You Can Write for Shrapnel
I get asked all the time for advice on how to get accepted for publication at Shrapnel, the official BattleTech magazine, and one of the questions I often get is “where do you get your story ideas?”
I don’t write often for Shrapnel these days. But if I were intending to submit to the slush pile, I would go to Sarna, the unofficial BattleTech wiki, press the random page button, and see what I can find.
It sounds stupid, but it’s really not.
Getting into Shrapnel is Almost Always a Volume Game
The first thing to know is that you are almost certainly not going to sell your first story. Almost none of us do. Even if you’re a professional who has placed stories in other markets, BattleTech has a steep learning curve. You’re going to get rejected. You’ll need to try again.
And pardon me if you know this already, but for those who don’t: rejection is part of being a writer. You will not place every story.
Get over it now, before it happens.
You need to let go of the idea that your story concept is precious and special. If you put your whole heart and soul into this one story, and it’s rejected, what then?
You’re going to need a lot of ideas.
Random Page ≠ Random Story
What you get from a random page is a character, or an event, or a note, or a piece of equipment. That’s all.
What story you find in that random note is where the magic happens. That’s what the quick series of 5 emails I have written for you will show you:
- how to read a random page for story intent
- three example kinds of stories you can get from what kinds of pages
- a Jihad-era example
- a Fourth Succession War example
- a character-based example
- and more
I don’t put any silly disclaimers on these ideas, either, like “these ideas are the property of Jason, do not touch on pain of death.” If you like one, write it. Your version will be different from your friends’ and different from mine.
You Can Do a Lot of These Really Fast
Shrapnel accepts stories up to 5,000 words in its open submission tool. Before you starting thinking “oh my gosh, that’s so much writing,” so some math.
500 words a day is a story every 10 days.
1,000 words a day is story every 5 days.
2,000 words a day is a story across Friday night and the weekend.
You can do this.
Get Caught Up Reading Now!
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