Monday, March 5, 2012

Dissecting the Short Story Returns & #writemotivation Goals Status

Last month I ran a pair of surveys to see which genre magazines and major pro-rate on-line venues were read frequently by people visiting my blog. The results are further down the page. A total of 12 votes for print magazines came in from 17 voters, or approximately 2/3rds of a print venue per voter. A total of 22 votes for online magazines came in from 15 voters, or approximately 1 1/2 online venues per voter. (There were two more options in the online poll, which presumably accounts for a bit of that skew.)

The point of these surveys was to see what publications might be best for a revival of the Dissecting the Short Story series. I've determined that doing story dissections for mystery fiction just isn't in the "sweet spot" of my readership and that looking to utilize online publications, particularly ones where a story is available to be read on-line for free or a very small cost, is probably the best approach.

Here's my plan:
  • Within the next week or so I'll identify three stories which meet the criteria I described above (In an online publication, available to read free/cheaply, from a pro-rate market) and create a poll on my blog so people can vote on the three choices. The three stories will also all be ones which have been published very recently.
  • Voting will be open through the end of the month.
  • In early April, I'll publish the dissection of the selected story and also set up a new list of three choices.
  • I plan to try this for two or three months and see if it increases the level of discussion around the stories. From there, I'll determine whether I'll continue the series or put it back on hiatus.

Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine
  1 (5%)
  2 (11%)
Asimov's Science Fiction
  4 (23%)
Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
  1 (5%)
Fantasy & Science Fiction
  3 (17%)
  1 (5%)
None of the Above
  11 (64%)
Total Voters: 17

Apex Magazine
  2 (13%)
  5 (33%)
Daily Science Fiction
  5 (33%)
Flash Fiction Online
  1 (6%)
Lightspeed/Fantasy Magazine
  4 (26%)
InterGalactic Medicine Show
  1 (6%)
Redstone Science Fiction
  1 (6%)
Strange Horizons
  3 (20%)
None of the Above
  7 (46%)
Total Voters: 15

The other order of business today is my weekly #writemotivation update. Just like in January, those of us in the #writemotivation activity are posting statuses for our March goals every Monday. Here's my current status (past the jump)

1) Read my first draft of "Adrift" and create something akin to a "beat sheet" for it. - Not started.
2) Have a short story revising day where I get at least three stories into a form where I am ready to send them out for beta or submission. - Not yet scheduled; this will probably come late in the month.
3) Write 7,500 words of new fiction including at least one new short story. - Ahead of pace and I've also completed one new short story already.
4) Keep all my writing routines -- Seinfeld Chain, revised blogging schedule, etc. - On target.
5) On 3/31, have one non-time-sensitive blog post written and ready for future use on a day when I'm not able to post something "new." - I have one already, so unless I use it, I won't have to do anything else to meet this goal.
6) Write and submit one or more short stories for the first time. - Writing part (as noted in #3) is done. Submission, not really, since I sent it in for a private forum contest and it's not truly "submitted" yet.
7) Decide if I am going to attend Marcon (a local science-fiction convention) in April or not. - This will also probably be something I decide on late in the month, as it will depend on several factors which I just don't know enough about yet.
8) Complete a first draft of my non-fiction project. - Getting very close to done. About 85% of the way through the primary section.

A good start to the month, but lots of work still in front of me.


  1. wow, you're planning to accomplish a lot this month! Kudos to you!

  2. What's a beat sheet?

    That's the second time in the last couple of days that I've heard about 'beats'. I've tried looking them up, but I'm none the wiser.

    1. Generally speaking it's a summarization of the scenes from a work and how they work together. I've never done one formally before, and won't necessarily be working from any specific template. So, it's going to be sort of an experiment for me.

      Here's one blog post about beat sheets:

    2. Thanks. I'll try to get my head round that. :)

  3. Really excellent effective planning for short stories. I will definitely follow these plans to write short stories. Thanks for sharing.

  4. You are kicking butt this month!

    Good luck with the short story submission :D

  5. What a great idea! I'll admit, I'm not very good to reading stories in my genre, but I listen to a lot on podcasts. Are those included in your online markets?