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Author Topic: The Write Stuff - everything you need to know and link for contributing to SFC  (Read 1740 times)

Geoff the head Uncle

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Submissions Guidelines Links

by Geoff Willmetts

[NB I don't bite and can sort out most of these problems as you find your feet.]

  For those of you who missed the link at the top of the main SFCrowsnest opening page and because Google in its infinite wisdom thinks that me repeating myself at the base of the monthly editorial over the past twelve years now edits out my pointer links to conserved Net space, here is the guidelines links with additional info for those who want to contribute the SFCrowsnest. The more the merrier in my opinion. Sorry if this is long-winded but it should have all the answers you need plus the necessary links for yet more detail and I was tying not to be too verbose.

  If you link into them or copy and paste the appropriate lines into your website link line, you will have all the details for submitting news, articles, fiction or reviews. Plus a piece about the common mistakes that I normally see when I edit. I should point out that I’m experienced enough to correct these mistakes if I intend to use your material. I’m an editor, it’s part of my job. However, if you have aspirations to get into the professional market then they really ought to become second nature to sort out yourself. There is nothing that any editor, amateur or pro, likes better when they have the least work to do. Not that it makes us lazy but it allows other work to be done in its stead. My review team, for instance, knows that I protect their backs and although editing will not totally remove all mistakes – and I’ve made a few howlers myself – it does minimise them.

  So settle back, read and link and remember, if you intend to be read by hundreds and thousands of people, you want to look your best and it’s all in the detail.

A Zen thought but this time for potential writers: If you can express an opinion independently of others and aren’t likely to bend to the masses then you might show potential as a writer.

BOOK REVIEWS

   Do you love books?
Do you like curling up and reading a book in preference to socialising, even on the Net? You might not even want to curl up, that’s only an option. Reading in bed or being passenger on a bus, train or meal break works just as well.

   Do you have a preference for SF, fantasy or horror? We really could do with some fantasy readers considering the number of fantasy book series publishers chuck at us!!!

Do you find reading the greatest pastime you have next to being on your computer?
Are you very vocal about what you like and don't like in what you read?
Would you like to share your thoughts with others about books?
Would you like an endless supply of books to do this with?
Do you live in the UK?
Can you spare an hour every day to read?
Do you think you can write about what you’ve read?
Are you finding the recession is hitting your book buying habit?
Can you string words into sentences?

  If you've been nodding your head up to this point then link in below and see if you have what it takes to be a reviewer at SFCrowsnest. If you have that special knack to read and write or want to develop said skill then the only way you're going to find out is to take the plunge yourself rather than wait for others to do it first.

  Reading a lot of books is a requisite for any writer. Being able to say what makes them good or bad hones your skills. Even if you’re just happy with reading with a little writing on the side then this might be for you. It's got to be better than waiting for the sun to come out in this weird seasonal weather. It’s also amazing how much you can read in an hour a day.

  As you can see from the SFC main page, we have one of the biggest SF/fantasy/horror monthly reviews columns on the Net. Our success has increased the number of books that comes in and our policy is to read everything and give it a roadtest before giving a review so you have some idea of what you’re letting yourself in for. You want the bottom line about what you’re going to choose to read after all. That means we need people actually willing to read the book and tell others they’re opinion in reviews. For that, we’re always on the outlook for more reviewers. It’s a skill that can be easily mastered and we always need a few more.

  Apart from the ability to put words into sentences and write conversational English like you’re seeing me use here, you also need to know how to précis the story without giving away too many spoilers, do a little research on associated subjects and express opinions constructively about the good and bad points about the books you read. We even let you choose from our pile of received books rather than foster something on you that you wouldn’t normally read. If you bag a series of books then you stay on them. You’ll even get a little editorial help in how to write good copy and that can always lead to other things. I’m not as scary as I sound editorially and it’s better to do the test review and see how you fare under my scrunity than not attempt to see how well you did. I did say you have to love books and willing to read beyond your favourite authors, didn’t I?

  If you like reading and can average two or maybe three books a month, can really think and show you can write a decent review and, most importantly, live in the British Isles (sorry, expense, time and distance travelled mostly prohibits elsewhere), then use the link below and see our requirements. We can’t pay you but writing a review for a book is a good incentive and it does develop your writing skills. We even get quoted sometimes.

  Do you think you’re up to writing a review? If you think you are, then you’re really going to think you’ve landed your hands in the biscuit tin. It won’t hurt to try and see if you have the right stuff by sending me a sample review to show me you can write. If there are problems, I can show you how to get around them. If you want an added incentive, it can also be good for your CV.

  Look up the Review Guidelines by linking:-www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_reviews.php


SHORT STORIES

We always have an interest in running short stories which can be anything from one to thirty or so pages long. We’re always willing to give short story writers a chance to be seen if they can withstand my scrutiny even if we can’t pay for their efforts, your material will be seen by a lot of people if it’s shown on the SFCrowsnest website. Getting a short story written and prove that you can complete them will build your confidence and writing skills before attempting to move up to novel-length.

Look up the Short Stories Link by linking:- www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_bigfiction.php


FLASH OR ONE-PAGE FICTION

We’ve also a teaching ground for one page stories. It’s a lot tougher than it looks and far too easy to just write and hope something good comes out of it. What writing a one page story does is test your ability to control your word count and still tell a story in a concise way. This doesn’t mean we don’t accept stories of different lengths – a short story can be anything up to 30-40 pages long after all – but opens up the means for really short stories from ideas that don’t need as much space.

  Flash fiction stories by linking:-
www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_flashfic.php


NOVEL-LENGTH SAMPLES

For those keeping track, I’m actually caught up with looking at novel-length samples but don’t tell everyone cos I need some time to do work on my own projects. However, if you want me to look over a novel-length sample, you can contact me through the links on this website. I can point out your mistakes and things you should consider correcting to look your best.

  Before you submit, study the next section below as it’s there to help you do some of the right things and reduce the number of times I’m repeating myself over silly grammatical errors and spelling mistakes that you shouldn’t be making if you’re serious about becoming a writer. It makes editing a lot easier if any editor has less work pointing out poor English which you should have been sorted out in the first place and more focused on other areas of your work that deal with plot and the other serious elements of story-writing. As a writer, it is your command and confidence in the English language and its grammar that will show how serious you are about your writing. Professional editors will return your novel samples on the grounds of poor grammar often without going beyond the first page.

  There might not be much of a wait unless I get a deluge, however those sending in book samples in, please read the Guidelines by linking:-www.sfcrowsnest.com/contribute_bigfiction.php


EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT WRITING BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK

General advice for those who want to become writers of any sort: There’s an old editorial adage: If you can’t aim for perfection why should an editor nurse-maid you to that state? Nominally, my job is to catch minor glitches not total mishaps. Unlike most editors, I will take the time to do a detailed analysis rather than fob you off onto some other editor.

 If you’re a writer, then you should understand the words, sentences and grammar of the job you’re supposed to be writing or are you considering it as mundane and boring as any other job to get right? Fall in love with making every sentence the best you’re ever written, read up and understand the rules of grammar. Put the time in researching any subject you’re using in the story.

Be prepared to put a story away for a few weeks and go back to it for a self-edit until it’s as good as you can make it. A lot of the time, errors will just stare you in the face when you didn’t see them the first time round. I tend to find after writing anything, give a week and look at it again, a lot of mistakes will stare you in the face providing you know which mistakes that you’ve made. Once you know where your weaknesses are, they can be sorted out and allow you to move a little higher up the ladder towards making your material look its best and more importantly, getting your material seen by readers. It might look complicated but you’d be surprised how quickly they become second nature.

Even I do that. You’d hate to see how much time I spent in going over these instructions. You look good. I make you look better but you have to start off with good.

The link here will show you the Common Problems Link page:- www.sfcrowsnest.com/articles/features/2009/The-Problems-I-See-Most-When-Looking-At-Samples-14414.php
It’s the smart writer who doesn’t get caught out with these.


Zen for those who are scared by all the instructions above: Many of the instructions are things you should be doing automatically if you’re developing your writing skills. If you do them already then focus on the ones that you don’t get right. They are there to help you as much as me to get the best writing from you. If you think you’re 80% there then I’ll help you get the final 20%. Trust me, I’m an editor, the ultimate dutch uncle, and I can get things right.

Good luck.
Geoff Willmetts
Editor: SFCrowsnest.co.uk
« Last Edit: December 07, 2011, 03:50:40 AM by Geoff the head Uncle »

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