What do the Pittsburgh Panthers football team of the University of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Steelers have to do with being a writer of flash fiction?
Both the Panthers and the Steelers lost their last football games. Both the Panthers and the Steelers are 6-6 for the season; which means both teams are average football teams. And both the Panthers and the Steelers are average teams because of self-inflicted mental errors, things they had control over. The Panthers may go to a bowl game. The Steelers probably will not make the playoffs.
When a flash fiction writer makes a submission to a paying market, like the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette, that writer must give his or her submission the best chance for publication by not making mistakes that the writer has control over. The Panthers and Steelers lost games because of self-inflicted mistakes. Here are some self-inflicted mistakes that every writer can avoid when making a submission.
Read and follow the submissions guidelines. That’s what they’re there for. Proofread your submission more than once for clarity and mistakes in grammar, punctuation and spelling before hitting the send button. Don’t submit your work blindly. Take time to familiarize yourself with the kind of submissions that your target publication publishes. Do your homework.
These very simple suggestions are self-evident; but when a writer doesn’t follow them, his or her submission may be rejected without even being read. The competition for publication is so great that most paying markets won’t waste time with writers who do not do their homework.
Learn from the Panthers and the Steelers about how to be a better flash fiction writer. Remember, writing the story is only part of the job of being a flash fiction writer.
Keep reading and writing flash fiction. This is the Old Soldier reporting from Pittsburgh. Take a moment to follow this site or to sign up for a free email subscription today.