August 2009 Newsletter


Monthly Writing Challenge


Editors' Choices


Publication Announcements

Membership Info



Welcome to August!  Recently, an OWW member mentioned that she thought the Reviewer Honor Roll link was somewhat invisible. So here is a short introduction.  The Reviewer Honor Roll lists members who have contributed extremely useful reviews.  Authors receiving the reviews nominate the reviewers to the Honor Roll.  This serves as a token of appreciation and also guides newer members to high-quality reviews that can serve as examples.  So the Honor Roll is a pretty useful thing.  But where is it?  Well, once you log in, you'll find the Reviewer Honor Roll link at the bottom of the page.  Main workshop links are in the buttons on the left, secondary links are the buttons across the top, and all the other good stuff is in the text links at the bottom.  We will be looking at reworking our buttons and links in the future to further guide members--especially new ones--to all our features.

And now that you know where the Honor Roll is, reward a fellow reviewer by giving him or her a proper shout-out. If you found a review particularly helpful, let others know. It's a great way to find new reviewers and read new-to-you authors.

As always, contact us if you have any questions, publication announcements, or ideas for improving the OWW Newsletter or the workshop itself.

Maria Zannini, newsletter editor
newsletter (at)

Monthly Writing Challenge

The Heat is On!

Regardless which hemisphere you live in, we've all expereinced the searing summer heat. Rather than shrink from the discomfort of the heat, embrace it in your writing. This month's challenge is to write a scene set somewhere where the heat is unbearable. Find new ways to describe heat to your reader and make sure that the temperature affects your characters and/or plot. For an added challenge, take a previously written story or chapter and rewrite it under this extreme weather condition to see how your characters would react.

Remember: Challenges are supposed to be fun, but don't forget to stretch yourself. If you normally write fantasy, try SF. If you've never tried space opera, here's your chance. It doesn't have to be great. It's all about trying new things. There's no word limit, no time limit, no nothin'. Just have fun.

Challenges can be suggested by anyone and suggestions should be sent to Maria (newsletter (at)

We're still looking for a Challenge Dictator. If you think you can crack the whip and brew up diabolical challenges for the 'orkshop every month, please contact us for more information.


Stelios Touchtidis, our benevolent crit dictator and overlord for last month's Crit Marathon, has announced the winners.

1st place: Gio Clairval--$40 gift certificate and 1 copy of The Skewed Throne
2nd place: Elizabeth Hull--$30 gift certificate and 1 copy of the Skewed Throne
3rd place: Kendra Highley--$20 gift certificate and 1 copy of the Skewed Throne
4th place: Ladonna Watkins--1 copy of the Skewed Throne
5th place: Erin Stocks--1 copy of the Skewed Throne

Total Reviews: A whopping 1,297!

Thanks to everyone for their stunning contributions. You can thrust out your chest and hold those whiskers pointing up, tiger! Now take a nice little nap, do a little writing, get back to normal. I hope it's a better "normal."

I hope you enjoyed the many stories you read in those 21 days--I know I did. I know I intend to do a bit more reviewing than I had--it's easy to get out of the habit, especially when one has many extra points. And when we don't review, we sell short not only others, but ourselves. If the marathon ends leaving us with a good (if exhausting) taste for the fun of interacting with each other in the most meaningful way, then it will have well served its purpose.

Editors' Choices

The Editors' Choices are chosen from the submissions from the previous month that show the most potential or otherwise earn the admiration of our Resident Editors. Submissions in four categories--science fiction chapters, fantasy chapters, horror, and short stories -- receive a detailed review, meant to be educational for others as well as the author. 

This issue's reviews are written by Resident Editors Gary A. Braunbeck, Karen Meisner, John Klima, and Karin Lowachee. The last four months of Editors' Choices and their editorial reviews are archived on the workshop. Go to the "Read, Rate, Review" page and click on "Editors' Choices." 

We have no short-story review this month but Karen will be back next month.

Congratulations to the current Editors' Choice authors!

Editors' Choices, Fantasy

THIEF'S COIN, Chapter 20, by Michael Staton

Often fantasy novels are huge, rich tomes, filled with a myriad of characters and locations, detailed histories, fantastical creatures, and much, much more. To write them, you either have to be in possession of an amazing memory or take meticulous notes. This is one of the many reasons why I don't write novel-length fiction (and even short-story length fiction is rarely accomplished here at any rate). I guess I'm admitting that I'm just a little lazy. That, and being busier than what I know what to do with. Michael Staton, on the other hand, does not suffer the same deficiency that I do.

With the number of characters and plotlines that are evident in this one chapter I have to assume that Staton is keeping excellent notes. No offense meant to his brain power, but good notes are the only way to go when writing something long and complicated. Every fantasy writer I know keeps copious notes about not only the novel they're writing, but everything they can think of about the world in which their story is set. I've had many a conversation where authors talk about whole areas of research they completed that never appeared in their book; but it was something one of the characters needed to know, so the author felt a need to know it, too.

Now, you might wonder at the confidence with which I can state that Staton is keeping notes on his novel. But the thing is, I'm not reading a published novel. I'm not reading something that's been through the editorial process, that's been scrubbed clean by a copyeditor. The chapter I'm reading is from, in Staton's own words, an "early draft, not yet completed." Just reading the synopsis leading into the chapter showed me that Staton is keeping notes. Maybe I don't need to say it, but I will anyway: no matter how involved you are in your novel, you have to keep notes.

Keeping notes will allow your characters to have histories, allow you to create multiple plotlines, allow you to make a complicated narrative structure, it will allow you to create characters and situations that thrill and entice your reader. Just as important, it will give you the chance to be consistent throughout your novel in spelling, timelines, and a myriad of other things that make a novel fun to read.

I know that in the past, I've talked about character names and pronoun usage. And I'm going to talk about it again. In the opening sentence of this chapter, two men are walking through a corridor and then Staton refers to a "he." It seems fairly clear which "he"' Staton is talking about, but it would greatly aid the reader to be absolutely clear. I see this more often than I'd like. Pronouns are great, particularly if you're created tongue-twisting names (which is not something I recommend or like) and don't want to use the name over and over again. But you need to be careful that you aren't confusing the reader. The first time I read this sentence I ascribed the "he" to the wrong character and was left confused.

There are other considerations where names are concerned. Back to tongue-twisting names.  When you want to use a difficult name, go ahead. Write up the chapter or section when that character is introduced. Then read it out loud. Then give it to someone else to read out loud. Can you (either of you) pronounce the name without stumbling? Do you get tired of the name with its repetition? Take Nebuchadnezzar, for example. He was a very real historical figure, but you'll wear yourself out using his name a lot in a novel.

The flip side of this is using commonplace words for names, such as Shadow or Stealth. I suspect this comes from Tolkein's Strider, but it could come from other places as well. The problem I have with these is that common words carry their own connotations, some of which you are trying to have the reader infer, and others you aren't. With Staton's use of the word stealth as a character's name, I kept getting bogged down in the unintended double entendres (often double entendres are risqué, but they are not always so) the word implied to me.  Think about the various effects of your names, from pronunciation woes to meanings or flavors you did not mean to introduce into your story.

One scene in the chapter did not ring true to me. Towards the end, the emperor's mistress, Illisandra, toys with the mage Teverus as they both know information that the other people at dinner would like to know. Teverus had assumed that Illisandra's revealing of this information was the reason he had been called back to the castle. I didn't care for the way that Staton took this conversation. Illisandra posed some very loaded questions to Teverus, who didn't rise to the bait. However, neither did anyone else. Now, it could be that it would not be appropriate for the others at dinner to comment on this conversation, but everyone at the table is of high enough standing that I would think some sort of comment would be warranted.

All in all, this is a well-crafted chapter. The tension during dinner is wonderful, and I like the back-and-forth between Illisandra and Teverus (with the one exception noted above). I also like that the plot line from this chapter is only one of many (based on the synopsis), but that all the plotlines are twisted together -- you can see some of that even in this small part of the novel. I also like that Illisandra and Teverus have a history that goes back centuries. Now that's the kind of stuff I love about fantasy novels.

--John Klima, Editor, Electric Velocipede

Editors' Choices, Science Fiction

THE CURE FOR FALLING, Chapter 2, by Giovanni Giusti

Seven months ago a later chapter in this novel was chosen as an Editor's Choice, and it's good to see that the author has continued to work on this idea.  It was intriguing and well-written then and it's still intriguing and well-written now. This earlier chapter covers the beginning, middle, and end of one incident. The reader is introduced to Ron Harrison, a Federal agent tasked to retrieve a fallen experimental Air Force plane ... but there's some mystery as to how and why it fell, and where it is. The title for this novel seems to elicit the theme, or at least a main part of the subject matter, and works well as a title -- it's interesting and mysterious.

Ron is portrayed well as a man with something to prove -- apparently he's screwed up previous assignments and looks on this one as a way to redeem himself. He's surrounded by other agents, all pretty distinctly shown (especially Morris -- wonderful deadpan characterization), though the descriptions do get repetitive especially regarding Gary. The reader doesn't need to be as frequently reminded of some of the details, though I can see why the author might've been concerned that all of those men in one scene might prove confusing.

Speaking of details, the nitpicky things to work on for this chapter are dialogue paragraphing, word repetition, and Jim's name, which suddenly became Jack! Regarding the dialogue and repetition:

"You folks looking for something?" Ron and Gary hadn't even gotten to the man's porch yet. The man probably sat by his window looking for strangers. Or maybe he was expecting company. The old man came out in his jean coveralls and t-shirt, the Class A uniform of the desert hillbilly. He looked at Ron and the other agent, wearing their yuppie casuals. He looked around them at the two Jeep Wranglers, seemingly more annoyed with them. "Hey, I'm Ron Harrison." Ron took off his sunglasses, put on his widest smile, and reached out his hand.

Ron's line should be in a separate paragraph; the start of dialogue always starts a new paragraph.  Pay particular attention to repeated words, in this case "man." There are other instances of this in the chapter, too; fixing it is just a matter of going through the draft with a fine-toothed comb to smooth out the text.

The broader issues in the chapter are also easy fixes, since it's clear the author has a knack for dynamic storytelling. The main item to pay attention to is the staging of the characters. Don't lose them in the action so that their actual physical placements in the action become blurry or unanchored. For example, the old man named Jim (or Jack?) was suddenly in the scene and we get an indication that he stepped out of his door, but it wasn't mentioned that he went down the porch steps. By the last line of the excerpt, they must be within hand-shaking distance; did the old man come off the porch or did Ron go onto the porch? Small stuff, but it matters greatly to leading the reader smoothly through a scene. 

When the altercation between Jim and the agents ensues we lose the physicality of the scene. The agents are suddenly dragging him up the steps but in the reader's mind's eye he was just outside of his door. Making the reader have to readjust the staging can create confusion. Of course a writer doesn't want to track a character's movements in every minute detail but when people come and go out of scenes, anchoring them at first in a specific location is important, especially when something like a fight occurs and hands and feet and intentions are flying everywhere. 

A similar thing happens once they're inside Jack's house. We don't physically see the house at all (though the dialogue is great), much less where everyone is in relation to each other. A brief description of the layout and the look and smell of the place would go a long way to fleshing out the scene. Especially since Ron is a trained Federal agent, his immediate impressions of the house would be very in keeping with his character -- automatic assessment of an area they are going to thoroughly search. We get a little bit of color concerning the house toward the end of the chapter but that could be beefed up and moved earlier. It's also mentioned that Jack's shotgun was disabled but it comes a little late -- that detail would logically go first as one presumes it would be the first thing the agents do upon getting inside.

The pacing of the chapter works perfectly and so does the ending when there is a discovery with still quite a bit of mystery to carry over the reader to the next chapter. The dialogue is sharp and rings true of these men in that specific situation (the sidebar about the porn on Jack's computer is brilliant). Work on the environment details and the more cinematic aspects of the scene (where people are, what they are doing, and what the set looks like) and this chapter will truly sing.

--Karin Lowachee

Editors' Choices, Short Story

There is no short story EC for this month.  Look for a new review from Karen Meisner in next month's newsletter!

Editors' Choices, Horror

 DIANA'S WOODS by Richard Fuller

Richard, you stated that you feel the weakest part of your writing is your dialogue, but you've made it difficult to judge its strength and/or weakness because there is so very little of it. What dialogue you do have attempts to do all things good dialogue should do: move the story forward, introduce back-story elements that, if presented in the narrative passages, would come off as a heavy-handed info-dump, enrich characterization and illustrate the shifting dynamics within characters' relationships, and add strength to the tone of the piece.

For the most part, what dialogue you do have doesn't really accomplish these things. What makes this additionally frustrating is that it's obvious that you know what you're supposed to be doing with your dialogue, but feeling that your dialogue is weak, you figuratively run away from using it and have your characters almost literally run away from using it. For example, when Buck and Artie arrive at the camp, they exchange no words whatsoever with Red before Buck is rushing out to his tree stand.

I want to point out the two places where you do use dialogue correctly and well. The most obvious example is the scene near the end when Artie explains to the wounded Buck what happened to him. The dialogue between the two of them fills in blanks, advances the story, and flirts with illustrating a relationship between the two men. (You do a much better job of illustrating their relationship in the second paragraph of the story, where Artie smiles through his hangover and silently begs Buck to shoot him. This paragraph -- a beautifully-contained silent scene -- offers the reader some tantalizing hints about the humor that seems to be the core of their friendship, and makes the reader impatient for you to show the two of them good-naturedly one-upping each other...which, alas, never happens.)

But let's take a look at the first instance of dialogue that you employ well and correctly: Uncle Red's greeting when Artie and Buck pull up to the cabin: "Where've you two been? I knew they would choke before it was over, but you guys had to see the game through to the bitter end, and now look at you."

Whether you realize it or not, you've set up an awful lot with these two brief lines of dialogue. The first thing, obvious from the way he phrases it, is that Red had told Buck and Artie sometime previously that the team would lose, which implies -- and allows the reader to correctly infer -- that the three of them are friends. Not only that, but friends who know one another well enough to predict each other's behavior: "...but you guys had to see the game through to the bitter end, and now look at you." This little bit of good-natured "I-told-you-so" and scolding from Red does an excellent job of setting up the depth and boundaries of the three's relationship. This is further enriched by Red's next lines, in which he informs them that he's made coffee for them and has the fire going: this shows the reader that Red cares about Buck and Artie.

But you leave it at that. Red has only those four lines of dialogue and never appears onstage again, not even when he dies at the end. Your avoidance of using much dialogue in these early scenes renders Red almost completely disposable as a character.  He serves no purpose other than to take off-stage action that is later related to Buck through Artie -- who could very well have done everything he says Red has done: Buck was unconscious, so how would he know otherwise? Artie could very well say, "I heard your shot and then a crash and I came running..."

You set this up for a "getting-to-know-them" scene, which the reader expects and the story demands. There could be a little more good-natured ribbing between the three of them, Red could make inquiries about Buck's family (who are mentioned only once in a throwaway line), the relationships could be explored a little more so that the reader comes to like all three of them before they all separate the next morning, and you could also fix a very big problem that emerges in the final pages of the piece, specifically in this passage:

The stems were tied together with a piece of cord made of thin, twisted strips of some kind of dried skin. Not sure why, he thought of the mutilated corpse that was found the previous summer in the woods of a nearby camp. The news had said there was a rifle on the ground and that it looked like a poacher had been killed and then butchered. No one was ever arrested. Buck had a bad feeling he knew what happened to some of the victim's skin.

This is an awfully important piece of information to keep from the reader for so long, and appearing as it does near the end, it seems almost as if you couldn't figure out how else or where else to introduce it.

The solution: dialogue with Red at the beginning of the story -- and Red would be the one to have this information at hand, since I had the impression that he was the one who'd been in the club for a while, who arranges things, who keeps up about local occurrences. You could perhaps have Red insist that they hunt in pairs instead of going solo (thus reaffirming his affection and concern for Buck and Artie, as well as gaining reader sympathy). Introducing the information about the mutilated corpse early on would not harm the ending's power -- it would, in fact, add to it, since you could keep the line Buck had a bad feeling he knew what happened to some of the victim's skin where it already is in the story.

The way your story is structured, this early scene in the cabin is the only place you have the opportunity to really use dialogue to its strongest effect. I strongly suggest you do this.

A few minor points: When Buck is shot, you describe it as being " a bolt from an angry god."  Cut that line. It hammers your point far too hard, it's too obvious, and if you keep it you run the risk of making readers feel as if you think they're not smart enough to gather who and what it is from the story's title.

If there is any possible way you can bring Red back onstage before his death at the end, it would be much more effective and affecting.

And, lastly, do not switch to Diana's viewpoint for the last line; keep it from Buck's POV by doing something like this: "Even as her string was released, Buck knew it was a kill shot."

I focused mostly on the dialogue because you cited it as your major concern (rightfully so), but I wanted to say here at the end that you have excellent descriptive abilities. The look, feel, smell, and life of the forest is superbly portrayed, and makes the forest itself the fourth character. None of the descriptive passages rang false to me. If you can bring yourself to employ more dialogue, and make it as rich and affecting as your descriptive passages, this is going to be a wonderful story.

--Gary A. Braunbeck
Co-editor of Masques 5 and Five Strokes to Midnight, and author of Coffin County and The Collected Cedar Hill Stories


Have I got a treat for you this month! Our guest this month is Kristin Nelson, president and senior agent at Nelson Literary Agency.  Ms. Nelson also runs the wildly popular Pub Rants blog "where a nice Midwesterner breaks free of her genteel upbringing and says what's on her mind--politely of course--some habits are really hard to break."

Please welcome Kristin Nelson!Kristin Nelson

To my knowledge, you were one of the first agents to welcome e-queries. Do you find it easier to prospect for manuscripts this way or do you do this more for environmental reasons?

Here's my philosophy about e-mail queries. I want to work with authors who are internet and e-mail savvy because marketing online is so crucial to success these days. That was originally the reason why we asked for e-mail queries only--even in the very beginning of my agency (which opened in 2002). Now, it's because we don't want to handle the paper. We have a recycling company that comes every other month to do the shred and I'm amazed that our bin is always full--even when everything is supposed to be done electronically!

I personally can't say whether it's easier or harder to prospect for manuscripts this way but I do know that we handle it on a regular basis because it's done electronically. My assistant and associate agent Sara Megibow and I can access our query inbox remotely--so we can keep up on stuff even if we are working from home or are traveling.

Many authors find it hard to write a query. Can you offer any advice on how to write a query that would capture your interest?

Why yes I can! Big smile here. I did a whole "how to write a query letter pitch blurb" workshop on my blog It's called Agent Kristin's Blog Pitch Workshop and your readers can find it on the right hand column if they scroll down. Not only that, I also include links to my clients' original query letters (so they can see queries that landed agents). I also share my own pitch letter to editors when my projects went out on submission. Lots of really valuable info on how to write that darn query letter on that blog so give it a look.

How important is voice in a query? For example, if a query came across with a terrific voice, but the word count was too short or the premise too commonplace, would you ask to see the manuscript anyway?

Yes! Voice is everything and the best query letters do a great job of nailing the voice of the novel in the pitch blurb of the query letter.

What has been a hard sell lately? And what do editors seem to ask for most?

The hard sell lately is borderline books. A year ago, if a novel needed a tad bit of work but the editor loved the voice and the story concept, he or she would buy it and work with the author. Not anymore. Now, if the editor thinks the manuscript might need some work, maybe a couple of rounds of revisions to really nail the story, they are cautious and passing. Novels really need to be perfect now.

What are editors asking for most?

The same thing I've always said, a wonderful story beautifully told. This can apply to any genre of fiction. For me, if I can't find an easy and passionate way to talk about a book, I'm passing.

Since your agency opened in 2002, what's the most significant thing in the publishing world that has changed the way you do business?

Sony eReaders. When I first started agenting, editors still insisted on paper full manuscripts. I think I submitted novels that way for the first two years. Then I started talking editors into taking my submissions electronically so they could have a jump on the competition. But even then, editors were downloading the file and then sending 50 pages to the printer to read. If they liked it, then they would print out the rest.

Now it's all about saving money so all submissions are done electronically and now every editor I know has a Sony eReader and some have Kindles. That's the only way they read submissions now. About time, I say. Since the beginning, my agency only did things electronically.

Are you finding it harder to negotiate good contracts with publishers due to our economic times?

The economy doesn't really have an impact on negotiations for contract clauses but if you are talking about advances, that's a different story. Are editors paying less for novels? The answer is Sometimes. For established authors doing well, I've seen no change in the level of advance offered. In fact, I've done some of my biggest deals in just the last six months. For debuts, yes, the atmosphere is for more caution but if the project is hot (as in, lots of houses want it) then publishers are still willing to go to bat for it. It's those novels that fall between that are suffering the most or the midlist author who has decent sales but not enough to really get them a bump in the advance when the next offer comes around.

Will advances continue to get smaller? Are NY publishers getting more creative with the advances they do offer?

In general, NY publishers are not creative. And if they wanted to be creative, it's not the advance where creativity needs to happen, it's in the royalty structures where true creativity may lie; and NY houses are like the Titanic--they can see the iceberg but the ship is just too darn big to turn quickly enough. It's hard to be nimble and change your model if you are a big company.

Can you tell us the funniest thing that's ever happened to you as an agent?

During my first children's book deal, I didn't realize that the hardcover royalty structure for children's was different than adults. I was appalled when the editor wouldn't give me the escalation to 15%; I was ready to walk away. I erroneously thought she wasn't taking the negotiation seriously. The poor editor was in a huge panic. She kept repeating that they never gave 15% hardcover for debut authors--only to established folks with long track records. So I ended the conversation for the moment and rang up a fellow agent friend who specialized in children's stuff. I told this agent friend the story and she started laughing. Good luck getting that for a debut, she said, but if I did, she wanted to know this strategy I was using. I had to ring up the editor up and go Oops, didn't know that. Sorry. We happily did the deal.

Today I have a wonderful relationship with this editor and we have several clients together. We still joke about that first negotiation and she was right, bestselling authors with great track records can get 15% in hardcover. Grin.

What do you like to do to recharge your batteries?

You are probably going to laugh but I love to play Ultimate Frisbee. In the summer, I play every Tuesday night. Alas, I love it but I'm truly the old lady on my team being in my forties. It's a popular sport with young people. These days, I can't keep up with a 22-year-old but I like to console myself with the fact that I have to play smarter--and that's my advantage.

I suspect that Chutney, the Office Wonder Dog, really knows how to relax despite living in a hectic environment. Has he shared any of his relaxation tips with you or your staff?

Chutney's biggest tip? Take naps. It always does her a world of good.... : )

Publication Announcements

Brandon Bell says: "I just wanted to let you know my story 'Abraham Discovers an Artifact Impenetrable to all Harm' has been published in M-Brane SF #5. I posted this story a couple times on OWW, and the ending was always the
issue. In my last rewrites, I added some elements originally intended for a follow-up story, fleshed out the ending a little, and addressed some specific complaints. Thanks to everyone who critted this one."

Brenta Blevin tells us: "Sword & Sorceress 24 will publish my story 'Material Witness' in November of this year."

Gio Clairval wrote: "My flash fiction 'Tea with the Bird-Headed Lover' worshopped on the OWW, will appear in the anthology LAST DRINK BIRD HEAD, a literacy charityedited by Jeff and Ann VanderMeer , in October 2009. A heartfelt 'thank you' to the reviewers who kindly took a look at my first flash fiction (ever) and helped me snatch my first publication credit. I got 36 (!!!) crits in four days (sub and re-sub), and I never would have been able to whip the damn thing into shape so quickly (I had been invited to contribute some time ago but I had a hard time starting to write something that seemed soooo difficult to pull off -- an entire story in less of 500 words). And, marvel, I got a positive answer only one hour after sending out the file."

Tom Crosshill writes: "Very happy to announce that my tale 'Seeing Double' has placed 1st in Writers of the Future. The story wasn't workshopped at OWW, but I did get very helpful input from former OWWer Neal M. Swain (a friend from the Del Rey days). Super excited here! I joined OWW in 1999 (I think), shortly after I started writing SF/F as a teenager growing up in Eastern Europe. It took "only" ten years, with admittedly long breaks in between, to this first sale. Thanks so much to everyone who supported me along the way! (You would have known me as Toms K -- I've since switched to a pen name)."

Adrian Firth announces: "joyful! bought 'Interlude in an Empty Heaven' for November, and The Absent Willow Review are placing 'Final Refrain' in September. Thanks to all reviewers--some from four years back! On file I have Maura McHugh, Karen Newton, Bruce Davis, Helen Hyndes-Snodgrass, Sean MacUisdin, Lisa Bouchard, Tony Peak, Corie Conwell, Esme Ibbotson, Brit Marschalk, Duane Grippen, Kenneth Rapp, Roger McCook, Jeremy Yoder, Sherry T, Nate Smith, and Chris Green."

Bonnie Freeman announced: "I participated in Flash Me Magazine's Flash Fiction Boot Camp at the beginning of last month and churned out several flash exercises under the whip-cracking guidance of the magazine's editor-in-chief (and fellow OWW member) Jennifer Dawson. I'm happy to report that one of my exercises, 'Alien Brothel,' has been accepted by Flashot.

April Grey tells us: "My flash fiction 'The Butterfly Dream' will be in Everyday Weirdness on July 24th. Yippee!"

Jannette Johnson wrote: "I got the e-mail this afternoon. BRAVE BLUE MICE has accepted my short 'Return To Eden' for publication in the August 1st issue. Ask me if I'm happy."

Deborah Kalin says: "Today I have exceedingly good news: I have sold a story to Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. Tentative publication date is April 2010. For those playing along at home, I wrote the first draft of this story in January 2005, during my stint at Clarion. (Actually, since it was my week-one story, I probably started it, in some brief and jotted form at least, in late December 2004.) I can't remember what I called it at the time (probably something genius like 'Untitled'), but it's since acquired the title 'Shaping Lily.' It's a quaint little story, and one I'm very fond of, so I'm glad it's found a good home."

Sandra Panicucci announced that "The Autumn Wood" sold to Sorcerous Signals for the Aug-Oct issue.

Elizabeth Schechter told us: Yesterday at 5:48 PM, I submitted a new short story to Circlet for their upcoming anthology Like a Queen. The story was an erotic retelling of Christina Rosetti's The Goblin Market. Today, at 5:25 PM, I got the contract. I think that might be a record."

Membership Info

Fees: $49/year, $30/6 months, or $6/month. First trial month free. (more)

How to pay: PayPal, Kagi, check in US dollars, money order in US dollars, barter (more)

Scholarship fund: We accept scholarship fund donations and award full or partial scholarships to active members in need. (more)

Gift memberships: You can give a gift membership for another member; just send us a payment by whatever method you like, noting who the membership is for and specifying whether the gift is anonymous or not. We will acknowledge receipt to you and the member.

Bonus payments: The workshop costs only 94 cents per week, but we know that many members feel that it's worth much more to them. 25% of any bonus payments we receive will go to our support staff; the rest will be tucked away to lengthen the shoestring that is our budget and keep us running! (more)


Got a helpful tip for your fellow members? A trick or hint for submitting or reviewing, for what to put in your author's comments, for getting good reviews, or for formatting or titling your submission? Share it with us and we'll publish it in the next newsletter. Just send it to support (at) and we'll do the rest.

Until next month--just write!

The Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror
support (at)