Gelder, Betty Ballantine]
It should have been better than it was, considering who was on it. But at least it was interesting. Betty Ballantine began the discussion by saying that she had no idea why she was asked to be on this particular panel because she never worked with short fiction, only novels! It was up hill from there though. She is quite a lady.
November 4th, 2004, 11:58 AM
I used to subscribe to Interzone, but when my subscription ran out just didn't bother to renew (especially as issues were always late, at the time).
I'm planning to ask for a subscription to either Interzone or The Third Alternative as a Christmas present, but I'm not sure which.
I do subscribe to a magazine called Mslexia - it's a mag that focuses on women writing, and has several short stories in it each quarter.
I don't subscribe to Strange Horizons as it's a free to read (at least was last time I looked), online mag, but I do pop in there from time to time, especially as I like submitting to them.
The American print mags I only tend to buy if I come across them in a shop, if only because when you subscribe it's expensive via airmail and slow via ground shipping. I might think about getting an electronic submission to F&SF, but I'm not sure how much of it I'd actually read in that format. I probably have at least one paper copy of all the major SF/F mags lying around the house, but can't remember the last time I bought one.
November 4th, 2004, 01:13 PM
I've been away for quite some time. Forgive me.
For short story writing, I've read quite possibly over 1000 short stories this year (and a couple dozen novels). My goal was to get better at writing. Not just short stories, but writing in general. With much help and much reading, I think I've finally made it.
As for what I read and where I read it, just about anywhere. I've picked up copies of about a dozen different print mags. I read several free sites monthly. I've read collections of short stories. I've read and read and read. If I plan on submitting somewhere, I do try to pick up either a copy of their mag or read them online. If I don't have the $$'s available to buy one, I read their entire website. I'll look for snippets, columns, articles, anything. The main goal is to know that you're submitting the work to the right place. This helps with getting published.
How do I know? I've had 7 stories picked up for publication this year. I've been a very prolific writer. I've written nearly 70 stories so far. You may say 10% isn't very good odds, but of those 70, 10 I never did anything with (I put them in a folder to gather dust). I posted 20 on my website and have no intention of submitting them. That put me at 40 stories. Of those 40, I still have 10 I haven't submitted anywhere yet (I still need to do clean up). So I'm down to 30 stories that I've actively pursued getting published. That's nearly a 25% publication rate. Them's good odds, but I've only heard back from a few. Many that I've submitted I still haven't heard back from. Who knows what my % will be after all stories come back.
If you're looking at getting short stories published, I do suggest you try my route. I had a goal at the end of December to write 100 short stories during the year of 2004. I'm at 70 and I don't think I'll make my 100, but what I did gain is an invaluable insight to writing. I have written so many different characters, settings, descriptions, events, conversations, interactions, thought processes, etc, etc that it'd make your head spin. Some of my test readers are behind on reading some of my stories.
What I'm getting at here is if you want to get published with short stories you should do 2 things.
1) READ a LOT of short stories of every genre
2) WRITE a LOT of short stories of every genre
After a year of writing and reading I've moved my story writing ability from so-so to publishable. It's a lot of work and takes a lot of dedication, but it's possible. Just write. You can do it.
November 4th, 2004, 01:21 PM
Maus, send one of your best to Gordon Van Gelder. If he picks it up, you are on your way......
November 4th, 2004, 01:36 PM
I had submitted one story to him. It wasn't one of my best, but is a fair story. I've gotten much better since then. He rejected it pretty quickly but with good comments. I do have him on my list to submit to again.
As for my current writing, I'm aiming at Anthologies and print mags. I feel that I've done the proving grounds with online submissions. I've gotten into 2 anthologies also. I'm looking for that one big hit. :) That breakthrough story.
November 4th, 2004, 01:49 PM
Gordon could be that breakthrough. He really has a great ear and he is a very well respected editor. I can tell you though that he is tough and critical, though it never seems to be personal with him. He is looking for that one great story all the time. His reputation is such that if he really likes what you write, you will get the attention for your work that you would hope for. He is a bit manic and he's also very high strung, though not in a nasty way. He just seems nervous and uncomfortable all the time, or maybe it's just the impatience of a very active mind. He always writes usefull comments on the pages.
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