2 week delay & competition.

Dear all,


We have been made very aware that lots of people have exams at the moment, and as a result we are a little short on submissions. As a result, we are going to extend the deadline for 2 weeks, ending on the 30th June. This will mean our new publication date will be July 14th.

We’d also like to take this opportunity to announce that, in addition to the two books on offer for submitting alone, there will be two competitions run in this issues, quite simply for best poetry and best prose.


For best poetry, the winner will receive a book of selected poems from a poet of the editors’ choosing, while for best prose, the prize will include a book of short stories and 5 “crit tickets” for either via YWO or email from our editors.


We hope everyone will really pull together and recommend us to their writing friends so we can have the fullest and best issue possible.


All the best,

Fi and Imelda


9 Days!

Well, folks, it’s getting to that time when we really need all those submissions in! If you haven’t already considered what you’re going to write, have a look over at our submission guidelines. If you have, get emailing to Survivalbystorytelling@gmail.com! 


Don’t forget, there are two book prizes available for two lucky submitters.


All the best,

Fi and Melda

3 weeks to go!

One week into the new version of SBS, we’re still really excited down here at headquarters. We’ve got two really awesome authors lined up to share with you in the upcoming two issues, and we cannot wait to read all of the writing we get submitted.

In 3 weeks time, we hit the deadline for Issue 1, and we really want as much work submitted as we can possibly have. We’ve even roped Caleb (Peppermental) in to judge the poetry submissions! Anyone who’s interested just needs to read the submission guidelines and email their work to survivalbystorytelling@gmail.com.

We also are happy to announce that 2 lucky submitters, chosen at random, will receive a free book.

Happy Thursday from the editorial team,

Fi and Imelda

SBS re-open to submissions!

As many of you are no doubt aware, SBS is now privileged to be relauched! The theme of the first issue is “a celebration of writing”, and we hope you’ll take this as a loose guide as to the sort of work we are hoping for. Please do note that we’re not asking you to write about writing, we simply want to celebrate writing itself.

Submissions open today, and the submission guidelines have been updated appropriately. You have until 16th June to email your entries to survivalbystorytelling@gmail.com. 

We really cannot wait to read and publish the best of what young writers have to offer, and we are also privileged to have an extremely wonderful and successful author to be our first interviewee. More details to follow when they are confirmed!

Until then, all the best from your editorial team,

Fi and Imelda.

SBS Closed to Submissions; Magazine Closed

Thanks to everyone who has supported Survival By Storytelling and submitted to us.  Unfortunately, due to a number of circumstances beyond my control (and some that were), I’ve decided to close SBS.  We have not received nearly as many submissions for the Steampunk issue as we had hoped and a number of issues with time and funds have made it difficult to continue with the magazine.

Issue One will still remain for sale and those who have been published in that issue will still be paid when royalties come in, provided your Paypal address remains the same.  Anyone who currently has submissions with us will be emailed shortly with suggestions for other places to submit to.

On a happier note:  this does not mean that a magazine is completely out of the question for the future.  I have intentions to re-open a different magazine with less submission restrictions and in online format at some point (likely by Summer 2011).  Information about that will likely appear on my blog.  SBS was a fantastic adventure.  I learned a great deal with marketing, book formatting, submission procedures, and so on, and I expect I’ll have much more to learn in the future.

Thanks again, everyone, and have a great year!

Planning Your Writing

I feel a little strange jumping straight into this post when I’ve never posted anything on SBS before. Hm. Anyway, I’ll be posting here occasionally (as “occasionally” as I can think of things to post about, that is) about something to do with writing. And that’s as specific as it gets for now. :p


When you write, how much planning do you generally do? Are you like me, and only plan a few scenes ahead and occasionally know your ending before you get there, or do you like to have everything planned out before you even begin writing?

Recently, I had to write an essay for my comp. 100 class. Everyone was given the same topic: write an essay about how to write an essay. Simple, eh? Enough so, since we’d just spent half the semester going over the basics of how to write an essay and we now had to write about that and do it at the same time. Unfortunately, that meant I had to do some serious planning. If I was going to sit down and write a paper informing whoever was going to read it that planning was an essential part to writing a good essay, I had to do it myself, too.

I’ve met writers—“met” as in known people on writing sites such as Young Writers Online (from here on out known as YWO)—who plan out each chapter in great detail before even beginning to write. I’ve seen some of these peoples’ outlines and stared in surprise as I read tiny details of their yet-to-be-written story, details that I wouldn’t even dream of deciding upon until I was very near to writing the scene, or—perhaps—in the middle of writing the scene itself. On the other hand, all the planning I do before I start a novel or short story is to make sure that I know the basic plot. But is lots of planning necessary? I suppose it depends on the person. For me and my fantasy novels, it’s worse when I do plan.

Occasionally it’ll happen that I don’t write for a while, and in those cases I’ll figure out a lot of what is going to happen in the next few chapters or so, but I find that the more time I have to think about what I’m writing before I actually sit down and do it, the harder the scene is to write. Fresh ideas are easiest to deal with, and there’s a certain thrill about writing into the unknown which doesn’t occur when I know what the next four chapters will be like. This is a perfect example of why I don’t plan: with so many ideas in my head at one time, it’s hard to focus on the scene I’m currently working on. When I was little, I would have just skipped the difficult section to get to the “good part,” but that doesn’t really work anymore, even though I did try it once. (My advice if you want to leave sections for later: don’t skip parts. They’re a pain in the butt to edit in later.)

On the down side of lacking planning, it does make it very easy to get stuck, or be at a loss for what happens next. All too often (which isn’t that often, now that I think about it) I find myself writing a scene and getting really into it when I realize that I can’t continue because I don’t know what the next part is. I’ve gotten used to that, so it doesn’t bother me too much.

Planning is one of those things that everyone talks about, yet it’s really up to the writer. Maybe you’re one of those people who enjoys or feels that it is necessary to sit down and at least know what is going to happen halfway though his or her story. Now, even after writing that essay and planning the heck out of it, I still do little to no preliminary steps for my novels. It’s not necessary for me, and the more I plan the less likely it is that the story will go anywhere. But obviously, this doesn’t work for everyone, and even for me it depends if I’m writing essays or novels.

Dorothy Lands in Munchkin Land: Ideas & How to Get Them (1)

If I’m not terrible, and I am allowed to continue then I have a theme in mind. That theme will be from the ever gay, ever kitsch film of The Wizard of Oz. Mostly for the lulz, and partly so that if you don’t come here to read what I have to say, you’ll come here to see how I can tie in the film into EVERY single aspect of writing. Yes. There will be Oz metaphors aplenty in these blogs.

What are my blogs going to be about?

For the main duration of Summer, I’ll be writing a story from scratch. And I’ll be doing it with you guys, so that when I get to the “writing” bit, I’ll post a blog about it and talk you through some different approaches. It’ll be like a reality TV show where you can watch a piece of writing take fruit from a simple idea, to a story that I could send out to publishers.

Hopefully this’ll generate some interest, but we’ll see. I’ll be blending some bad jokes, good articles, and general writing help. Well, as much help as I can be.

These blogs will be a journey. Dorothy will travel to the end. And it’ll be numbered so. I may get bored of WordPress norms, and splurge a little meandering. Dorothy gets distracted by shiny objects (tin man?) and such.

Enjoy! 🙂

Dorothy Lands in Munchkin Land

Ideas & How to Get Them (1)

You’ve decided to write a story (novel, whatever, but I’ll be addressing ‘short stories’ primarily). You’ve got your pens out in order, paper crisp, and laptop keys polished.

But you’re stuck because you have a lack of ideas.

And this is the first hurdle of writing.

You can’t be a ‘good’ writer without ideas, without creativity and imagination. In my opinion, it’s just not possible. Yes, fan-fiction is a thriving community, and can be productive but there’s nothing like having your own original ideas, and eventually writing them down.

Ideas come in different shapes and forms for different people, and different writing styles, so here’s a basic low-down, throw-down (although most of these originate from experience/observing in one way of the other):

Thinking — This is something that SF/Fantasy/Speculative writers might use. Basically, ideas come from you thinking about stories and ideas. Seems obvious? Well yes, but “thinking” in terms of “What if”s and play on scenarios, thought experiments and the like. What if trees could feel pain? What if people were born female and had to get sex-changes to become male? What if it snowed in Summer?

Take an ordinary situation and turn it into something else. Presto. You’ve got conflict.

They are often a good way to get thinking. And they could influence a number of SF, dystopian ideas (1984 might be, “What if your thoughts were being watched?” Fahrenheit 451 “What if books were banned?” Brave New World “What if people were born into their social classes?”) but not limited to that genre. They just came to mind first. It also works just as well for realistic fiction.

Another way of thinking up ideas would be trying to draw up conflict (crucial to every story) and give it a setting (in time/space). Think of a contrast that seems striking, something that will hook your reader and yourself. Abnormal circumstances that pivot around characters. Try and make your “character”/”setting”/”conflict” unique, or abnormal, and that might help get the juices flowing, since a good story hinges around originality.

  • A vegetarian, and an avid meat eater are locked together in a meat processing factory
  • A girl who is afraid of the dark becomes allergic to light
  • The Earth starts to orbit the moon

Flashforward is the first example that come to mind. It’s TV show where everyone on Earth glimpses their future for 6 minutes or something like that (a major what if). Immediately there is a conflict between the future, and the present. And that is quite a big one that’ll spawn other internal conflicts within the characters etc…

Another more structured way of getting ideas, though the easiest yet often most over-looked, is to write about something that interests you.

If you like playing badminton, then write a story based on that. If you like researching about anti-matter then write a hard SF story about that. The more it interests you, then the better you will write.

So how does this come into my story experiences personally?

Well, a large majority of stories do spring off What If situations. I have plans on writing a novella based on the idea of “What if a small child became God?” and the tangent–the plot bunnies that come off that are bordering on wonderfully dangerous. Contrast is also an important aspect that I try to get as early on as possible.

Turtle Bay, is where I played with the conflict between my two main protagonists, and partners who can’t bear to stay together. The idea of the turtles acting as a veil for death is also something that I wanted to play about with. This idea of innocence and death, both being natural, and how I could write a story based on one, but about the other (double meanings).

Death and children is an interesting one. Again, the idea of innocence/death appeals to me (morbid, meh) and I think that the ‘blog story’ will revolve around the conflict of Death vs Innocence. Well Summer to be exact, but that’ll be explained in later posts. So you gotta keep reading to find out where Summer comes in. I’ll thank whoever manages to figure out how Summer comes into the conflict. CLUE: Films, and the scenes revolving around death, cemeteries, and burials.

I may not be able to cover all the points next blog, but I’ll try.

Next Time (on Oz TeeVee):

Ideas from Experience/Observing (Plot)

Ideas from Fan-Fiction/Expansion on other stories

Ideas from Images (Poetry/Setting)

Ideas from Characters (Novels)

Ideas from Technique


SBS Now Sold Internationally Through The Book Depository!

For those of you on the other side of the pond or in other parts of North, Central, or South America who want to get a copy of SBS, but don’t want to pay the exorbitant shipping fees at Amazon and elsewhere, we have some good news!

SBS is now officially sold on The Book Depository for a very reasonable price (currently $8.50 USD).  The best part about that is that The Book Depository offers free worldwide shipping to just about anywhere!  So, head on over and get a copy and support our little magazine!

To those that have already purchased a copy, we’d like to say a big, hearty thank you!  You all rock!

Announcement: Pay Rate Increase

We’ve decided to make some changes to our pay rates at Survival By Storytelling.  All accepted submissions will be paid a $5 token payment and royalties (accrued after earn out, meaning that when we’ve earned that $5 back, you start getting royalties).  We’ve done this because we think authors deserve to get more up front for their work.  Yes, we realize that $5 is not a lot of money, but it’s better than nothing!  Hopefully we’ll be able to increase those rates significantly in the future.

Remember, the Steampunk issue is still open to submissions!  So, submit!