Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Call for Submissions and Writing Tips

If you've been a regular reader, you know that one of my stories was recently published in a Chicken Soup for the Soul Book called Miracles Happen. Being a past contributor they keep me updated on new books and ideas for getting published. I would like to pass along a recent update that I received from them to help writers get published.

We receive thousands of submissions for each book that we publish. We read every story that is submitted and choose our favorite 101 for each book. We care very much about plot, and we’re happy to work with writers to make their stories work if they have a good underlying plot, but there are still some tips we want to pass along that will increase your chances of making it into a book.

Start in the action. Forget what your English teachers told you: “tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them.” Instead, start your story in the action! “I fell in love with that bundle of fur the moment I saw her.” Instead of “I’m going to tell you a story about my dear cat, who changed my life.”

 Keep it simple. We all can get wordy at times. But getting too detailed and descriptive often hurts, not helps, our writing. Sentences like “My heart surged in a tsunami wave of emotion”

and “I got into my car, pulled out of the driveway, and drove into town to the pharmacy” get edited to their more simple, effective essence: “I was upset” and “I drove to the pharmacy.”

Fact check. We strive for accuracy. So we spend a lot of time fact checking your stories, and often find mistakes in the names of places, books, songs, movies, trademarked products, etc. Please check your facts before submitting your stories. If we start fact checking a story and find too many discrepancies, we will abandon the story, no matter how much we love it.

Pay attention to tense. Your story happened in the past, so please don’t write about it in the present tense. That often makes the story confusing. We’ve been known to abandon stories that will require too much work fixing the tenses.
 
Here’s some of the upcoming books that you might consider submitting stories for:
 
Angels in Our Midst
We are looking for stories from people who believe that they have encountered or been helped by angels. The deadline for story and poem submissions was March 31, 2014 but it has been extended to May 15, 2014.
Christmas in Canada
We are defining Christmas as the entire December holiday season and the New Year festivities too. The deadline for story and poem submissions is May 30, 2014.
 
Stories ABOUT Moms
We are collecting stories written by sons and daughters of all ages about their moms and stepmoms of all ages. The deadline for story and poem submissions is September 30, 2014.
Stories about the Christmas Season
All of the stories in our Christmas books are "Santa Safe" - we don't want to spoil the magic for children. The deadline for story and poem submissions is August 30, 2014.
 
Stories BY Moms
Every mom has great stories to tell, share yours as story or a poem. The deadline is September 30, 2014.
The Power of Forgiveness
Have you ever noticed how forgiving someone frees you to move on with your life? Did letting go of your hurt feelings heal you and bring you a sense of peace? Help others find the same resolution by sharing your story. The deadline date for submissions is June 30, 2014.
 
Good luck with all your writing submissions!