Writing the Book You Plan – Or Not

goat-620474_960_720Okay, I’ll preface this whole thing by admitting that I am a pantser. (Dang MS Word keeps wanting to change that to punster. Hmmm…) I do not outline, I do not do chapter synopses, I do not like green eggs and ham. (Sorry; keep getting sidetracked.) I may not know where the end or even the middle of my book is going to go. I get attacked by an idea, let it stew for a bit (anywhere from hours to days) and if it doesn’t evaporate with the morning coffee, I sit down and start writing.

So it may not be surprising that my books often end up being very different from what I thought they were going to be. Continue reading “Writing the Book You Plan – Or Not”

Desperate Author Seeks Employment

will write for foodDear Benevolent and All-Powerful Person in Charge of Hiring Writers:

I am responding to your advertisement for a versatile wordsmith. I do believe I am a good fit for this position since I write suspense, chicklit, satirical, and action-adventure novels; educational children’s books; and non-fiction instructionals. You can find me, and my thirty some-odd titles (yeah, I lost count. I didn’t say I was good at math), on Amazon and other online bookstores. I have been lucky enough to have won a couple of awards for my writing, and I have enjoyed the thrill of seeing some of my books hit the tops of certain Amazon bestseller lists. I’ll be honest, not all my books are awesome – my first novel that was published back in 2001 is awful, so I suggest you don’t waste your money on it. My newer works are much, much better. Unfortunately, even as “bestsellers,” royalties of thirty-five cents per book don’t make for a great living. Yes, I’m proud to say I am a starving author. Things are so bad right now that I recently considered taking a position as an executive envelope-stuffer, but I discovered I have a debilitating fear of paper cuts. Continue reading “Desperate Author Seeks Employment”

2016 Flash Fiction Challenge Rule Changes

flash fiction contest gavelBack in January 2015, we instituted new rules for the flash fiction challenge because a number of people had complained that the voting was a “popularity contest” and that the “best entries” weren’t winning. So, we got together a panel of judges and only let the best entries make it through to public voting. Meanwhile, those who had complained never entered the challenge anyway, and we did triple the amount of work while watching the traffic for this feature plummet over 80%. Why do we care about traffic? Because part of the reason for doing this challenge is to get exposure for all the participating authors.

So, starting with the January 2, 2016 flash fiction prompt, Indies Unlimited will be reverting to the original rules for winner selection. However, now each entrant will have double the opportunity to win. One winner, who will receive a spotlight post on Saturday mornings, will be selected by popular vote. All entrants will be eligible (if they follow the rules). Another winner will be selected by the admins/editors for the anthology. Those entries will be referred to as the “Editors’ Choice” winners and will be announced once a month in a post. That way, whoever ends up in the anthology does not get there by “popularity contest” means. This also means that if none of the entries meet the editors’ criteria, there may be no “Editors’ Choice” winner that week – or – there is a chance that the popular vote winner could also be the Editors’ Choice pick. Please see the italicized text in the bullet points below for the new rules. All the other rules and scheduling remain unchanged.

Here are the parameters for the 2016 Flash Fiction Challenge:

  • Each Saturday, we will post a challenge, consisting of a picture and a  written prompt. Award-winning author and photographer K.S. Brooks has graciously extended permission for the use of her photos for this purpose. You are welcome to post your entry with the photograph on your blog, but please make sure to give attribution to K. S. Brooks.
  • Authors can participate by writing their entries in the comment section. The word limit for entries is 250 words. The word limit will be strictly enforced.
  • Each weekly exercise will accept entries until 5:00 PM Pacific time the following Tuesday.
  • Tuesday night, the admins/editors will choose the best entry based on a) the quality of writing (grammar, punctuation, and style); and b) relevance to the written and photo prompts. This story will be featured in the IU Anthology published at year-end and the winners will be announced at the end of each month in a separate blog post.
  • On Wednesday, we will open voting on all entries to the public with an online poll for the best writing entry. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday.
  • Each week, the admins/editors have the right NOT to choose a Editors’ Choice pick if they do not feel it meets the quality standards for the anthology. There is the possibility that the Editors’ Choice and the popular vote may select the same entry on any given week.
  • ONE VOTE PER PERSON, please. Duplicate votes will be deleted. Results displayed in the poll are unofficial until verified by administration.
  • Each Saturday, the popular vote winner will be recognized as we post the the winning entry along with the picture as a feature.
  • In the event of a tie in the voting, the entry which posted earliest will be chosen as the winner.
  • At the end of the year Indies Unlimited will publish an eBook with all the photos and the “Editors’ Choice” winning expositions, adding one more credit to your portfolio.
  • By submitting an entry, the author agrees to these terms and grants Indies Unlimited the nonexclusive rights to publish the material submitted and waives any and all further consideration in return for acknowledgement as a contributing author to the final anthology.
  • Reprinting: if you would like to use your entry elsewhere, please give us the courtesy of full disclosure with the statement “originally posted at Indies Unlimited.” If you would like to include the link to the page with the entry, even better and much appreciated. Should you use the photograph that goes with the entry, make sure to give photographer’s credit to K. S. Brooks. She already works for free here, and bad things happen to people who don’t do right by her. And she WILL find out. Trust us on that one!

We hope you will have fun, hone your chops, and call in all kinds of favors from your friends to get them to vote for your entry. Most of all, we hope to offer you one more way to reach a wider audience.