Thursday, February 25, 2010

Podcasting – Another Outlet

I believe that finding markets for my work is as hard as the actual writing is; maybe harder. I labor for hours or days on a short story and then I have to research the constantly changing markets to determine where it’s going to fit best.

Many authors have turned to podcasting as a market for what they write. To some authors, the term podcast is scary and mysterious. But it doesn’t have to be. Think of podcasting as nothing more than an audio book, because that’s really what it is. It’s a recording of you, or someone else, reading your story and that recording is available from computers over the Internet.

You don’t have to have an iPod to enjoy listening to podcasts. And you don’t need an elaborate recording studio to create a podcast. If you’re reading this article, then chances are you already have much of the equipment you would need to create a podcast already.

But before you go out and start recording your stories and posting them on your website, there are a few things to consider. First, do you want to start your own podcast, or do you want to submit your story to a market that is already in the business of creating podcasts? Either is okay. Authors like Scott Sigler, Mur Lafferty, J.C. Hutchins and many others have decided to create their own individual brands and market their own material. Sometimes their podcasts are standalone short stories or they could be serialized novels. But the key phase is “create their own individual brands.” Are you prepared to do the marketing necessary to drive traffic to your podcasts? If so, great! But it isn’t for the faint of heart.

Other markets like The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine, Pseudopod, and The Drabblecast accept submissions from authors and turn them into podcasts. These markets generally focus on short stories rather than serialized novels.

And there’s one other thing about podcasts – you can add some special effects to make the listening experience even richer and more entertaining. It reminds me of the old-time radio shows that I used to listen to on Sunday nights. I can remember radio episodes of Gunsmoke that were so good I could actually visualize what was happening.

So if you are unfamiliar with podcasts and podcasting, check out some of the links I’ll provide at the end of this article. If you like audio books, I think you’re going to like podcasts. And if you do have an iPod or another type of .mp3 player, you can download the podcasts and take them with you. I like to listen to them on my way to work the way that others listen to audio books on CD.

Stay tuned for additional articles on how to create a podcast.

~Doug McIntire - The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine - Pseudopod - The Drabblecast - Scott Sigler’s Podcast - Mur Lafferty’s Podcast - J.C. Hutchins’ Podcast

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It Makes Sense

For the last two months I have been taking an awesome creative writing course through author Jeremy Shipp (he has another one starting--check it out here). During that time he had us do some great exercises and gave us feedback on many aspects of writing. Among the lectures and assignments, he focused on the importance of incorporating the senses into your work.

Just to recap. The five basic senses are:
  1. Sight
  2. Sound
  3. Smell
  4. Touch
  5. Taste
You can also have a sixth sense, private thoughts, and other extrasensory perceptions, but the big five are the main way most people perceive their world. As such, you have to make sure they are in your work. You don't have to put all five in every paragraph, but you do need to sprinkle them throughout the entire piece if you want to create a vivid and believable story.

Jessica Morrell in her book Thanks, But This Isn't For Us, has a great tip for making sure you have incorporated enough sensory detail. She recommends printing off your manuscript, getting at least five different colored highlighters (one for each sense) and highlighting each sensory reference with the appropriate color. You'll be able to easily identify which senses are lacking and where to incorporate them.

It may not seem like much, but since I have been using this method I have been able to create richer more vibrant scenes. It makes SENSE to use all the SENSES (bad pun but I had to!)

Happy Writing!

Monday, February 22, 2010

What's an Agatha?

It's an award given in the mystery field every year at the Malice Domestic conference in the DC area. This year it's April 30-May 2. And yours truly, Kaye George, is THRILLED to announce that one of my short stories has been nominated!

If you'd like to read my story, here's a link: "Handbaskets, Drawers, and a Killer Cold."

Five short stories are nominated for this award and the winner goes home with a cute little teapot, in keeping with the Malice Domestic theme of cozy mysteries. Liz Zelvin, another of the short story nominees is gathering links to all five nominated stories and, when she gets that done, I'll post its whereabouts here.

Meanwhile, I'll be walking on air!

Kaye George, Agatha nominated author

cloud photo by Axel Rouvin

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Quid Pro Quid

I am unsure how many authors, new and old, are asked to edit another person's work. These requests may annoy or stress us to the point where we feel like rejecting communication with the person or people asking. For others, the request may flatter, but we reject it anyway because, as is true for many writers, we do not have the time to devote to editing someone else's writing. We are too busy on our own project.

In between starting a new congregation of my faith in my hometown, marriage, diapers, and my own writing endeavors, I took on the challenge of editing a friend's full length novel. He did not ask, I volunteered. During the self-editing of Islands of Loar: Sundered I realized that I did not have a perspective removed enough from the work to do justice to the process.

Those of you who have taken the time to edit another person's work know what happened. On top of helping out a friend in a very meaningful way, I gained the perspective I needed to properly edit my own book. Though the work took a couple of months, I now feel refreshed and ready to delve back into self-editing.

I am not suggesting you take up a full time editing job, though I am considering doing so myself on top of writing. I am suggesting that you do it at least once for someone you can be honest with. That honesty part is important because if you hold back from constructive criticism, you hurt them instead of help.

If you have never done so before, perhaps the next time someone asks for help editing their work you will consider it. It may shift your perspective enough to get over that block or through the morass of your own writing.

In helping others you may just help yourself.

Happy editing!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Micro-Fiction is Real Writing

I’ve always enjoyed writing micro-fiction. First there was flash, stories under 1,000 words. Technically flash isn’t micro-fiction, but it was the gateway fiction that led me to micro. In other words, I tried it and I liked it. Next it was Six Sentences (, stories that were exactly six sentences in length. They helped me to tighten my story arch even further.

After that came drabbles, stories of exactly 100 words. I noticed that many of the stories I was submitting to Six Sentences were right around 100 words, so a little tweaking here and there and presto! I had drabbles.

After drabbles, I discovered 55 words. It was a website based on a contest from the New York Times. That didn’t last long because they stopped taking user submissions, but still, I was able to tighten my stories even further.

Then came Six Word Memoirs ( I could say whatever I wanted to, as long as it was in exactly six words. There isn’t a submission/rejection process for this one, but they do highlight the best ones on their front page, and they even name a Six Word Memoirist of the Day.

Finally it was tweets, stories that were a mere 140 characters or less that could be posted on Twitter. I submitted several stories before my first tweet was finally accepted by Tweet the Meat ( And this is what leads me to the point of my story.

Upon acceptance, I posted an announcement on my Facebook account, just like I do with all of my writing announcements. One of my friends posted a comment back that said, “That’s a good thing?”

In short, yes, it is. It’s not just a good thing, it’s a great thing! I had probably submitted 30 tweets before that one finally got accepted. But his comment highlighted what many may also be thinking. Well, as a writer, I write. Sometimes they’re tweets, sometimes it’s flash, and sometimes it’s a novel. The point is that I’m writing. And the micro-fiction is helping me tighten my prose. It also makes me submit and yes, get rejected. But that’s all part of the process. And it’s easier to have a tweet rejected because you don’t have the time investment in it that you have in a novel or even a short story.

So don’t let anyone tell you that micro-fiction isn’t real writing. It is. It serves a purpose, both for the author and for the reader. And if you get your micro-fiction accepted and published, it gets your name out there in front of a lot of people. So go on now, write that micro-fiction and be proud doing it!

~Doug McIntire

Sunday, February 14, 2010

In Honor of the Olympics – a Writing Competition, a website devoted to writing, is hosting a writing competition in Honor of the Olympics. It’s called the “Feats of Wonder” Competition.

According to the website, “Oftentimes it seems as though the smallest pebble can dislodge half a mountainside if you push it down the hill just so. Acts both large and inconsequential can have their impacts felt, as long as the conditions are right.”

They’re leaving it up to the authors to determine what a “feat of wonder” is.

Buy you have to hurry. Deadline is February 28th, so there isn’t a lot of time!
Go to: or for all the details!

~Doug McIntire

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


How many ways can a creative person think up to put off writing?

I can create spreadsheets, plot charts, clean off the desk (although that happens seldom), go for a walk (but that's working, really, because I'm thinking about my WIP, obviously), clean house (ditto the desk), play solitaire (ditto walking), update my webpage...OK, I'm running out of ways. I thought I was more creative than this!

I can always blog.

Here's the thing. A writer writes. Guess I'd better get to it!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Business Cards

One of the things you should think about is getting business cards for yourself, if you haven’t already. Even if you have, it may be time to pull them out and see if you might need to update them. As a writer, you’re the most likely to promote your work. And business cards are just another way of doing so.

I usually create two sets of business cards; one with all of my personal information like my address and phone number, and another with only my email and website. Depending on who I’m giving my card to determines which card they get.

And if you think you can’t afford business cards, let me introduce you to Vista Print ( On the Vista Print website, you can order 250 cards for the price of shipping (around $5). They have a dozens of attractive templates to choose from and it’s quite easy to design your own cards.

There are two things to remember with Vista Print. First, it takes 20-30 days for your cards to arrive, so order early. Second, your cards will say Vista Print on the back unless you pay an extra fee to have it removed (around $7, I think). But the logo isn’t distracting and I see a lot of business cards these days with the Vista Print logo on the back.

So what are you waiting for? Go get some cards. It’s so much easier when you go to workshops or conferences to hand out a card rather than have someone write down your contact information. It’s a great way to promote yourself and it makes you look like a serious professional.

~Doug McIntire

Thursday, February 4, 2010

What's chocolate got to do with it?

It's comfort food, that's what. When a writer is actively querying and, therefore, facing rejection every week, there's got to be something good happening to keep her going. (I know, some writers are him, but I'm a her and I'm writing this.) :)

Of course, it doesn't have to be chocolate, but there has to be a reward for all that punishment and drudgery. The results aren't likely to be seen for years, so a gal has to keep going somehow. I do it with chocolate. My reward for sending out five queries a week is an extra two squares of my daily dark chocolate. Regular daily dose on non-querying days is two squares, so this is double!

It's enough to keep me sending them out. Well, that and the prospect of representation!

(I just got my five out today, so I'm heading for the kitchen cupboard.)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Daily Writing Prompts

If you’re a follower of All Things Writing, you know that I put up writing prompts from time to time. I’m a big believer in writing exercises and the writing prompts are just something that stirs the imagination and gives you something to write about.

Well, rather than inconsistently adding writing prompts to this blog, I’ve decided that I’m going to put them on my website. I have two writing prompts for each day in February; a single word or phrase prompt and a longer prompt. The page is laid out in calendar form so it’s pretty easy to navigate.
And I plan to update the prompts each month, so if you’re looking for something to write about, check out My Writing Prompts at I hope you’ll check them out and I hope you like them.

And if you get something published based on using one of my writing prompts, that’s awesome! I’d love to hear about it!

~Doug McIntire