Grab your phone, tablet, keyboard or pen and paper.
Imagine you are waiting in a parking lot. People are walking in front of you on the way into the store. The wind is kicking up and leaves, plastic bags and other trash is skittering around the edges of the lot. With each gust of wind you see the people moving faster. A woman in a blazer and skirt hurriedly scoops a chunk of hair behind her ear. A man in basketball shorts and a torn green hoodie stops the door and lets blazer woman in ahead of him. A woman with two kids come out of the store with a cart heavy with soft drinks and paper products. A pebble jams her front wheel.
Who are these random people? Who do they love? What are their houses like? How many of them have a list? Are they running late or are they just cold, caught in an abrupt weather change?
Now, what if instead of holding the door, green hoodie guy pulls out a knife and jabs it up under blazer lady’s ribs? What if one of those little kids makes a run for it while the woman is unjamming the cart wheel?
What if suddenly the sky opens up and a spectacular number of dragons swoop down and land on the store roof?
What if the person you are waiting for is robbing the store and you are the get-away driver?
What if you have just learned something you’ve worked and wished toward is supposed to come true and you’ve been told to wait where you are? The people you’ve pretended to see are story starters and the what ifs are story changers.
Viewing as a neutral observer is much different than viewing as a participant. The perfect What If can make a story.
Make up your own people in a parking lot with your own weather and your own back stories.
Consider posting your work on our Forum. Writerschatroom.boards.net in the Parking Lot Observations area. You will have to login or register before participating in our Forum.
“Your main character is a woman in her early forties, who is very idealistic. The story begins in a penthouse apartment. Someone is tormented by the memory of a dead family member. It’s a story about infidelity. Your character has to do some quick thinking to keep ahead.”
I’ve been reading and writing and reading some more. I’ve been thinking about submitting some short stories in 2018 and maybe some Creative Non-Fiction. So, I have also been researching the markets.
Rejections are a source of pride. Rejections are tangible proof you are a writer. Well, maybe not so tangible in the days of email submissions.
I used to watch my mailbox for SASEs in my own handwriting. I used to keep a ledger with a record of postage, paper, envelopes, copy expenses and market research. When I was trying to home my stories and articles I would buy magazines locally or send off for copies to be delivered.
Things have changed. Now, I can do much of my marketing and submissions using the internet. But the price of being online may be more than what I spent in the 90s and the 00s.
Oh, right, back to why I started this post.
I cannot name my source but I read that some, many, rejections are not because your work sucks the big one. Your work may be rejected simply because the upcoming issue already has three stories about breast cancer and they need some comic relief in the issue.
Many magazines have an editorial calendar of themes and submission deadlines for those themes. You may scour their websites or go ahead and shoot off an email asking for the calendar. It will help you plan. You may want to hold onto the Thanksgiving story until after the Spring Solstice. August would have been a great time to submit that Valentine’s Day short.
What are you planning or even planning on planning for 2018?