Monday, 29 April 2013

Beware the Well Worn Theme!


I have just received yet another rejection from Woman's Weekly telling me that they like my story but that it has a 'Well Worn Theme'. I have sent them many stories about all sorts of things but despite three sales to them in the past, I am still not hitting the mark.

This is timely, as on June 7th, the magazine is holding a day's workshop and I have booked myself onto it (along with fellow West Sussex Writer and blogger Tracy Fells). Maybe they will let us into the secret of which themes are 'well worn' and which have had just one careful owner.

Seriously though, the day looks great with talks from fiction editor Gaynor Davies, serial writer Susanne Ahearn (very interested to hear her) and Literary agent Laura Longrigg. As well as the talks there will by a chance to hone your own writing skills.

Also, If any of you like writing short 'twist in tail' stories, I have had an email from Woman's Weekly requesting one page 1000 word stories of this type. Unfortunately, I prefer to writer longer stories but if this is your thing then this is what they are looking for at the moment.

Luckily my two rejections were countered by two more sales to PF so I won't be needing to wear the T-shirt this week!

26 comments:

  1. Well done for the sales to PF! I think celebration in the form of cake is needed. :-)

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    1. Hmm cake - now there's an idea, Anne!

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  2. I did ask Clare Cooper about this, and she said that they've been there so long they've pretty well seen it all! But she's reluctant to say what these famous themes are, for fear of putting off someone who's managed to use one brilliantly....Its a bit of a mystery. I have read stories where the twist stands out a mile, and they seem to be accepted. It's all subjective, I suppose.

    Enjoy the course!

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    1. Ah, Frances - you were brave to ask. I'm glad it's not just me who receives this mysterious comment. Maybe she could compile a list for us at the workshop - then at least we'd know what to avoid!

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  3. Fingers crossed you find the answer to the secret of the well worn theme when you go to the Workshop, or at least get some more clues. It sounds as if it'll be a good day. Congrats on the PF stories. I'd have chocolate cake to celebrate.

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    1. Thanks Sharon. I think the Well Worn Theme is beginning to sound a bit like a monster!

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  4. Congratulations on the PF sales, Wendy.

    Argh on the 'WWT' comment and I hope you can find out what they are at the workshop.

    xxPat

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    1. The West Sussex Womags shall make it their mission to find out and report back!

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  5. WW seems to be one of the most difficult markets to break into. Wish I could have attended their workshop - any hints and tips will be greatfully received! And well done on more PF success.

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    1. Yes Rosemary. I feel lucky to have any published at all with th.em. I shall report back after the workshop.

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  6. Hi Wendy - at last we shall meet as I'm booked in for the 7th! I'd say you've had massive success with them having 3 sales. I've never had one and gave up some time ago. See you there!

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    1. Brilliant, Cara - I look forward to meeting you (maybe I don't need to go to the talk on serials - I can just ask you!)

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  7. Well done for two more sales, Wendy, that softens the blow for the WWT returns. The WW workshops sounds fantastic, lets hope they reveal the secret of the WWT.

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    1. Thanks,Kate. that gives me an idea - I think I shall write them a story called 'The Mystery of the Well Worn Theme'(it will have a twist in the tail of course).

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  8. Here's hoping we learn the WW secrets Wendy as every story I've sent has returned without comment. Thanks for the top tip on them wanting 1000 word twist stories - though admit I'm not too great at the twist themes!
    Maybe the T-shirt should be reversible so you this week you can wear the ACCEPTED (should be bright yellow) side!!

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    1. What a good idea - I shall have to re-design it! We must take our magnifying glasses and deerstalkers to the workshop.

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  9. Wendy
    If it's any consolation (and I get lots of rejections from WW!), I sometimes think they just use 'WWT' as a way of softening the blow, when what they really mean is 'we just didn't like this' or 'it didn't float our boat' or 'we've just accepted something pretty similar'. I sent them a multi-cultural story, for example, involving a muslim woman wanting to go to an Aqua Aerobics class and they rejected it on the lines of 'this is a well-worn theme for us' - sorry, but no! I've bought and read every WWFS for the past few years and I've never seen anything like that!! So PAH! to the WWT!! (I feel better for getting that off my chest!)

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    1. Glad to have provided the soap box, Helen. sure you don't want to join us for the weekend? We could all wear 'Beware the WWT' T-shirts|

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  10. I too had a rejection from WW this week - so, like you, I'm coming to the conclusion that a past sale doesn't necessarily mean I've cracked it! Maybe I should consider the workshop too (plus it would be great to meet some fellow writers and bloggers!). Thanks for the info anyway, Wendy - and well done with the PF sales ;-)

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  11. Congratulations on the PF successes, Wendy :-)

    As for the old Well Worn Theme - I get that a lot with rejections! Hope you enjoy the day - what am I saying, of course you'll enjoy it - it sounds like fun :-) x

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  12. This whole post has now got a Well Worn Theme, Teresa!

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  13. Hello Wendy,
    My name is Victoria and I am so happy to have discovered your blog via your comment on Sally Jenkin's blog.

    I would love to learn more about writing for magazines. I have just published my first short story on Amazon and it is currently free until Monday.

    I have a couple of other things published - I would call them practice runs. lol

    I look forward to learning more about writing for publications like PF and such.

    If you get a chance, I would love to get your feedback on my own efforts. I have written a blog post on my website.

    Thanks in advance

    Victoria
    My Daily Cuppa.com

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  14. Hi Victoria - welcome to my blog! I shall pop over an have a look at yours.

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  15. Hey Wendy, brilliant post! I've learnt a new acronym WWT and love it :) Well done on the latest stories being accepted and bad luck about WW and the WWT....but the workshop sounds very exciting and I'm looking forward to hearing all about it and your top tips. Thanks again for sharing your writing experiences so honestly and openly :)

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  16. Thanks, Marianne - I will write a post on it when I get back.

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