I'll tell you all about that stuff soon. But what I want to talk about now is something that's new for me. I have been pretty scrupulous since December (one of my New Year's Resolutions) about using my Sunday mornings to search for places to send queries, something I highly recommend. My personal favorite site is Dark Markets. It's a great resource for horror, fantasy, and sci-fi, and I never fail to find at least one place looking for something I've got.
But what I've noticed that last few times is something they're looking for that I haven't written yet. But immediately want to.
It's sort of a twist on the idea of using writing prompts to get the creative juices flowing, right? A magazine or book publisher casts an open call, but for a specifically-themed anthology. It's not something I've really gone for in the past. But the past few times I've done research, I've found a couple that have really peaked my interest, and I've actually begun writing a couple of new short stories specifically for those markets. There are those, I'm sure, who do this all the time, who are thinking "Well, duh. Of course!" But usually, I write a story, and try to shoe-horn it into some publication or other. I almost never, until recently, write something based on what a publication is looking for. And I gotta say, I'm really enjoying it! (BTW, the one I'm writing now, is for a "Local Legends" anthology, where they are looking for stories built around local landmarks. I think it's a great idea, and, like I said, I'm really enjoying this project. It's a challenge that agrees with me, I think. If you don't do this already, next time you are researching markets for publication, keep a more open mind, see if, in addition to places that might accept stories you've already written, you might find themed requests that fire up your imagination, possibly pushing you in a creative direction you might not have thought of before.
Hey...what could it hurt? Am I right?