Lately I've been doing a lot of market hunting, seeking out journals and zines where I might submit work and stand at least some chance of receiving a nice green YES. There are so many markets out there, both for print and online publications, which is great because guess what? It means people are still reading, despite all the talk about it being a dwindling and/or antiquated interest. But, awesome as it is that there are so many markets to choose from, that doesn't necessarily mean it's easy to find one that would be a good fit for a particular story.
One problem I keep encountering is word count minimum/maximum, in conjunction with genre limitations. Find a place where the genre works, the piece has too many/too few words. Find one where the word count works, it's the wrong genre. Nothing to be done for that unless the count can be expanded or reduced to fit, and if either of those does work, great, but unless it really works, you run the risk of either "padding" the story or stripping it too bare, and you might come across as pandering, all that sort of thing.
Market hunting requires real research and real research requires real time. Even when working from market lists, you still have to go check out the publication, review the submission guidelines, read at least a few stories they've accepted to get a feel for whether or not your work might fit...just within the past week, I've spent a couple days doing nothing but research.
Moral of the story: writers don't get to spend all their time writing.
But, one great thing about devoting that time (aside from the possibility of getting published, of course) is the fact that you can pick up all sorts of things. Publications that you especially like and want to read regularly, even if you don't see any chance of your work appearing there, publications to set forth as a goal (I really want to see my work there!), individual authors that you especially like, links to other markets, workshops, writer's groups...and last but not least, genre-specific publications for genres you've never considered.
In my last post I talked about the possibility of attempting to write manga. Still undecided on that one, have a lot more research to do, but during my recent market hunting, I ran across another possibility via checking out some genre-specific publications: western.
I've lived in places that used to be "the wild west", known quite a few gen-u-ine cowboys, watched plenty of cowboy movies, read some great western stories, but never thought about spinning my own western yarn. Reading those recent yarns by others, I realized something: they seem like they'd be fun as heck to write. The cowboy lingo, the larger than life characters, the screwball and/or do-or-die situations, all the posse-forming and outlaw-chasing and hoosegow-tossing, all the howdy, ma'am and hat-tipping and solving every problem known to man with a Winchester or a Colt. Or a polo mallet:
|Really this is just an exhibition sort of thing at Coney Island|
And no, I'm not at all making fun of western genre or saying it would be easy to write, so any western writers out there, please don't take offense. I'm saying the lighter stuff seems totally fun and the grittier stuff seems...okay, it seems totally fun, too, but I promise I don't mean that in a negative sense. I've written a few detective stories, and it's the same way with those. Whether it's the bumbling wannabe gumshoe or the hard-boiled veteran P.I., still fun.
So, oddly enough, not long after I started thinking about trying something in the western genre, I ran across a writing prompt that inspired that very thing. Odder still, the prompt wasn't at all western in nature, and I didn't approach it with that idea in mind. It just naturally progressed in that direction.
I'm now 3,943 words into my first western tale. Horizons officially expanded.
AND I sent out two more stories this week, leaving me with four to go to meet my half-dozen goal.