Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Fiction: Writing by the Numbers, This Week's Winners and Next Week's Prompt

I've been writing seriously (as in, every day or close to it) since 2000. In that time, I've churned out two novels, five short stories and half a dozen essays. I've taken three college classes and attended five writers' conferences. I have 20 rejection slips in a folder in my file drawer.

Here are some broader numbers I've picked up from my studies:

A writer with a finished manuscript has a 1 in 10,000 chance of publication.

The average writer gets somewhere between his second and his sixth manuscript published.
80% of all titles published are non-fiction, 20% fiction. (per

The average fiction writer in America earns $5000/year.

About 200 writers in the U.S. actually make a living writing fiction.

So why am I working on novel #3?

Yeah, I ask myself that all the time.

Last Week's Winner:

Only two entries again last week, Jeff and Steven G. Jeff's was actually an essay, rather than a story, but it was a good one.

Much can be discerned about a woman named Elizabeth from the nickname she goes by.

There is sure to be a coy exhibitionist bursting to come out when meeting Betty.

The quiet little church mouse in the corner of the library is often introduced as Betsy.

A bit of flair and stardust in her eyes comes with an introduction to Liz or Liza.

The dependable hard worker will answer when Beth is called out.

If you are in need of a champion, call out to Libby.

But if you ever run across a Lizzie, never axe her a question.

And Steven's

Oops, y’all

“Much can be discerned about a woman named Elizabeth from the nickname she goes by.”
NO SHIT, muthafucka!

In 07 Johnny Scarlett picked ME to work a job with Mama Lizzie. Now Johnny’s a bad dude, but Mama Lizzie is fuckin’ SUPERBAD! Mama Lizzie can snap her finger and you a dead muthafucka! I was uptight, alright.
I was in position that day. I reported on cue, “Mama Lizzie’s here.”
That afternoon, Sir John Scarlett, Director General of the British Secret Service, told my commander, “Tell that kid to never call Queen Elizabeth ‘Mama Lizzie’ again.”

Next week's prompt:

Given the lack of participation in recent weeks, it's time to rethink this. I'll probably bring it back after Labor Day, possibly in a new format.


  1. You sure do get up early in the morning. My cats have been trying to get me out of bed for a while but I had to check out your new prompt only to find out there is none.......

  2. Those were both so funny and so different. People are probably outside or on holiday. I wish I could write, I would love to participate!

  3. Because 3 is between 2 and 6.

    People love non-fiction because life is a comedy and really they crave only reality shows.

  4. because it is who you are and you are following your heart. Keep writing woman YOU are very talented! I had no idea about the statistics though! WOW!

  5. I think being published has a lot to do with who you know in the publishing industry.

    You are a brilliant writer. Please don't become intimidated by the statistics. Blogs are the new books anyway.

  6. Thanks for the visit AND the real upbeat numbers on the fiction writers.. heartening encouraging stuff.. I'm into the blog though, I'm gonna try to post a response to next week's!

  7. I didn't write one last week cuz I figured who the winners were early on. The "axe" comment had to win.

    So I cut out coupons instead of posting my entry.

  8. Dammit! I was just thinking yesterday that I should write a little fiction for your Friday Fiction. OK. I'll wait till September. August will be busy anyway.


  9. Oh crap, those numbers are grim. I was surprised by the 20% fiction fact. I never would have thunk it. You know, 20 slips ain't bad. A friend of mine is nearing 300. Have you ever been to AUP?

    Keep writing!

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Halfway through my yardwork/beer therapy, I decided to comment.

    I have learned so much about love, kids, women, men, disappointment and delight from reading all of your blogs!

    As Artists go, a painter works hard to produce a piece that is subjective for ages. The songwriter may not sing well, but will win when a Celine or Bocelli deliver the goods.

    However, a writer is Cronkite ducking bullets, wondering if he should have stayed home. A writer is naked. A writer shows how the taut skin of youth grows saggy, yet proves it to be wiser and sexier.

    If the Mothership came tomorrow and asked me to choose 100 people to take on the big voyage, it would be easy to bring all of you along. So please keep sprinkling your nuggets on this blog. They are great, and I am addicted!

    In the meantime, have a wonderful summer, read the first sentence of Catcher In The Rye, support your farmers, and ……oh shit, it’s getting dark and I have to finish mowing. Bye.

  12. kisses xxx and hugs ooo

    Love Renee xoxo

  13. Reasons for writing manuscript #3:
    1. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen were turned down by 144 different publishers for the International Best-selling "Chicken Soup for the Soul" book, despite promises from 20,000 people that the book would be purchased when published. And this isn't intended to put you off - more to point out that your publisher is out there somewhere. Go find 'em!
    2. You are more likely to have one out of three manuscripts published than one out of two...
    3. Persistence narrows the odds.

    Why not create an e-book from your manuscripts and link them from your blog, with the first chapter as a teaser? More than one way to skin a cat and a shame to waste all of your talent (and effort!)

    (Just so long as you keep writing your blog, okay?) x x

  14. I had no idea you did a writing prompt, too. I must know when it returns as I can use all the practice there is.

    Da Goddess


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