Sunday, 11 January 2009

Writing for Blah magazine

Speaking as someone who had a whopping 3 yes I said 3 pieces of work accepted in 2008 I was wondering how the rest of you target your market.
Do you think "okay, today I'm going to write a story for Blah magazine," and work to their guidelines or do you come up with an idea for a story, write it and then see who you think might be interested in it. Personally I use the second method but I'm not sure if it's the best one.
I tried the former once when I came up with what I thought was an amusing idea. I wrote the story with a particular magazine in mind and wrote it to fit their style, word length etc and sent it of to them. I was devastated when they declined to take it. (Rejection is not a word for Sunday mornings.)
I liked the story though, in fact I think it probably is one of the best ones that I have ever written. I'd planned it's structure and thought it through before I even put pen to paper which is very unusual for me.
Because I liked it I didn't give up on it. I sent it out to another magazine without changing so much as a comma and they accepted it.
The story that I'm about to type up this morning (currently on 3 bits of A4 paper that's been stuffed in and out of my jacket pocket a dozen times this week) wasn't planned at all. I had the idea and I knew how I wanted it to end but I wasn't sure how I was going to get there. I have no idea yet of the length of it so I'm not sure if or who it's going to be suitable for.
I guess I'll type it up and see.


Suzanne said...

I loved your phrase 'declined to take it' - you're right, it does sound much better than the 'r' word.

Personally, I've tried both the methods you mention, but it's the ones that I've written unplanned that have been accepted. I suppose that writing to order just doesn't work for me.

KAREN said...

To be honest, I think that's the way to go. If you write from the heart it seems to shine through somehow. You can always tinker with word length etc after it's written, if you're targeting a specific magazine, but the successes I've had have been with stories I haven't tried TOO hard with :o)

Mummy said...

For what it's worth, I've always done the 2nd too but this year I'm going to make a concerted effort to have a go at the 1st way.....I'll let you know how I get on!

Annie Wicking said...

Well done you! three pieces published in 2008, I would be happy with just one, though on saying that I did have quite a few of my photographs published and one letter in a woman's mag. Does that count?
I would love one of my stories published in 2009.

I hope all goes well with your story.

Best wishes,

Gonna be a writer said...

Annie, I'm not surprised your photos have been published - they're great. And yes I would count a letter.
So the concensus of opinion seems to be that the second works better. I'll be interested to know how using the first works for you Mummy.
I'm all for not trying too hard karen. To be honest I've had more success working that way too.
Glad you liked "declined to take it" Suzanne. i may never use the "r" word again.
Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Anonymous said...

I don't claim to be an expert, having only ever submitted one piece of work in my life (so far), but surely method #2 is more creative and flexible. Coming from a background in software engineering, the concept of reuse is quite important to me. I would find it easier to adapt an existing story to a particular magazine's themes and guidelines, rather than write something from scratch.

Having said that, I do respond quite well to prompt-driven and title-driven stories. At least, I like to think I have done so far.

Gonna be a writer said...

I think that there are probably pros and cons for both methods. Are you planning on submitting more sooner rather than later Captain?

Anonymous said...

I'm intending to submit much much more this year.

Gonna be a writer said...

Good luck with that. Don't forget to tell us about it.