Countdown

Make Writing Your New Year’s Resolution

By: Breany L. Pfeifer

Happy New Year!

Ringing in the new year is a great way to start 2018 off on the right foot. With that being said, what are your goals for 2018? More specifically, what are your writing goals for this fresh new year?

As writers, it is important to set valuable and realistic goals for yourself. You may often have peers, mentors, instructors, or other writers tell you to “write every day,” and they are right. What better way is there to improve your writing besides practice?

I get it; it’s not easy to feel inspired to write every day, and it may be difficult to find the time. However, writing is a great way to relieve everyday stress, and is an amazing way to vent or escape reality. Consider making writing each day your new year’s resolution.
Here are five things to help you keep writing—whether it’s journaling, writing poetry, making short stories, or writing a full novel:

1. Set a daily word count. Whether its 500 words or 2000 words. Give yourself a challenge, but keep it realistic. If you know you don’t have time to write 1,600 words per day, set your goal to 700, and don’t stop writing until you reach that number.

2. Make a specific writing time, and find a comfy place. Perhaps you have free time at 6:00 p.m. every day. Spend that time writing non-stop, until you feel ready to be done. Also, find a spot to write. Whether it’s in your living room, kitchen, the coffee shop down the street, or your roof (be safe up there), find an inspiriting location you love, and make it your writing space.

3. Don’t push yourself too hard, but stay persistent. As previously stated, make sure your goals are realistic, but challenging. If you find writing 500 words per day too easy, bump up to 700 or 1,000. Challenge yourself to write in a genre outside of what you usually write. For example, if you normally write fiction, try a day of poetry. You could even spend a day revising some of your previous work. Whatever you do, don’t stop writing!

4. Determine what plotting method works for you. This doesn’t only apply to only story or essay writers. Poets can choose a “topic” to write about. This is when you must ask yourself: “Do I prefer to create outlines and plot out my work? Or, do I want to put the pen on paper and let my hand and mind soar freely?” Knowing which method you use may help you create your best work.

5. Surround yourself with other writers. You don’t have to know New York Times Bestselling authors to find yourself some writing buddies. Look for a local workshop group, or a writer’s group on Facebook to make some new friends. Find a workshop pen-pal to share your work with and discuss ideas. If you’re a student, join a writing club. If you already know some other writers, take the initiative and invite them to have coffee one day and talk about writing. Getting involved in a writing community will inspire you to do more with your creations.

Fall 2015 Issue Preview & Proof Unboxing

We are so excited to be publishing our very first print edition of the magazine on Auguest 24th, in addition to our ebook version. The staff of 13th Floor Magazine has been working extremely hard to make this happen, so we were thrilled to see how gorgeous it turned out when we received the proof copy. Here’s a video of our unboxing:

Both the print and ebook version of this issue will be available for sale on Amazon starting August 24th. We will be present at campus events with a limited number of copies to purchase, so your best bet will be to purchase online and have the issue shipped directly to you. Remember, you can get free 2 day shipping if you have Amazon Prime, and if you don’t they are always offering a 30 day trial. As always, all of our ebook issues will be available as a FREE download the first week of release, August 24th to August 28th, so be sure to grab any you don’t have as well as the new release.

Ebook will be $4.99 as always. Print will be $22.00. All proceeds go toward printing future issues. We are a non-profit student run and self funded organization.

Don’t be Spooked – Submission Deadline in One Week!

submissionsHey UNO writers and artists, Halloween is only a week away!  While this means that there’s an upcoming night filled with candy, costumes, and everything pumpkin, more importantly, Halloween is the submission deadline for 13th Floor Magazine’s next issue.  That’s Friday, October 31st.   If you haven’t sent us your work yet, don’t be scared; a week is plenty of time to refine something you’d like us to showcase.  Send us your best, creative, original work of fiction, non-fiction, photography, poetry, sculpture, comics, paintings, personal essay, etc.  For those of you who haven’t submitted anything to us in the past and are apprehensive about a selection process, think of it like going into a haunted house.  You know it’s going to be frightening, and sure, there’s always a clown lurking somewhere with a chainsaw, but that’s half the fun, right?  Submitting your work for others to judge can often feel the same way; it’s nerve-wracking, but you have to get through the house and prove to yourself you can get past the clown, no matter how freaked out you might be.  We encourage all of our resident writers and artists to polish up their favorite works and get them to us soon.  Every submission we get is another treat added to our metaphorical Jack-O-Lantern basket, so keep ’em coming!

On a note of holiday spirit, here’s a link to the origin story of how Halloween came to be.  Did you know that this ancient holiday is of Celtic origin?  This short read could also get your creative juices flowing if you’re still trying to create something to submit.  To read about the interesting origin of Halloween, click here.

Submission Guidelines

  • All files should be in .doc, .docx, or .rtx formats
  • Do not put your name in the document.  Do not put your name in the filename. Please use only the title of your work in the filename.  This is very important to us as we want to maintain a fair and unbiased selection process for each of our submissions.
  • In the body of your e-mail, please include a brief biography.  You can write whatever you’d like, but feel free visit our Meet the Staff page if you need some ideas.  If your submission is chosen for publication, your biography will be included in the magazine as well.  Remember, the biography needs to be in the body of your e-mail, NOT your submitted work.
  • For visual art, sent us pictures of your artwork.  If there is any special information about the art, like the medium, influences, etc., feel free to include that as well.
  • All prose and poetry should be double spaced and in standard fonts Times New Roman or Arial.  
  • Be sure to thoroughly edit your work for spelling and grammar errors so you can represent your best work possible.  If you need editing assistance, don’t hesitate to use campus services like the Writing Center.
  • If you would like more tips on professionally formatting your document, please read Formatting 101 by Marlys Pearson.

E-mail Submission

Once you have professionally prepared your submission, e-mail it to 13thfloormagazine@gmail.com Remember, include your biography in your e-mail!

If You Are an Educator

Please encourage your students to submit their best work. It’s a great way to get experience submitting professionally, and may result in publishing credits! Your help is crucial to making our campus magazine a success!

The Submission Deadline and The Fall Reading Series

Fall2014WWRSHello from 13th Floor!  Two weeks of the semester have already concluded, and we hope that your year is kicking off with productivity and classes that peak your interest.  Our staff and contributors are still buzzing with excitement over the release of our latest Issue, which debuted just last week.  Haven’t checked it out yet?  You should do so immediately!  To have your own copy of the Fall Issue, go to Amazon.com and download it onto your Kindle, PC, or smartphone.  The previous Issues are also available, and are equally worth checking out.

Now that we’ve released our Fall Issue, we are eagerly gearing up to prepare our Spring 2015 Issue.  In order to do that, however, we need submissions from all of you and your talented friends.  The deadline to submit for the Spring Issue is Friday, October 31st.  Although many of us have a passion for written craft, like fiction, poetry, non-fiction, essays, etc., we are also craving to feature more visual art.  So, if you’ve got a flare for photography, sculpture, watercolor, comic book illustration, whatever your forte – we want it.  We want the UNO community to have an outlet for their creativity, no matter what that might be.  If you haven’t submitted to us before, see the submission guidelines below.  We’re looking forward to your literary and artistic works, so get them in as soon as you can!

As your focus on your coursework and your submissions, it’s standard practice to take a little breather away from your work every now and again.  We’ve got the perfect solutions for you this semester.  Beginning Wednesday, September 10th, UNO’s college of Communication, Fine Arts, and Media is once again hosting the Writer’s Workshop Fall Reading Series.   It was a blast last year, and looks as though it will be again, especially since it will feature two of UNO’s talented staff members, Margaret Lukas and Cat Dixon.  Throughout this semester, there will be six guest authors presenting their work by doing readings, answering questions from the audience, and after, they’ll be doing book signings.  Next week, you can look forward to novelist Karen Gettert Shoemaker who will be presenting in the Weber Fine Arts Building Art Gallery at 7:30 pm.  An added bonus: these events are free and open to the public!  You can’t beat that, so we’d better see you there.  Make sure to check here for updates on the upcoming presentation throughout the semester.  To find out more about the Reading Series and the authors attending, click here.

Submission Guidelines

  • All files should be in .doc, .docx, or .rtx formats
  • Do not put your name in the document.  Do not put your name in the filename. Please use only the title of your work in the filename.  This is very important to us as we want to maintain a fair and unbiased selection process for each of our submissions.
  • In the body of your e-mail, please include a brief biography.  You can write whatever you’d like, but feel free visit our Meet the Staff page if you need some ideas.  If your submission is chosen for publication, your biography will be included in the magazine as well.  Remember, the biography needs to be in the body of your e-mail, NOT your submitted work.
  • For visual art, sent us pictures of your artwork.  If there is any special information about the art, like the medium, influences, etc., feel free to include that as well.
  • All prose and poetry should be double spaced and in standard fonts Times New Roman or Arial.  
  • Be sure to thoroughly edit your work for spelling and grammar errors so you can represent your best work possible.  If you need editing assistance, don’t hesitate to use campus services like the Writing Center.
  • If you would like more tips on professionally formatting your document, please read Formatting 101 by Marlys Pearson.

E-mail Submission

Once you have professionally prepared your submission, e-mail it to 13thfloormagazine@gmail.com Remember, include your biography in your e-mail!

If You Are an Educator

Please encourage your students to submit their best work. It’s a great way to get experience submitting professionally, and may result in publishing credits! Your help is crucial to making our campus magazine a success!

Issue 3 Submission Deadline Is Approaching Fast!

submissionsAs we begin our last week of February, we are quickly approaching our halfway mark of this spring semester.  It seems almost unreal how swiftly time has slipped away.  That being said, the Issue 3 submission deadline is also rearing its head.  March 31st is the very last day to send in your work, which is only five short weeks away.  If you have not yet submitted your original, creative works of fiction, creative non-fiction, personal essay, micro fiction, poetry, or art, please do so sooner rather than later.   This past Halloween, we learned about the legend of the evil Deadline, a monster just waiting to take victims who forgot to submit his or her work to 13th Floor Magazine.  All Hallow’s Eve has come and passed, but Deadline is still out there…waiting.  For those of you who are non-believers, click here if you want a refresher of what happened last fall.

If you have not submitted to 13th Floor Magazine before and are curious about what we publish, or are simply interested in previous Issues, Issue 1 and Issue 2 are available for purchase.  Both Issues contain truly remarkable talent from students right here at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

We are very excited to receive more submissions for upcoming Issue 3, so please encourage your friends and classmates who have a passion and talent for writing to send us their work today!

Submission Format

  • All files should be in .doc, .docx, or .rtx formats
  • Do not put your name in the document.  Do not put your name in the filename. Please use only the title of your work in the filename.  This is very important to us as we want to maintain a fair and unbiased selection process for each of our submissions.
  • In the body of your e-mail, please include a brief biography.  You can write whatever you’d like, but feel free visit our Meet the Staff page if you need some ideas.  If your submission is chosen for publication, your biography will be included in the magazine as well.  Remember, the biography needs to be in the body of your e-mail, NOT your submitted work.
  • All prose and poetry should be double spaced and in standard fonts Times New Roman or Arial.  
  • Be sure to thoroughly edit your work for spelling and grammar errors so you can represent your best work possible.  If you need editing assistance, don’t hesitate to use campus services like the Writing Center.
  • If you would like more tips on professionally formatting your document, please read Formatting 101 by Marlys Pearson.

E-mail Submission

Once you have professionally prepared your submission, e-mail it to 13thfloormagazine@gmail.com Remember, include your biography in your e-mail!

If You Are an Educator

Please encourage your students to submit their best work. It’s a great way to get experience submitting professionally, and may result in publishing credits! Your help is crucial to making our campus magazine a success!

Have You Started on Your Submissions Yet?

typewriterWe have received such wonderful feedback and great excitement for Issue 2, thanks to all of you, our readers.  As the semester moves forward, the important due dates and tasks sometimes creep up faster than expected.  The deadline for Issue 3 is March 31st, which will be here before you know it.  However, between group projects, work, late night study sessions, and extra curricular activities, it can be difficult to find time to write.  It is important to work it into your schedule, no matter how short of a time it may be.  Between classes, jot down a few sentences. Observe others on campus who are out of earshot and create a dialogue for them.   Scribble down a poem.  Design unique prompts that will get the though process flowing from one topic to the next.  Journal each night before turning in.  Whatever your preferred method, it doesn’t matter.  Just keep writing!  We are so eager to see what the future holds for Issue 3, and between the busy parts of every day life, we wish you the best while creating your original works of fiction, creative non-fiction, personal essays, micro fiction, poetry, and art.  So keep those pens moving and that keyboard clicking to get your submissions in today!       

Submission Format

  • All files should be in .doc, .docx, or .rtx formats
  • Do not put your name in the document.  Do not put your name in the filename. Please use only the title of your work in the filename.  This is very important to us as we want to maintain a fair and unbiased selection process for each of our submissions.
  • In the body of your e-mail, please include a brief biography.  You can write whatever you’d like, but feel free visit our Meet the Staff page if you need some ideas.  If your submission is chosen for publication, your biography will be included in the magazine as well.  Remember, the biography needs to be in the body of your e-mail, NOT your submitted work.
  • All prose and poetry should be double spaced and in standard fonts Times New Roman or Arial.  
  • Be sure to thoroughly edit your work for spelling and grammar errors so you can represent your best work possible.  If you need editing assistance, don’t hesitate to use campus services like the Writing Center.
  • If you would like more tips on professionally formatting your document, please read Formatting 101 by Marlys Pearson.

E-mail Submission

Once you have professionally prepared your submission, e-mail it to 13thfloormagazine@gmail.com Remember, include your biography in your e-mail!

If You Are an Educator

Please encourage your students to submit their best work. It’s a great way to get experience submitting professionally, and may result in publishing credits! Your help is crucial to making our campus magazine a success!

Mark Your Calendars! Issue 3 Deadline is Coming Up Fast.

march31stdeadlineAlthough Issue 2 was released just last week, Issue 3 will be here before you know it.  Make sure to mark your calendars for March 31, as it is the last day to submit work for upcoming Issue 3 this fall.  Everyone is encouraged to submit their creative, original works of fiction, creative non-fiction, personal essay, micro fiction, poetry, or art.  We have had submissions from a wide variety of talented authors for the past two issues, and cannot wait to see what is in store for Issue 3.  There is no time to waste, get those submissions in today!

 

Submission Format

  • All files should be in .doc, .docx, or .rtx formats
  • Do not put your name in the document.  Do not put your name in the filename. Please use only the title of your work in the filename.  This is very important to us as we want to maintain a fair and unbiased selection process for each of our submissions.
  • In the body of your e-mail, please include a brief biography.  You can write whatever you’d like, but feel free visit our Meet the Staff page if you need some ideas.  If your submission is chosen for publication, your biography will be included in the magazine as well.  Remember, the biography needs to be in the body of your e-mail, NOT your submitted work.
  • All prose and poetry should be double spaced and in standard fonts Times New Roman or Arial.  
  • Be sure to thoroughly edit your work for spelling and grammar errors so you can represent your best work possible.  If you need editing assistance, don’t hesitate to use campus services like the Writing Center.
  • If you would like more tips on professionally formatting your document, please read Formatting 101 by Marlys Pearson.

E-mail Submission

Once you have professionally prepared your submission, e-mail it to 13thfloormagazine@gmail.com Remember, include your biography in your e-mail!

If You Are an Educator

Please encourage your students to submit their best work. It’s a great way to get experience submitting professionally, and may result in publishing credits! Your help is crucial to making our campus magazine a success!

On Campus: Exclusive Interview with Margaret Lukas on Farthest House

Author Margaret Lukas sits for an interview about the release of her very first novel, Farthest House, available on January 14, 2014.  As a valuable member of the University of Nebraska at Omaha community, she is an instructor of creative writing in the Writer’s Workshop program.  She received her BFA from UNO’s Writer’s Workshop in 2004, and obtained her MFA from Rainier Writing Workshop in Tacoma, Washington, in 2007.

Margaret is a recipient of a 2009 Nebraska Art Council Individual Artist Fellowship.  She is a contributor to NEBRASKAland magazine  as well as an editor for the quarterly literary journal, Fine Lines. Her writing also appears online and in the 2012 anthology, On Becoming, published by the University of Nebraska Press.  Her award-winning short story, “The Yellow Bird,” was made into The Yellow Bird, a short film and premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.

For this exclusive interview, we wanted to get better acquainted with Margaret, and wanted her perspective on Farthest House as the author, an educator, and a woman of exciting literary achievements.

Q. Although there is a short summary available, what would you, the author, say Farthest House is about?

A. The book is about my passions: passionate people, whether it’s painting or writing, or criminal investigation. And it’s about bad people who need smacked upside the head for hiding their evil deeds behind the cloaks, or vestments, of organized religion. It’s also about love and self-acceptance. As Clay in Farthest House says, “Everyone has something.” I really believe that. If you’re here, in human form, then just like Willow, you inherited a bum shoulder—whatever shape your particular defect takes. I hope through Willow’s struggle to reach self-acceptance, people are helped to reach their own.  I also wanted to write about family. There are so many lonely people in the world who feel that without blood relatives in their lives they have to live alone. I think we can find families and gather families.

Q. Do you prefer character driven or plot driven novels?

A. For me, characters are much more interesting than plot. I find people endlessly fascinating, and I can put aside a character-driven novel and reread it a year later and be fascinated all over again.  A plot-driven novel, again, this is just me, doesn’t hold that magic. Once the punch line has been revealed, and if that was the driving force, I’m done.  Characters stay with me.  My motto is “Fiction is Folks.”

Q. How long have you had the idea for the novel? How long did it take to write?

A. I spent about five years working on the novel before it was accepted for publication. But that’s not day-in-day-out time on just this piece. I was also working on a couple of other novels, and life happens as well. Weeks on end, no writing was done.  On a good day, I try to write two hours. If I get in fourteen hours a week, that might be the number of hours a Stephen King is able to put in a day.  So, to measure all writers by the same measure—say years—is really deceiving.

I hope that’s encouraging to people who aren’t finding much time to write. Keep at it. You’re still a writer, even if you’re only putting in one hour a day or week.  Keep plugging.  Those odd hours add up; the pages begin to form a neat little stack. Stay with it. There’s a saying, though I doubt I’ve got the wording exact, “Come as far as you can, and the Universe will meet you there.” I think that’s a great philosophy. Do your best, write when you can, and don’t compare yourself to the guy who’s knocking out a book a year.

Q. How long did it take Farthest House to be published? What was your most valuable lesson from that process?

A. The process (from acceptance to publication) took about two and a half years.  Which is pretty standard for publishing houses.  During that time, the novel was read by four different editors and I did four or five edits. It’s a long process, but necessary.  The one thing I learned was pay attention to punctuation.  When the comma guru went through it a final time, I was embarrassed to see my errors.  I teach this stuff, and I’d never let my students get away with so many errors.  But I was so absorbed in setting and characters, or so sure I couldn’t error, I just wasn’t paying close enough attention.

Q. At what point in your life did you realize you wanted to become an author?

A. I’ve wanted to be a writer since about the age of 12. I read Great Expectations at that age and was blown away.  That was the book that did it for me and probably countless others.  I tried to rewrite it.  After I married and the babies started coming, I quit writing fiction and took up journaling. I could pick up my journal even if I only had ten minutes and write without having to get into a fictional zone.  I was also an avid reader during those years and absorbing craft without realizing it.

Q. Do you have any specific exercises to help you during your writing process?

A. What works for me is early in the morning. I pour that cup of coffee and turn on the computer. The longer I wait in the day, the more likely it is that something else will rear its head and interfere.  If I’m writing, but feel nothing important is happening on the page and I want to quit, I’ll first set a timer. Just an old wind-up egg timer for an hour. Something about that thing ticking, and knowing this hour is it for the day, spurs me on and almost without fail the writing improves.  Silly, likely self-hypnosis, but it works. I also like music, instrumentals, the tempo. If I’m stuck, I’ll often pick up a pen and my novel journal and write in long hand for a bit. I’ll ask the characters what they think, and I’ll get pages of just what it is they do think.   That practice deepens the work.

Q. What inspired your novel?

A. The inspiration was not as clear cut as you might imagine. I had an image of an old woman who wrote mysteries and was neo-pagan. By that, I mean spiritual but not religious. When I first conceived of Mémé, that woman, I had her Native American.  Then I started reading about the campaign Native American’s have to stop the misappropriation of their religions.  I dropped that aspect of her character.  The rest of the novel has evolved in the writing. Draft after draft.

Q. Did you do a lot of research for Farthest House?

A. Not much. I did some research into the area in France where the narrator was born, and I studied Google maps of the region. Most of the novel though, is set in a fictional small town in Nebraska and in Omaha. I was raised in a small town, and for the last forty years have lived in Omaha, so no research was necessary on those two locations. I did have to look into the Willie Brown lynching for Jonah’s character. There’s so much written about that horrible day in Omaha history. It was easy to find far more material than I could use.

I love research, and it’s always a temptation to stop right in the middle of a paragraph and go off on some hunt that will consume the rest of my writing time.  I have to rein myself in. One thing that I’ve learned in terms of research is to print off everything that I’m going to use or even might use.  So often, I’d find something, use it, then feel the need six months later to recheck the fact. I’d be back revisiting sources—spending twice the time on research. Now, I make a copy of everything and put it in a three-ring binder under a proper heading. That single practice has saved me hours.     

To order your copy of Farthest House, click here!  To hear the first two chapters read aloud, click here!

In addition to congratulating Margaret on the release of her first novel, 13th Floor Magazine would also like to extend our thanks for her continued support and sponsorship.  It is greatly appreciated and we could not be more excited to share in her wonderful accomplishment!

On Campus: Margaret Lukas to Release New Book

9781608080809-COVER-187x300Writer’s Workshop instructor Margaret Lukas is set to release her new book, Farthest House with WriteLife LLC on January 14th, 2014.

Farthest House, with its rich threads of mysticism, explores jealous, betrayal, and ultimately the healing power of self-forgiveness. When Willow is born and her mother dies moments later, only the narrator of this spellbinding, debut novel knows the death isn’t from complications of childbirth. Amelie-Anais, who lived in France and is now buried on the Nebraska hilltop where the family home resides, tells this story of deceit and survival from beyond the grave. Following Willow’s life and Willow’s incredible passion to paint despite loneliness, a physical handicap, and being raised by a father plagued with secrets, Amelie-Anais weaves together the lives of four generations.

“Margaret Lukas has written a page-turner of a novel. Farthest House, boldly narrated by an unsettled spirit, is part-ghost story and a full-out love story of a family coming to terms with its mysterious past, much of it lived in an ancestral home set within a gorgeously rendered Nebraska landscape. Above all, Farthest House is the story of Willow, a bewildered little girl who grows into a passionate painter. I can’t remember the last time I rooted so enthusiastically for a heroine.” – Anna Monardo, author of Falling in Love with Natassia, and The Courtyard of Dreams

Farthest House is $17.00, and available for pre-order from WriteLife.com.

Listen to Chapter 1 and 2 of Farthest House at FarthestHouse.com.