Now that I don't have to worry about making the deadline to submit my 3 chapters (simply worry about the rejection I'll receive in a month or so), I can go back to my conference notes and see if I can glean any more wisdom.
The second half of Elaine Viets' presentation was mostly how to get mystery or thriller stories/books published, but her ideas apply to most genres. Just because I prefer to write sci/fi and fantasy doesn't mean I won't occasionally step out of my comfort zone and try something else for a change, either.
Her suggestions for getting short fiction published:
-e-zines (their submission guidelines are different but just as stringent as print media, so be careful)
-small print press (usually genre specific)
-Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock magazines (mystery/thriller specific)
-Crime Wave (again, mystery/thriller non-fiction)
-start at the top (choose the most prestigious magazines/publishers first, get rejected a lot, then go to the smaller presses. Who knows, you might get published nationally, but you won't know if you don't submit!)
Elaine suggested if you ever get so angry at someone you want to kill them, do so in a novel. Apparently, she has done that quite a few times. She says it's a great way to save on therapy! ;-)
Most agents/publishers for short stories are looking for:
-an opening that grabs you
-a twist at the end
What kills your submission?
-not reading the publication
-not following the guidelines
One of the best suggestions for me was the idea of using short stories to explore characters in your novels. I've done that a bit in my head and with notes in a notebook, but not formally on the computer. I need to do this to flesh out some of my characters.