Posts Tagged ‘KJ Scrim’

NaNoWriMo

By: Kathie Scrimgeour

Are you doing NaNo? Do you know what day it is? How are your fingers holding up? Had a shower recently? Where is your family? Are you a Wrimo? Odd questions? Maybe not. Here’s one more: Did you hit 25,000 today?

If you haven’t already heard, NaNoWriMo, (National Novel Writing Month) is an event that brings writers together from across the globe in order to write a 50,000 word novel in a single month. Today, November 9, 2021 is almost the middle. The halfway point. In one week you should hit 25,000 words.

Here are a few numbers that you might also like to know:

In 2020:

• There were 552,335 participants. If all the participants finished, with an even 50,000 words each, that’s a whopping 27,616,750,000 words written in a month!

• 906 volunteer Municipal Liaisons guided 671 regions on six continents.

• 448 libraries, bookstores, and community centers opened their doors to novelists through the Come Write In program.

• 71,832 Campers tackled a writing project—novel or not—at Camp NaNoWriMo.

Who Does NaNo?

Thousands of NaNoWriMo novels have been completed, with hundreds being traditionally published as a direct result of NaNo. Here are just a few:

Sara GruenWater for Elephants
Jason HoughThe Darwin Elevator
Hugh Howey, Wool
Marissa MeyerCinder
Erin MorgensternThe Night Circus
Rainbow RowellFangirl

The Best Part of NaNo?

The numbers are amazing to achieve, but the end result is what matters the most. If you write 25,000 words or 75,000 words, or even a simple outline of 200 words, you have started what many people only dream of…you will have drafted a novel. You will have joined the ranks of writers who are doing what they love, not just dreaming about it.

To everyone participating this year…
You are rockin’ it! KEEP ON WRITING!

Here are a couple more resources to help you get through NaNoWriMo 2021:
The Five Insurmountable Problems of NaNoWriMo
Marketing During NaNoWriMo-Are You Crazy?


KJ Scrim, head shot

Kathie Scrimgeour writes under the pseudonym KJ Scrim. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors with PPW, she is also the Managing Editor of Writing from the Peak (PPW’s blog) and the Project Manager of PPW’s anthologies, Fresh Starts and Dream (coming Spring of 2022). Her inspiration for blogging, flash fiction, short stories, and the long haul of novel writing comes from her many life experiences. You can follow her on her website, KJScrim.com and on Facebook. When she’s not writing you can find her somewhere in Arizona biking, hiking, skiing, or finding Zen through Pilates.

Anthologies – What, Why, How?

By: Kathie Scrimgeour

With PPW’s new anthology, FRESH STARTS, publishing today it seemed appropriate to talk a little about anthologies. Back in August I wrote a post, Submitting to an Anthology in 5 Easy Steps. Today I will answer a few questions you might be thinking about. What exactly is an Anthology? Why write for one? How do you find an anthology to submit to?

What is an Anthology?

Simply put, it is a book that brings together a series of short stories, poems, and/or essays written by different authors. Usually there is a theme that all the authors write to. For FRESH STARTS the theme is the same as the title, with the added theme statement:

After the fires are out, the smoke has cleared, the divorce is over, the widow has stopped wearing black, the sun has risen, the monsters are dead, the world is saved (or destroyed!), the storm has calmed, and the trouble is over…

…what do you do next?

We can’t promise only happy endings. Just that moment when you pick yourself up out of the wreckage and find the strength to begin anew.

Is an anthology the same as a collection? No. A collection is a book that the contents are written by the same author, whereas an anthology’s stories are by different authors.

Why submit to an Anthology?

Even if you’re a novelist, you should consider writing for an anthology. Creating a short story will help you tighten your writing. You will learn how to condense descriptions the size of the Sistine Chapel down to a masterpiece the size of a thumb tack. It will still make your reader’s heart flutter, but with fewer words.

Maybe you want to try out an idea you have for an epic novel, but you aren’t sure if the subject will keep your reader engaged (or keep you writing). Start with a short story and shop it around to see what response you get. If it falls flat, then you might reconsider writing a three-book project.

An anthology also gives you a way to test out a genre you have never written in before. Writing outside your normal genre may spark inspiration in unexpected ways.

One last reason to submit to an anthology is to expand your resume. For most writers, books take a long time to write, but a short story…? With practice it can be created in a short period of time. Each publication in an anthology is another notch on your writing resume.

How do you find an anthology to submit to?

Well, PPW just so happens to be one resource. Plans have already started for the next anthology which should publish in March of 2022. The theme and details are being worked on and you can check the website for up-to-date information.

In the meantime, there are several ways to discover anthologies that are accepting submissions. One, is a search on your favorite online outlet using the keyword, “anthology”. Make notes of the publishers that pop up and check out their websites for information.

Doing a search like that is a little arduous so you might consider opting for a subscription to a listing service such as DuoTrope or Submission Grinder.

I did a broad search on DuoTrope for “anthology” and here is a screen shot of the results:

As you can see, there are a lot of anthologies to submit to (173 to be exact). DuoTrope does have a free trial that you can take advantage of if you want to take it for a test run.

Submission Grinder is a little cumbersome to use. Searches here are limited to names, titles, fiction, and poetry. Here is a screen shot of the search I did under the fiction option which took me to a menu to drill down my search. Anthology was not an option.

But, the landing page does list the names of publishers and what they are looking for whether it’s flash fiction, short stories, poetry, or essays.

Even if you never submit to an anthology, you will gain writing skills. Find a fun theme then write to it. You never know, you may end up opening your mind to things you never dreamed of.


KJ Scrim, Profile Image

Kathie Scrimgeour writes under the pseudonym KJ Scrim. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors with PPW, she is also the Managing Editor of Writing from the Peak (PPW’s blog) and the Lead Coordinator of PPW’s first anthology, Fresh Starts. Her inspiration for blogging, flash fiction, short stories, and the long haul of novel writing comes from her many life experiences. You can follow her on her website, and on Facebook. When she’s not writing you can find her somewhere in Colorado walking, hiking, or rock climbing.  


P.S. Have you heard? PPW’s first anthology is here!
Fresh Starts is now on sale!

Now available on Amazon.
Pre-orders accepted on KOBOBarnes & Noble, and Apple Books (sales on these channels begin 4-9-21).

NaNoWriMo

By: Kathie Scrimgeour

It’s that time of year when writers around the world go a little crazy by attempting to write a 50,000 word novel in a single month. Will you be one of them this year?

In the past, Writing from the Peak has posted a number of articles to help you through this month and the list below will hook you up with some of my favorites. First, and most importantly, hop over to the official NaNoWriMo website where you will find a plethora of information on everything NaNoWriMo.

Links to get you through the month

Hopefully, by now, you are ready to write starting on Sunday, November 1, 2020. As for me? This year will be dedicated to editing, but I’ll be cheering all of you crazy writers to reach whatever goal you have set for yourself.

Best of luck to all of you!!


KJ Scrim, head shot

Managing Editor, Kathie “KJ” Scrim, is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her inspiration for blogging, flash fiction, short stories, and the long haul of novel writing comes from her many life experiences. When she’s not writing you can find her somewhere in Colorado walking, hiking, or rock climbing at the local gym. You will find her on her website, Facebook, and Twitter: @kjscrim.

Submitting to an Anthology in 5 Easy Steps

By: KJ Scrim

Having your work published in an anthology is a great way to expand your writing horizons and add another notch on your writing resume. Most anthologies are open to everyone, no matter if they are a seasoned professional or just getting started.

Submitting to an anthology is, in general, simple.

  1. Write a story – be sure it is well written, grammatically correct, and it fits the theme.
  2. Find an anthology open for submissions
  3. Have a cover letter or query just in case
  4. Read and follow every step of the guidelines
  5. Hit that submit button

Simple, right? Now, let’s look at each step in more detail.

WRITE A STORY

There are two basic ways to write your story. You can either write the story you love, then find an anthology that fits it, or write a story specifically for a themed anthology. I have found the latter is somewhat easier to write for. If you have a story already written, the hunt for a matching theme is tedious.

FIND AN ANTHOLOGY

Finding the perfect anthology for an already written story can be, as I said, painstaking unless you use a couple of tools to help with your search. Like anything in this digital world, searching on the internet is a good first step. A few other resources that you can use are online data bases like Duotrope, Submittable, or New Pages. Be aware that some of these require a monthly fee.

Easier yet, is to do the same search but read what they are looking for and write to the theme. This can be a great exercise to expand your skills as a writer and increase your diversity.

COVER LETTER OR QUERY

Not all anthologies require a cover letter or a query, but if they do, I suggest you have this ready to go. You may find that perfect publication only to learn their deadline is in an hour. If you already have a cover letter written you won’t have to put yourself through any unnecessary stress.

READ THE GUIDELINES

I’d like to put this in huge letters, all caps, highlighted, and in red ink. READ THE GUIDELINES!! No matter how many times you read the guidelines, read them again until you have precisely what they editors want. If your story only “kind of” fits the theme, don’t send it until you have made the necessary rewrites, so it fits perfectly. If they say, “no gratuitous gore”, take the time to do a simple rewrite to remove any unwanted portions. If the guidelines specifically want the metadata removed, get it out of there. Check and double check your submission to be sure it meets every point the guidelines make. These steps are a sure way to avoid the reject pile on the first pass.

HIT THE SUBMIT BUTTON

STOP! Don’t hit submit quite yet. No matter how sure you are of a submission this is the stage of no return. Once you hit that submit button, it is gone. There is no turning back. Take a deep breath and review the submission guidelines one more time. Open your story and re-check it for typos and grammar one more time. Check the formatting one more time. Review your query one more time. You will be surprised at what you might find that you missed the first 50 times you went over everything.

BE PATIENT

Once your story is in the hands of the editors. BE PATIENT. Most publications will send an auto response saying they received your submission so trust that they did get it. If you haven’t heard back from them by the deadline set, then it is ok to inquire what the status is. Until then, maintain a level of professionalism by sitting on your hands and waiting. Some publications can take up to six months to let you know if you have been accepted, others just a few months. The best way to pass the time while you wait? Write more stories and submit them on a regular basis then repeat. Time will fly.

Having your work included in an anthology is rewarding to say the least. Following these easy steps will help you stay out of the reject pile and get your work read. You never know, you might find yourself published alongside someone you admire.

Additional reading:

The Advantages of Being in an Anthology
Editing an Anthology
Fresh Starts, PPW’s Anthology


KJ Scrim, head shot

Kathie “KJ” Scrim, Managing Editor of PPW’s blog and Co-Editor of Fresh Starts (PPW’s first anthology), is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her inspiration for blogging, flash fiction, short stories, and the long haul of novel writing comes from her many life experiences. When she’s not writing you can find her somewhere in Colorado walking, hiking, or rock climbing at the local gym.

NaNoWriMo by the Numbers

Are you doing NaNo? Do you know what day it is? How are your fingers holding up? Had a shower recently? Where is your family? Are you a Wrimo? Odd questions? Maybe not. Here’s one more: Did you hit 25,000 today?

NaNoWriMo logo

If you haven’t already heard, NaNoWriMo, (National Novel Writing Month) is an event that brings writers together from across the globe in order to write a 50,000 word novel in a single month. Today, November 15, 2019 is the middle. The halfway point. Today you should hit 25,000 words.

Here are a few numbers that you might also like to know:

In 2018:

• There were 403,542 participants (including 108,146 students and educators in the Young Writers Program). If all the participants finished, with an even 50,000 words each, that’s 20,177,100,000 words written in a month!

• 978 volunteer Municipal Liaisons (these are your local organizers and inspiration guides) guided 655 regions on six continents.

• 1,176 libraries, bookstores, and community centers opened their doors to novelists through the Come Write In program.

Who Does NaNo?

Thousands (367,913 to be exact) of NaNoWriMo novels have been completed, and hundreds have been traditionally published as a direct result of NaNo. Here are just a few:

Sara GruenWater for Elephants
Jason HoughThe Darwin Elevator
Hugh Howey, Wool
Marissa MeyerCinder
Erin MorgensternThe Night Circus
Rainbow RowellFangirl

The Best Part of NaNo?

The numbers are amazing to achieve, but the end result is what matters the most. If you write 25,000 words or 75,000 words, or even a simple outline of 200 words, you have started what many people only dream of…you will have drafted a novel. You will have joined the ranks of writers who are doing what they love, not just dreaming about it.

To everyone participating this year…
You’re halfway there! KEEP ON WRITING!


KJ Scrim, head shot

Managing Editor, Kathie “KJ” Scrim, is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her inspiration for blogging, flash fiction, short stories, and the long haul of novel writing comes from her many life experiences. When she’s not writing you can find her somewhere in Colorado walking, hiking, or rock climbing at the local gym.

The Short Story

You have decided to write a short story. Congratulations! Short stories can be great fun to write, and like any writing project, they can be a bit daunting. So, what is a short story, and how do you write one?

It is Short

The first thing to keep in mind when writing a short story is pretty obvious, but I will say it anyway. Short stories are…well…short. They can range anywhere from 6 words (flash fiction) to 7,500 words. I have seen some accept 20,000 words as a short story, but that is more the realm of a novelette. I like to read short stories in one sitting so 7,500 is a nice top end.

It’s a Mini-Novel…Almost

Second thing to keep in mind is that a short story is almost a mini-novel. I want to emphasis the word almost. It is a mis-conception to think that a short story is written just like a novel because there are a lot of things a novel has that a short story doesn’t.

A novel will usually have many character and places, along with multiple story lines. A short story has only a few characters who may visit just a few places, and the plot lines through the story are limited to one or two. Of course, there is an exception to every rule, but in general this is how a short story plays out.

It is like a novel in that it has a beginning, middle and end. There are protagonists, antagonists, an inciting incident, a challenge to overcome, and a solution to the problem. All of these are squeezed into a compact story rather than an epic novel adventure.

Give it a Plot

When writing a short story the plot needs to be tight and concise. In short stories, every scene, paragraph, and sentence needs to be spot on with the plot. If you find yourself meandering between the North and South Poles then you might consider a novel instead.

The Hook

In the short story the hook looks a little different than in a novel. First, it usually comes in the first paragraph of a short, but better in the first few sentences. There isn’t much real estate in a short story so the hook may turn out to be only one or two words that are strategically placed to capture your reader’s attention.

The Draft

Everyone has their own way of getting words from their imagination to paper. My version of writing may not fit your’s, but that’s the beauty of writing. You can test different methods and find the one that fits you. My method is a bit sloppy, but it works for me. It’s like testing to see if spaghetti is cooked; slap it on the wall and see what sticks.

My mind skips around like a leaf blowing up the street. Sometimes it goes in a straight line, and sometimes it gets caught up in a dust devil. So goes my writing method. I usually don’t have a plan, goal, or idea when I start. I just crank out words that pop into my head and write them. Within about five or ten minutes of pure nonsense a plot forms and the story takes off.

Every once in awhile I will start with finding the main character’s name. I love odd or tongue-twister names. I wrote one story where I did an internet search for odd surnames and found Quackenbush then wrote a story around it.

The most important lesson I learned about writing short stories is to not fiddle too much. Frustrations will get you down and kill your creativity. If you get your story pounded out, without editing or second guessing as you write the draft, you will have an easier time in the editing phase.

The Hair Pulling

Once you have the bare bones of a draft you can move on to editing, revising, and hair pulling. During this phase you should be trimming the fat. Again, scenes need to be tight and concise. Make every word count.

In the draft you create where the story will start, where it will grow and thrive, then where it will conclude. The editing phase should only be about tweaking what you already have. Get rid of every word that doesn’t count, squeeze it until it sings.

But I Write Novels!

If you are a novel writer then you have to write short stories. They give you an opportunity to test out ideas without writing the entire book. Do a quick short story draft of your novel idea. See how it feels. If it writes into a good short story it could be a great novel too.

What if you already have several books under your belt? Then add a short story to your repertoire. If you’re not sure where to start here’s one idea; find a thread within the novel that you loved, but the story line didn’t let you fully explore. Expand the scene into a full short story that diverges from the main plot of your novel. Or, take a single character who is minor in your novel and write a short story with them as the protagonist.

Get Unstuck with a Short Story

If you get too bogged down in novel, then a short story will give your creativity a quick vacation away from the work. It may even give you ideas that will help move your novel forward. A quick short story will clear the cob webs.

When you are stuck on a short story then stop and write something else. Make it far out or goofy. Write about how Ford Parker learned to drive, or about Kenny Penny’s school days. A story can always be found in characters like Harry Baldz and his furry friend Shaggy. Have fun and keep on writing!


KJ Scrim, head shot

Kathie “KJ” Scrim is the Managing Editor at Writing from the Peak. She graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder the same year Roald Dahl published Matilda. Kathie’s inspiration for blogging, flash fiction, short stories, and the long haul of novel writing comes from her many life experiences. When she’s not writing you can find her somewhere in Colorado walking, hiking, or rock climbing at the local gym. She scribbles every now and again on her blog, and you can follow her on FB and Twitter (@kjscrim).

Character Profiling — Are You Missing the Spark?

By: K.J. Scrim

Do your characters seem to be missing that spark? Are they feeling flat as the paper they are being written on? Maybe you need to do an in depth profile of that character. You already did one? You might consider refreshing it.

Get into your character’s mind

Character profiling (also referred to as character traits) will transform a fuzzy idea of a person into a full-fledged living and breathing individual. Put yourself into the mind and body of your character and ask some questions that range from the generalities – the traits – (full name, birthday, place of birth, hair color, body type and more), to in-depth – the profile – (strangest talent, dark secrets, favorite poem, do they sleep in the buff?)

Once you have answered these questions delve even further. When faced with a life or death situation, how will they react? Take care that the reaction belongs to the character and not to you. Ask yourself why the character is behaving the way they are. What life experience would result in them running away rather than drawing a sword and fighting to the death? Was it from past experience they know not to fight an ogre three times their size, or were they kidnapped and tortured by an adult who left an ogre-sized shadow in your character’s memory?

Make an environment

Don’t forget they are more than just consciousness on a page. For them to truly fill their lungs they need air to breathe, an environment that fills their senses. If they were to close their eyes how would the room feel to them? Do they lose their sense of balance with closed eyes? What do they smell, taste, feel on their skin? Dig deep into them. Go beyond the five senses and explore their intuition, those gut feelings. An ache deep in a person’s belly can reveal the depth of their emotions. How does their body fit into the space they stand? The further you climb into a character’s mind and body the deeper they will breathe.

Interview your character

Take the time to develop your top characters to the point that you can imagine them sitting down with you for a chat. Write out a list of questions to ask them as if you are getting to know someone for the first time. A few examples after you are done with the basics:

  • If you are outside, what are you most likely to do?
  • What was the last lie you told?
  • What is your favorite animal?
  • What is your most treasured thing?
  • Have you ever caught a butterfly? What was it like?
  • What are you most afraid of?

Understand every nuance, innuendo, and attribute of your main players. Give them a background, a scope, and a point of view. With extensive knowledge of your characters they will rise off the paper and fill your reader’s imagination. 


KJ Scrim, head shot

Managing Editor, Kathie “KJ” Scrim, is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her inspiration for blogging, flash fiction, short stories, and the long haul of novel writing comes from her many life experiences. When she’s not writing you can find her somewhere in Colorado walking, hiking, or rock climbing at the local gym. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@kjscrim), and her blog.

Letter from the Editor – November 2018

Dear PPW Readers,

Welcome to November and the first day of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Are you participating? Last month Writing from the Peak covered many ways to prepare yourself for NaNo, and today is your day to fly. I wish all of you luck and perseverance as you dive head first into what might be one of the most grueling writing months of the year. Some will cross the finish line in twenty days, while others will crash and burn in two. No matter when you cross the line, just remember, success is not finishing first, but starting in the first place.Success is not finishing first, but that you started in the first place.

Writing from the Peak, will spend November helping you keep writing. Deb Buckingham will help you find ways to Generate Ideas. DeAnna Knippling will set the pace for you with Pacing Primer. Lit-Quotes by Gabrielle Brown, are always inspirational and a visit with the Grammar Police by Robin LaBorde will keep your writing free of comma comas. In addition to PPW’s blog, Pikes Peak Writers will also be hosting monthly events that will certainly add to your writing arsenal.

Open Critique
This FREE program provides a critique experience for a small number of PPW members who seek feedback on manuscript pages and who want to learn how to have positive critique group experiences.

Write Brains
Write Brain Sessions are free mini-workshops on the craft of writing, business of writing, and the writer’s life. Watch for them in Colorado Springs on the third Tuesday of most months. Pikes Peak Writers began offering monthly Write Brain workshops in 2004.

Write Drunk, Edit Sober
Come and enjoy some wonderful, guided improv writing prompts and a discussion about what those prompts produce.

Writers’ Night
Writers’ Night is two full hours of discussion, laughter, and fun with other local members of Pikes Peak Writers.

I wish everyone writing success in NaNoWriMo as well as anything you are doing this month. May you find the courage to sit at your writing table each day to conquer whatever writing beast you are facing.


KJ Scrim, Profile ImageManaging Editor, Kathie “KJ” Scrim, is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her inspiration for blogging, flash fiction, short stories, and the long haul of novel writing comes from her many life experiences. When she’s not writing you can find her somewhere in Colorado walking, hiking, or rock climbing at the local gym.

Letter from the Editor – October 2018

Dear PPW Readers,

Welcome to October. This month is, traditionally, the beginning of the fall season. A time to get ready for winter. Put the garden tools away and trim your bushes. Fertilize the trees and pick your pumpkins off their vines. It’s getting cold outside and the snow is ready to blanket us. The camping gear is stored, surf boards hung up, and the sun is noticeably lower in the sky. It is time for the hibernation season to begin. What? Wait? Hibernation? Not for any writers I know. This is the time of year we fire up our engines; to wrap our hands around a hot cup of cocoa, snuggle down into our desk chairs and write. From the Editor

What’s in Store for October?

To help you, Writing from the Peak has a month chalk full of everything writing. Tomorrow, Sam Crane will show how to find your muse and next week Robin Laborde will bring out your inner child. For Halloween, we’ll look at something sinister from Leilah Wright.

Mid-month? The Nanos start to come out of the floor boards. I’m not talking about nanobots or nanotech. I’m talking NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. Who’s jumping on the NanoWagon in November? If you’re writing for NaNoWriMo then you must bookmark this blog.

Writing from the Peak is excited to have five talented writers who will share their tips on how to survive this grueling month of writing. Check your sanity with Margena Holmes. Jennifer Lovette Herbranson and Catherine Dilts will give you tips to prepare for this long month of writing. Jason Evans is a master NaNo and Deb Buckingham will keep you healthy.

And now, most importantly, keep an eye out for the updates from PPW’s new President Kameron Easlor. She will update you on what’s new around PPW and the Board of Director’s elections. Congratulations to all the new and returning board members. PPW is lucky to have all of you.

Enjoy your hot cocoa this month. I hope your cup is filled to the brim with marshmallows and chocolate delight, and your month full of creative bliss and writing success. Keep on writing!


KJ Scrim, head shotManaging Editor, Kathie “KJ” Scrim, is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. Kathie writes fantasy and cozy mystery. Her inspiration for blogging, flash fiction, short stories, and the long haul of novel writing comes from her many life experiences. When she’s not writing you can find her somewhere in Colorado walking, hiking, or rock climbing at the local gym.