12 Baby Steps to a Complete Story: Choose Your Market

A Pen In Each Hand

So you have an idea, but you don’t know where to start… and the end seems so far away it might as well be on Pluto. Well, you’ve come to the right place. Follow the 12 Baby-Steps to a Complete Story and you’ll be on your way. Each month, we’ll post a new exercise. Do each month’s exercise and by the end of the year, you’ll have a polished story (or personal essay, if you prefer non-fiction) ready to submit!

The time-line here is designed for a short piece of writing, not a book, but if you’d like to do it with a novel idea, you’re welcome to. If you’d just like to do the exercises as practice, and use different pieces for each exercise, that’s fine too. Adapt the exercises any way you like. There are no rules, just ideas.

Background Image: Chad Norman (CC-by-nc-sa)

October: Choose Your Market
Exercise #10

Narrow down the genre of your story or essay. First, is it fiction or non-fiction? Then, mystery or romance? Travel or parenting? Sometimes a story/essay may fit in more than one category, so list all that are possibilities. Now you’re going to do some research. Get a copy of the Writer’s Market and look through the appropriate sections for magazine titles. Make a list. Look them up on-line and see if they have websites. Read the guidelines and any content they have posted. Look for e-zines (magazines that are exclusively on-line) that cater to the genre of your piece. Browse your bookstore or library’s magazine section. Pick up a few copies and bring them home to read. As as you find out more about them, add or subtract titles from your list. At the end of the month, narrow your list down to the five most promising.

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