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How to Write Stories (and lose weight, clean up the environment, and make a million dollars) (oxfordamericanmag.com)
54 points by jdale27 2689 days ago | 10 comments



Short stories are a tough market. Few people can make a living writing fiction, and almost nobody can make a living selling short stories. (I've been told this was not the case 50 years ago.) There's a good percentage of professional fiction writers who stay away from short stories, not because it isn't a nice form, but because it won't pay the bills.

If for some reason you must write sci-fi/fantasy short stories, you should submit to the Writers of the Future contest. Great prizes, no entry fee, and you won't be competing against anyone who has already sold 2 or more stories. Write 4 stories per year and submit them to each quarter's contest. And stomp on a few cans while you write.

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"The winning stories are published in the yearly anthology L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of Future"

Hm, I would not be happy about that.

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I wasn't aware of any scientology connection (aside from the contest founder) until after I won it and my wife & I were at the week-long all-paid workshop in LA. One of the best experiences of my life. They try to maintain a wall between any scientology and the science-fiction contest. None of the judges or teachers, to my knowledge, are scientologists. If you ask the judges, people like Orson Scott Card and Gregory Benford, they'll tell you what a great opportunity it is. The 15 winners I met at the workshop weren't scientologists either. Fun people, great writers.

The people I met who ran the contest were scientologists, and they were very nice people. Hubbard put the money up for the contest as a payback for his early sci-fi career. I also wouldn't turn down a Nobel prize because Nobel invented dynamite and was an armaments manufacturer.

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Interesting. If I ever manage to hack a sf story together, maybe I will reconsider the contest. I think also Scientology has a much worse reputation in Europe than in the US (I am in Europe).

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That was really enjoyable. Practical and amusing. I sympathize, somewhat, with the plight of a career-writer. I have a hard enough time just getting a few blog posts up every week.

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Alternatively, you could go and live a life, so that you might have something to write about.

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There's truth in this. I very much enjoy Philip Greenspun's writing. Most of it is of the general form, "I did X, and here's what happened and what I learned from it."

If you never do X, writing about it would be superficial, at best.

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Sardonic and hilarious!

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If you liked this short story at all, go buy Choke or Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk.

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Also, NaNoWriMo is helpful.

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