Wednesday 14 December 2011

Goals for Short Stories

Goals: I've been thinking about them. I'll probably continue with my goal I've been using for the past two years, which is four subs to the professional press a week.

It's not as scary as it sounds, once you've built up a little inventory. Say you have four science fiction stories, right off the bat I can think of ten venues for them:

 Analog, Asimov, Clarkesworld, Cosmos, Daily Science Fiction, Digital Science Fiction, Fantasy and Science Fiction,   IGMS, Lightspeed, Lore. And I could go on. Honestly, there are heaps.

So four stories will give you 40 subs, and so on and so forth. Because the beauty of it is you can re-sub a rejected story to a new venue. Rejection is good. Yep, it's a great little goal.

But I've been trying to  think about a goal relating to improving quality. And I think I've come up with a good one.

Before I make a sub, read a story from that venue. 

Something that it seems only polite to do. And yet, although I do read heaps, it occurs to me that my reading can be patchy. The idea being that  reading and thinking about the story, will give me a better idea of the editors' taste, and hopefully (somehow, as if by magic) transfers some of that quality to my own writing.

Have you set your goals for 2012, yet? Any good ones?


  1. Good luck with your goals, Deborah.

    Quality is a great goal too - I hope that by reading and studying writers that I admire, my craft will improve also.

    I've decided to participate in W1S1 for 2012. I'm feeling amped about it now, but by June, I'm sure I'll be singing a different tune.

  2. Hi Erin,

    Quality goals are tricky, because often they're non-measurable. I'm so pleased you're going to be a W1S1 next year. It's fun.

  3. I'm going to join W1S1 too. Although I do sub and write a fair bit, I think this will help me be a bit more consistent and focussed.

    Like your idea of taking extra care to read stories published by the people you're subbing too. I do that, but I'm not consistent there either so I'll work on it.

  4. W1S1 is one of my 2012 goals. In this latter part of 2011, I've been experimenting with a new reading goal: one short story per day. I'm planning to make 2012 a 365-stories-read year. (I'm tracking this at the Stringing Words forum, by the way, should you care to join in the fun.)

  5. I need to be more proactive in sending stories to pro magazines. I always seem to send them to the same circle of magazines - Clarkesworld, Fantasy, Shimmer, Shock Totem and rinse and repeat. Heck, I need to be more proactive and write more shorts in 2012.

  6. Patsy and Elizabeth, I'll be pleased to see you both on the W1S1 one forums.

    @Elizabeth thank for the Stringing Words Forum, I'll go and check it out. I should be able to manage a short story a day (reading that is).

    @Cate, you gotta sub to more venues. More stories subbed means more Catey goodness I can read.

  7. Four pro subs per week. Wow. Deborah, I'm constantly in awe. And I love your Zen idea of rejection being a good thing. If it is, my Karma levels must be sky-high by now ...

    I think I may have to start adopting your goals for myself ...

  8. Well I rather like subbing. You should totally do it, Simon.

    And of course, that doesn't count the subs to semi-pro and token paying venues. I've been keeping my race score at 50 lately (ahem, 50 short stories on submission). I've got to admit, that's a little challenging.

  9. I've been making a habit of reading more pro-fiction, too, hoping it'll rub off on me. Yep, those 10 markets are always on my radar -- and the reason why my work is held-up for months on the pro-circuit only to be published later by semi-pro and token-paying markets. All part of the fun, right?

    And I'm right behind you with 48 stories currently on submission!

  10. 4 subs a week to pro venues, 50 stories on submission at a time. Wowsers! I think maybe i'm going to set a goal to get halfway to your numbers next year :-)

  11. @Milo, I'm finding 50 a bit of a struggle. Just for the time involved. But if you set yourself a challenge at first it's hard, then it gets easier.

    @Sam, you should set yourself some subbing goals. But don't worry about what other people do, I mean you're kind busy with C&C. But I like to let people know. I'm mean if somebody said, well I've got 100 subs out, I'd be like, hmmmmm . . .

    Mind you that will probably be Milo, next year.

  12. I like goals that I know I can achieve.
    Otherwise I'm really not going to bother.

    I am so damn lazy!

    So, write two stories a month, and keep everything subbed out.
    I should be able to manage that.


  13. That's a really good goal! It makes sense, and I think any amount of additional reading is going to help us in the long run anyway!

    As for my goals, yeah...I'm working on the list for the page on my blog. It's getting longer. hehe

  14. The problem with four a week is that it takes a lot more than a week for them to bounce back - so you must need about fifty to keep that up!

    That's an awesome goal. I need to up my game!

  15. Hey Lydia, we all have different times and inclinations for our writing. No worries.

    @ Sylvia, yep you need a bit of inventory, I was trying to hide that fact, to convince everyone to do things MY way. Hee, hee.

    @Trisha, You do pretty good. Here' hoping you hit your enormous list of goals this year.