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Write From Home
Kim Wilson
P.O. Box 4145
Hamilton, NJ 08610

E-mail: kim @ writefromhome.com

Off the Page...
 
 

Writer's Dust
by Tama Westman

We all have stories we have written, revised and loved―and then shelved for one reason or another. Discouraged by rejection letters or well-meaning criticism, it is easier to salve our wounds and push the work to the back of our minds, than to push on for publication. Whether they are sitting on the shelf collecting dust or stuffed into a file folder that never sees daylight, let's pull these stories from their doomed state and find new markets for submission.

Polish 'til perfect
In a recent flip through the files, I found a forgotten story that had received great initial feedback from editors when I had submitted it SIX years ago. I remember the excitement about its potential publication. However, there were just a few editor's comments that I never responded to. I hate to admit it, but back then, I was more likely to get my feelings hurt by revision requests than to adjust my writing to fit an editor's needs. What a waste!

Pulling the pages from the folder, I reread A Minute Too Late. Now, I could see where the story needed better transitions, stronger descriptive content and a couple hundred less words. So, retype it I did, deleting here, embellishing there, and fine-tuning until I had one of my favorite stories tweaked to a new near-perfection.

Plowing the field
With my story refreshed and interest renewed, you know the next step...I yanked my 2007 Writer's Digest Writer's Market Guide from the shelf and began searching for publications well-suited for my story. An evening spent in my favorite chair with the market guide and a notebook produced a list of potential editors to contact.

The next day, I queried by e-mail five different publications, and received four responses within the hour. "Yes, A Minute Too Late sounds like a good fit. I'm interested. Please forward the story to..."

Prepare to repeat
Spurred on by the success of a revived story, I pulled out a few more forgotten files and book manuscripts collecting dust because I gave up on them. Written years ago when I had less experience, I'm hoping that my current skills will be able to edit them into more marketable manuscripts. How about you, do you have good material that is going nowhere because you've lost your momentum? Have you checked out all the new publications listed in the market guide? Many of these might make a perfect fit for what lies dormant in your files. I encourage us all to dust off those stories, and submit. As writers, we don't have to reinvent the wheel; however, keeping it oiled can prove beneficial.

 

Tama Westman writes the Off the Page column for Write From Home. An award-winning journalist, she teaches creative writing and poetry with the AHEAD program (Achieving Higher Education and Dreams) at Metropolitan State University, mentors high school journalism students, and speaks at writers conferences throughout the country. Married twenty-four years, and mother of two grown children, she lives in Minnesota. She loves to hear from other writers. Feel free to contact her at tama@tamawestman.com. For more, please visit http://www.tamawestman.com

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

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