Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Final-It's all about the details

Once you’ve come up with a great opening and an ending that will leave most readers satisfied—you need to remember the middle of the story.

I wrote about visiting a beach—not just any beach—but Rehobeth Beach in Delaware. I wrote about standing in line for my plane—but not any plane—Southwest airline.

Your best story is in the details. It becomes even more believable when your description is great.

Example: Your mother buys you some toys in the store. Better: Your mother buys you Play-Doh in Toys R Us.

When we write in details –we tell a much clearer and vivid picture.

Example: My three-year-old daughter pulled on her T-shirt and bib-overalls all by herself. (Instead of saying she put on her clothes.) Be specific as you can. The reader is pulled into the story through the details.

My final thoughts on writing a story for an anthology: Write and submit to a ton of them! Increase your odds.

With Chicken Soup, if they are interested in your story, you’ll first get an e-mail. Then as it gets closer to the publication, you’ll get a hard copy edit in the mail. After you send that back, you wait again for another e-mail either saying Congratulations, you made it in or you get a thank you but you made the top 150 but not in the book. The entire process could take more than a year.

Thanks for hanging in there while I shared what I’ve personally learned in writing for anthologies. As I first said, I’m in no way an expert, but if someone wants me to look over a story before you submit, ask!


Angie Ledbetter said...

These have been great. Thanks for sharing. I agree about the importance of crisp details and taking care of the story's middle. I can't tell you how many stories I have to reject at R&T because of a grossly saggy midsection. ;(

Janna Qualman said...

I'm curious to know, what's the longest period of time you've waited (after submitting to an anthology) before you've gotten that initial e-mail expressing their interest?
Thanks again, Terri, for sharing your insider secrets!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Wonderful tips, Terri. I've been thinking about reworking a couple of pieces for submssion there.


Yolanda said...

I've been to that beach! First time my husband and I, either one, had Crab Bisque, and we truly enjoy having it anytime we come across it now.


Tracy said...

Thank you so much for sharing this great information. It never even occured to me that I might have something to share. But you know what? I just might. I really appreciate your helpfulness and words of wisdom. Blessings!