November 8, 2015

WRITING ADVICE: What Went RIGHT With “I Need More Space!” (Spaceports and Spidersilk January 2015) Guy Stewart #26

In September of 2007, I started this blog with a bit of writing advice. A little over a year later, I discovered how little I knew about writing after hearing children’s writer, Lin Oliver speak at a convention hosted by the Minnesota Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Since then, I have shared (with their permission) and applied the writing wisdom of Lin Oliver, Jack McDevitt, Nathan Bransford, Mike Duran, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, SL Veihl, Bruce Bethke, and Julie Czerneda. Together they write in genres broad and deep, and have acted as agents, editors, publishers, columnists, and teachers. Since then, I figured I’ve got enough publications now that I can share some of the things I did “right” and I’m busy sharing that with you.

While I don’t write full-time, nor do I make enough money with my writing to live off of it...neither do all of the professional writers above...someone pays for and publishes ten percent of what I write. When I started this blog, that was NOT true, so I may have reached a point where my own advice is reasonably good. We shall see! Hemingway’s quote above will now remain unchanged as I work to increase my writing output and sales! As always, your comments are welcome!

I’ll tell you up front the biggest lesson I learned from this story is to have patience. It was the thing I did WRONG that taught me this.

I’d written this one in an attempt to revisit the life of my character, Candace Mooney (named after my wife, of course!). I’d shown her as an eleven-year-old girl in “Mystery On Space Station COURAGE” ( and as a fourteen-year-old teen in “The Penguin Whisperer” ( This time, I wanted to go in the opposite direction and show her as a younger girl – an eight-year-old.

My target market was, obviously, SPIDER.

But after the fiasco with “…Whisperer”, I figured I’d burned my bridges and I would never get published there again. I pushed that thought down, insisting to myself that the CRICKET Magazine Group was more professional than that! They only looked at stories; inventory; need. Professional stuff like, ya know? Naturally, they turned it down. One of their “readers”. Flat rejection. Hmmm…

At any rate. I convinced myself that the story was poorly written, but sent it off to a new market called Wee Tales. It was a well-paying market, not as good as SPIDER, but reputable and “old”, though now in an electronic format. I waited.

And waited. In October, I declared the magazine dead and sent it to SPACEPORTS AND SPIDERSILK. I’d had a story (“Skipping School”) published in one of their companion magazines, AOIFE’S KISS in 2010. I liked the “kid angle” – they took it right away for a token payment and published it in the January 2015 issue...

In February of 2015, I got a response from Wee Tales – they loved the story and wanted to accept it for TEN TIMES the amount the S&S had paid me.

I wish I could say I notified WT instantly that the story was about to be published, but I dithered for a day. S&S was a very small venue. WT much, much larger…no one would notice the story in S&S…maybe I could get away with it and get paid for one story TWICE!

Less than 24 hours later, I sent WT this note: “Dear Golden Fleece Press: The story "I Need More Space" was published online by the magazine SPACEPORTS AND SPIDERSILK a few days ago. Their response to my submission -- which I sent after I had not heard from WEE TALES for several months and thought was a dead submissions --happened very quickly. I am very sorry. Please accept my apologies for this mistake.

Their gracious response: “No problem! It is a great story and we're glad you placed it.

Please keep us on your radar. Thanks

Needless to say, I sent them something else recently. Hopefully the response will lead to another post!

The lesson?


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