Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Writing About Special Springtime Celebrations

There are lots of special days in the spring of the year. I've noted just a few above but you can also add Passover, St. Patrick's Day, Memorial Day and Father's Day. Many publications, whether in print or online, seek stories to commemorate each one of these celebrations.

It's a great opportunity for writers. Fiction, creative nonfiction, essays and poetry are all sought by editors of magazines, ezines and newspapers. The writing can be serious or humorous. It can be a made-up story or fact. Just be sure the made-up story is labeled fiction. 

Memoir writing works well in this holiday or special day writing category. There are anthologies filled with holiday stories. The market is there, but what should you consider when writing for it?

1.  Decide on a children's story or one for adults. This should be step one and an easy decision to make. Unless you're like me and write for both children and adults.

2.  Gather information and background before you begin to write. We have the information about our own family celebrations but it might be to your benefit to read all you can about the day--how it started, what different people do to celebrate, how it became popular and more. Weave these bits of info into your story or essay, or keep it strictly an informational article with many facts and figures.

3.  Don't try to hurry up and write something for a special day happening next week. This, to me, is one of the big problems when writing holiday, or celebration, stories. You know that Easter is on a certain date each year and a week or two ahead, you decide you'd like to write a story and get it published. Not likely to happen that quickly. Editors want stories for special days sent in far ahead. They need them early for planning purposes. But you and I both know, we do our best when writing for a special holiday when it is close and we are seeing advertising that brings back memories. Or, we're getting ready to celebrate within our own family. The emotion is there. If I try to write a Christmas story on a hot July day, I'm not going to be able to feel it as well as I might in early December. What to do? Go ahead and write the story when the holiday is close but save it to submit the following year. You'll have plenty of time to let the story simmer on the back burner, plenty of time to revise and edit. Write too close to the celebration day and you hurry, you have less chance of being published, and you probably won't do your best writing.

4.  Aim for a religious or nonreligious market, don't try to mix the two. Another decision that should be fairly easy. A mix of these two is pretty difficult to achieve in a satisfying way even though it can be done. I'd suggest aiming at either the religious side or the commercial as your main thrust.

5.  Look for a new angle. I see editors remarking over and over that they get too many of one kind of story or another. Approach it from a different angle and you might hit paydirt a lot sooner.

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