Archive for the ‘Writers' Toolkit’ Category



October 10, 2009

Posted by Rick

Duotrope’s Digest is a new resource I just got turned onto by David Rubalcava.

Like the Poets & Writers listing I mentioned a while back, Duotrope’s Digest gives a listing of publications that accept poetry and short stories. Here’s a blurb from their home page:

Welcome to Duotrope’s Digest, a free writers’ resource listing over 2625 current Fiction and Poetry publications. Use this page to search for markets that may make a fine home for the piece you just polished. Use the menus at the top and right to explore the rest of the free services we offer writers and editors, including a free online submissions tracker for registered users. We usually make several updates per day, and we check each of the current listings regularly (once a week for most listings) to ensure the most up-to-date database humanly possible. So far today, we have checked guidelines for 241 listings. So far today, we have made 20 updates.


Writing Prompt Wednesday

September 18, 2009

Run with it! Make of it what you will.



Writing Prompt Wednesday. Now on Fridays!

September 11, 2009

I come across some interesting photos in my internet travels that I often think would make for great writing prompts. If you’ve ever taken Dan Mueller’s “Image in Narrative” seminar, you know where I’m coming from.

Anyway, my plan is to run an image or so each week and then when you’re needing some ideas, you can check in here.

I mean, really. Look at this photo and tell me there isn’t a great story in here.

Photo courtesy of




Like a Free Copy of Writer’s Market: Revisited

September 11, 2009

Posted by Rick

After my post about the Writer’s Market-like features on Poets & Writers’ website, Joanna sent a comment hipping us to I haven’t had time to look through the whole site, but it looks like a one stop shop for finding markets and submitting. This appears to be a great site if you’ve got a lot of stories that you’d like to keep organized.

According to Joanna “it has all free listings and they have agents and publishers too.”

If anybody else has used this before, leave a comment and tell us what you thought.


Do Creative Writers Need to Know Grammar?

September 10, 2009

posted by Jennifer

Those of us in the MFA / Creative Writing program here at the University of New Mexico are required to take English 501:  Introduction to the Profession of Writing.  Until recently the course included the dreaded Virginia Tufte book, Artful Sentences.  I thought as a 2nd year student–  one who took the required 501–  was done with that book.

Then I signed up for The Art of the Popular Essay…  and lo and behold one of the required texts….  yup, you guessed it, Artful Sentences. ugh.

It’s not that I don’t see the value of grammar. I’m actually a bit of a language / grammar / linguistics geek myself.  It’s good to have the vocabular to talk about your writing and prose style and a mechanical understanding of our language.  I’ve even argued points with editors publishing my work. And I won.

The Tufte book, in my opinion, offers some worthwhile information and lots of samples of good writing.  In 501 Professor Warner had us use the book as a guide to analyze our own writing, which in and of itself was worthwhile…  but the book is dense and difficult to read at times.  And besides, it’s been more years than I care to admit to since I had grammar in school…  I felt like I needed a refresher course on

A better resource, or maybe a companion to the Tufte book should you find yourself stuck with it is The Online Writing Lab (OWL) over at Purdue University.  My favorite section is the one on grammar, specifically a primer on the parts of speech.

And if that doesn’t do it for you, there’s always School House Rock:


Writers Block? we don’t need no stinkin’ writers block

September 10, 2009

Posted by Jennifer

In the MFA program its easy to get caught up in reading material for courses, and if you’re a TA, prepping for teaching and grading papers.  Even in the writing workshops we often find ourselves playing with prose, experimenting with structure and responding to critique–  and sometimes not getting on with the business of writing.

And sometimes we get — dare I say it–  writer’s block.

My friend Midge Raymond just started a regular column, The Writer’s Block: Living a Writer’s Life, offering tips on writing … and submitting, researching, editing, networking, marketing, and everything else.

And she  knows of what she speaks…  her book Forgetting English has been getting rave reviews and awards all over the place!


Self-Published Magazines?

September 7, 2009

Posted by Rick

Self-publishing has been going on since, well, a long, long time ago. Long before the printing press. And for a while, getting your book self-published was doable for a “nominal fee.” You just had to hope that your mom and grandparents would buy enough copies for you to recoup your costs.

In recent years, print-on-demand (POD) technology has made it possible to publish books with little or no capital. In fact, your book is not printed until it is purchased, saving on warehousing. Not that this is a great way to get your stuff read because, even though you may get your book placed on Amazon, it’s probably not getting read by the reviewers, agents, and editors that you need to be seeing your stuff.

All of this is a roundabout way to get to my writer’s tool for today. MagCloud is a POD magazine service that, like the books, doesn’t shed a drop of ink until someone orders it. POD magazines, like the sub-culturally popular self-published, hand-crafted ‘Zines of the 80’s 90’s and beyond, tend to run in the obscure (RallyCross, Mormon Artist, The Magazine of the Commonwealth Club of California) though the possibilities are endless.

So, the reason I’m posting this is not necessarily as a way for you to “get discovered” or “get published,” but as a tool for expression. This might be a good venue for a group of writers to self-publish a small[er] literary magazine than the traditional. Or writers who are working among their communities or with younger students might find this an excellent way to add legitimacy to the voices of those they work with.

As the website notes, “MagCloud uses HP Indigo technology, so every issue is custom-printed when it’s ordered. Printing on demand means no big print runs, which means no pre-publishing expense. Magazines are brilliant full color on premium paper with saddle-stitched covers.” The ‘zine has come a long way from the cut-and-paste, Xeroxed, and hand-stapled editions of last century.

Check it out at: (or, check here for what others are doing specifically with POD Lit magazines.)