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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 3391 days ago | hide | past | web | 10 comments | favorite

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.

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

Hm, I would not be happy about that.

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.

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).

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.

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

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.

Sardonic and hilarious!

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

Also, NaNoWriMo is helpful.

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