Monday, April 11

"True" Writing


I'm delighted to have with us my wonderfully talented chapter mate Joya Fields, sharing her experience with a completely different side to romance publishing. Who knows - it might inspire some of you to tread a new path!

First of all, I’d like to extend a huge thank you to Christi Barth and her fellow Word Wranglers for inviting me to visit their blog. Thanks, gals! I really LOVE the name of your blog. I’m thrilled to be here today to chat about my experiences writing short romance stories for the confession market affectionately known as the True’s magazines. True Romance, True Experience, True Story, True Confessions and True Love magazines have been around since 1919. Many readers tell me they remember True’s magazines from their childhood—magazines they usually read in secret and borrowed (without permission, LOL) from their grandmothers. Scandalous! These stories made granny blush, but she couldn’t stop reading. And neither could we. No cuss words, no erotica. Still, our faces heated. Tame by today’s standards for sure. Reading a story in a confessions magazine is like eavesdropping on an interesting conversation at the booth behind you in a diner. You know you shouldn’t listen, but you lean closer, wanting to hear more because it’s so darn interesting. It’s a storytelling technique that, in my opinion, will never get old or go out of style. I got my start writing for the True’s about three years ago when I took an on-line class. I’d heard of the confessions market, but I didn’t know what type of stories they needed. Still, it sounded like fun. Through the class, I learned what the magazines were looking for and the types of stories that the editors were buying. With encouragement from the wonderful teacher (Marilyn Puett), I submitted my first story to True Confessions. Imagine my surprise when two weeks later, I received a contract in the mail for that story. By then I was addicted. Writing these stories was the most fun I’d had in a long time. I bought a copy of each of the magazines and read them from cover to cover. I read every story in all of them and least twice. Now I’m the first to admit that writers must be creative, write from the heart, etc. We also have to do our homework and study our craft. Each magazine was looking for a specific sort of story. In my mind, the only way to get the “gist” of what they were looking for was to take the stories apart, one by one, and analyze them. I scribbled notes about each story and kept a list of what happened, what sort of characters the stories featured and what theme repeated over and over again. Before long (well, it actually took a few weeks), I had a good idea of the type of stories that each different magazine contained. I put my fingers on the keyboard and wrote like crazy. This May, my fifteenth published confessional story “Making New Beginnings from the Ashes of Sorrow” will be featured in True Confessions magazine. Heart wrenching, uplifting and romantic stories with characters we can relate to. That’s what the True’s magazines are all about. True’s magazines can be found at most news stands and online at www.zinio.com . Reading these magazines full of short stories can make you feel like you’re overhearing some good gossip or discussing your inner most secrets with your best friend. Happy reading and writing to you and thanks for taking time to stop by Word Wranglers. Joya Fields www.joyafields.com

20 comments:

  1. This was interesting! I was one of those who used to sneak around to read confessions (in the box elder tree in the back yard) and have heard they're a really viable market these days. I guess they are. Good luck with your stories!

    I love your picture, too.

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  2. Yes, very interesting. I like that you analyzed first before you submitted. I think that's the key with most mag submissions.

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  3. Liz, that's so funny that you snuck off to read the confessions magazine in the box elder tree! Thanks for the good luck and yes, it's a very viable market with a dedicated following. Thanks for sharing your story!And thanks for the compliment about my picture!! :)

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  4. I agree, Em. I think analyzing magazines and books is a great way to figure out what they want. And once you know it, you know it! Thanks for your comment. :)

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  5. Really interesting journey getting into writing for these magazines and what you learned about writing from them. Thanks for sharing, Joya!

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  6. Interesting. I don't really know what these magazines are about because I'd never heard of them before I saw that you were writing for them. Now I want to check them out!

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  7. Thanks for stopping by, Laura! Yes, it's been a very interesting (and fun...in a voyeur sort of way) journey.

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  8. So, Anna, you didn't have a grandmother who hid these mags in a closet? LOL. Sometimes the magazines are tough to find (not all book stores carry them), but they have a very loyal readership. You should definitely check them out! :)

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  9. Hi, Joya!
    Thanks for coming to WW today! I was one of those sneakers! I read them laying across my grandmother's feather bed. I didn't know the confession mags still existed, sorry! I need to look them up because I loved them.

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  10. I heard my ears buzzing and this is why!

    Joya is one of my prize pupils. She caught on quickly and has had great success with the Trues.

    And speaking of your blog title, I need to get back to some word wrangling myself. ~grin~

    Marilyn

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  11. D'Ann, I LOVE hearing that! It's so cool that you remember the magazines from your childhood. Maybe they'll bring back some memories for you if you pick up a new issue! Thanks for sharing your story. :)

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  12. LOL, Marilyn. Thanks for stopping by and for your compliment. I think you have lots and lots of prize pupils! (FYI Marilyn has about a million trillion stories published with Trues. I might exaggerate a little...)

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  13. Thanks for stopping by! My grandmother didn't True Confessions but my mother did. I used to read them after she was finished. I never did have to sneak them because she usually left them lying around somewhere. I always wondered who wrote those great stories.

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  14. That's great that your mom not only read them, but left them out for you to read, Shawn. They're really pretty tame stories. My kids (and hubby) read them all the time. I have them scattered on tables in my family room and guests often pick one up and start reading. LOL!
    Thanks for calling the stories great and for sharing your memories about reading the Trues. :)

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  15. Very interesting, Joya! I remember reading a few True magazines during interminable babysitting jobs...

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  16. Great post Joya. I wish you the best with your writing career and can hardly wait for your next story to come out :)

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  17. Kristi,
    That's so funny that the Trues helped get you through those babysitting jobs. Fond memories, for sure. Thanks for traveling down memory lane with us today. :)

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  18. Marguerite,
    Thank you so much! You've been so supportive of my stories and I really appreciate it. Thanks for the good wishes. Best wishes to you for continued success, too! :)

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  19. I loved your true confession about writing for the Trues! Great insights. :)

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  20. Great interview and info. Yep, I also read them at my grandmothers. They seemed so risque when I was young. LOL. How times have changed.

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