Category Archives: Useful resources

5 Tips and Tricks for Submission to: The Lane of Unusual Traders – Stage 2 – 31 May (HT: @tinyowlworkshop)

Some tips from Tom Dullemond, my fellow-judge for The Lane of Unusual Traders Stage 2. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Literarium - The Blog

I’ve just finished reading and judging (ie. slushing) the Flash Fiction component of the Lane of Unusual Traders Part 2. The Lane is a part of a large collaborative world building project managed by the excellent Tiny Owl Workshop crew, based in sunny Brisbane, Australia.

As part of reading through the submissions, I thought I would give some tips and observations to any potential submitters to the Short Story component of the submission window (due May 31, people). I’m judging for that too, so you probably should pay attention if you want a submitting edge.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about at all, check out the market listing link above, or go here to the ‘LoUT’ homepage for a quick introduction:

Finished? Keen to submit? Cool, then read on!

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Fiction Southeast

Fiction Southeast bannerI’ve just joined the staff of Fiction Southeast, an online journal dedicated to short fiction. You can check it out here. A wealth of short fiction, including an audio series, and great articles, reviews and interviews to inspire and encourage writers and readers.

To quote from the About page:

‘Fiction Southeast is an online literary journal dedicated to short fiction. The journal was founded by Editor, Chris Tusa, and Editor-at-Large, Michael Garriga. We publish fiction weekly (every Thursday) as well as an occasional essay, review, or interview on Mondays. Past contributors include Robert Olen Butler, Aimee Bender, Donald Ray Pollock, RT Smith, Joyce Carol Oates, Michael Martone, Ron Carlson, and many others.

‘The mission of Fiction Southeast is to showcase short fiction from today’s most promising writers and to create an online literary journal that allows readers to quickly and easily access quality writing from their laptops, tablets, and cell phones. Since electronic reading devices (and to some extent laptops for that matter) make reading long pieces of writing less enjoyable, we have chosen to dedicate the journal to “short fiction,” in this case, fiction which is approximately 1500 words or less in length. Aside from limiting the stories we publish to less than 1500 words, we have also implemented a READ NOW feature for every story/article on the site (just above the article/story title) that allows the user to increase the font, export to epub format, even save in Kindle format.’

I’m looking forward to working with these guys. Please come across and take a look.


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Kathy Stewart on building suspense

Great post on tension and building suspense, from Kathy Stewarthere. Loads of information delivered very succinctly.

Writing Novels in Australia is an engaging, informative blog, well worth a visit. It’s a group blog on which a range of Australian authors write a monthly post on ther novel writing. 2012 is dedicated to first-time novelists.

I’m enjoying hearing from these novelists about their process – their frustrations, inspirations, challenges, strategies and triumphs. At present I’m too busy writing to blog regularly, but in lieu of hearing from me, feel free to pop over and hear from them! 🙂



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Article out

On the subject of WQ, I have an article on blogging published in this month’s edition. If you’re a Queensland writer, I recommend joining the Queensland Writers Centre – lots of useful information in the newsletter each month, including competitions and opportunities, as well as thoughtful and up-to-the-minute articles. Happy reading!

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“The Internet is our friend”





On Wednesday I attended the Queensland Writers Centre presentation “To Market To Market: Pitching to Publishers”, at the Somerset Celebration of Literature (thanks Amy for the tip!)

The Celebration is geared towards young people interested in literature and writing, but there are also various sessions and events for adult writers of children’s and YA literature.

Wednesday’s session was facilitated by Sarah Gory from QWC, and featured children’s author Tristan Bancks and YA author Belinda Jeffrey.

The authors talked quite a bit about their redrafting processes, how they choose test readers to give them feedback, and what kinds of things happen during redrafting (eg. changing from third person to first person POV, or vice versa, might unlock a number of problems at once). There was discussion about what an agent does, how to approach publishers, the need for researching your specific niche in the industry, dos and don’ts of submission, and author platforms.

What interested me most were the questions asked by some seminar participants, to which answers are readily available online, through a plethora of resources. I don’t mean to sound supercilious about this – I’m no digital native myself. But I was surprised to find writers unaware of the online resources available to them with just a click or two.

For example, appropriate word lengths of books targeted at specific age groups. Guidelines are readily available on the websites of major publishers (eg. Pan Macmillan, Penguin, Scholastic, Allen & Unwin, Harper Collins – see Links page). You can also find advice and discussion through any number of blogs and forums just by Googling the topic. I looked up “word count age groups”, “word length age groups”, and “novel length”, and got similar sites each time (eg. Literary Rambles, Kidlit, Novel-Writing-Help). Most of these are blogs by authors, agents or publishers, or specialist resource sites for writers, so the advice is up-to-date and useful.

Then there was a question about how to write a query letter. Sarah offered the QWC Writers Guide on this topic. There are many of these Guides on the QWC site, very helpful, and not Queensland-specific so they should be useful to any writer (certainly any Australian writer). But there are also many other sites where you can learn the accepted structure of a query letter, dos and don’ts of querying, even have your query vetted by an agent (the amazingly generous site QueryShark, for example).

Why are so many writers seemingly unaware of these resources? Are many people still intimidated by the internet? Is it the sheer volume of available information that seems overwhelming? Or are writers wary of wading into these deep waters, knowing they’ll be tempted to swim around all day when they really should have stayed on the island keeping their notebooks dry and writing? (I know – me too).

I have to recommend Writers Digest’s Best 101 Websites for Writers. They make a new list annually, it’s divided into handy categories, and I’ve been delighted to find many sites on there that I’d already discovered through trial and error. I do try to add new links to my Links page if I think they’ll be helpful to others, but I can’t always keep up. The Writers Digest list is a good starting point.

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A Cage in Search of a Bird

Here’s a lovely peer-provided service: UK writer Alice Slater shares with her fellow writers upcoming competition and submission deadlines, among other fun things. She’s very diligent at searching these out (me I’m a bit more erratic, but will share things when I find them!)

Alice blogs at:


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Great links

If you haven’t checked out Fish Publishing’s “Links” page, do – there are lots of interesting and useful links here.

A lovely link for short story writers, readers and advocates is

There’s an extensive list of short story competitions, high-quality short stories to read, writing tips, and lots of other goodies.

If you find useful sites you think others might not be aware of, please feel free to put them in a Comment and/or let me know so I can post them.

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