Thursday, October 29, 2015

When Should You Write Holiday Stories?


Halloween weekend is nearly here. When you see the decorations outside homes and inside stores and other places, you might get inspired to write the perfect Halloween story. Whether for kids or adults, all the hoopla over this autumn holiday makes you want to write a scary story. 

You know it's too late to send it anywhere for this Halloween. Maybe next spring is the time to write the story and submit it for October publication. Sounds good except for one major problem. If you sit down to write a Halloween story in March, you're not going to be nearly as inspired as you are now with all those great reminders around you for weeks in October. 

Write the story now and put it in your files. Send yourself a digital reminder to pull it out in February so you can revise and edit as well as search for a good market. 

It works the same for any other holiday--Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, Valentine's Day, Flag Day and more. Find the inspiration close to the holiday. Write the story but wait til next year to submit. Try submitting it six to eight months before the holiday. 

That means you'll send your Christmas stories to an editor in April or May. Send Fourth of July pieces the previous November or December. 

I know I can write a better Christmas story when I'm completely engulfed by everything Christmas. I could write a fine Fourth of July story when patriotism is visible everywhere I go in early July. Doesn't your heart beat a little faster near Valentine's Day? That's when you need to write your story about Cupid shooting an arrow into ...well, wherever you want him to shoot it. 

Yes, you can write a holiday story most any time of the year, but I think you'll write a better story if you surround yourself with the trappings of whatever holiday your topic will be. 

Meanwhile, enjoy this Halloween weekend. Some of you regular readers know that Halloween ranks pretty far down on my list of favorite holidays. You can read my personal essay about same published in The Best Times in Kansas City here. It's also been posted on the blog a couple years ago.

Editors of children's magazines and ezines say they get an abundance of stories for Christmas and Halloween. They have little need for more, unless the writer has a new approach. What they seek are stories about the other holidays, especially the ones not celebrated quite as much as Christmas and Halloween. Think about those holidays when writing. Come up with a good story that centers on Veteran's Day, Flag Day, Thanksgiving or St. Patrick's Day and you have a very fine chance of seeing it published. 

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