[Writing Prompt] Search The Markets

This prompt had a brief, premature debut last week. If you used it then, why not travel back and use one of these prompts from last week, today? Also, use some time today to pick a short story that you will use to guide your writing tomorrow. Pick one you really love. Need recommendations?

Maybe I crave approval or something, but I have always found that the prospect of being judged by someone else helps focus my mind.

Writing for publication is not something I usually suggest during StoryADay May. Worrying about whether or not a story will be published before you’ve even written it is a bit ‘cart before the horse’. However sometimes the thought of a competition deadline or submission to a themed anthology can provide a bit of inspiration and a dose of motivation that might otherwise be missing.

The Prompt

Write a story that fits the guidelines of a particular market, themed anthology or competition.


  • You don’t actually have to submit if the story doesn’t work out.
  • Choose a venue with a deadline date far enough away that you can revise this story after StoryADay May is over.
  • Resist the temptation to write the obvious story suggested by the theme, prompt or guidelines. Dig a little deeper until you find something you’re really passionate about.
  • Write your first draft with abandon, forgetting that you’re even thinking about submitting it anywhere.
  • Make a note in your calendar to look at it again some time in early June.

If you need a resource for finding contests and deadlines, you could do a lot worse than Duotrope.com . The full listings require an annual membership but it is a fabulous resource.
You can also try WritersMarket.com or pop down to your local library and look for the print edition of that tome if you’re saving your pennies or don’t think you’ll get the value from a subscription to Duotrope.com or WritersMarket.com.

6 thoughts on “[Writing Prompt] Search The Markets”

  1. I’ve been writing for specific markets this month as much as possible. Started the month with a list of 4-5 themed markets, added another 4 or so along the way. 🙂 I find it extremely helpful — always good to know there’s a market you can at least try to sell a particular story to. 🙂

    1. It is certainly easier to start a story with a spec in mind if you’re planning to submit it, than to then trawl the market listings trying to find something you can shoehorn your story into!

  2. I have something for Dark Edifice (darkedifice.webs.com) that I’m working on…It’s presently around 2900 words and I want to get it under 1000…

  3. Finished Number 17. Since my stories were growing as the days passed, I thought I’d go with flash fiction. I can’t believe I’ve written seventeen stories in a row. What a blast. Sarah

    1. Awesome! Good idea to switch to a short-short story at this point. It’s tempting to get pulled into long stories now that you’ve proved you can write them, but it’s hard to maintain for the month.

      Anyone have strategies for continuing to write a storyaday when you want to start letting your stories get longer? I have some thoughts, but I’d love to hear other people’s opinions…

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