Writing Resources

Duotrope MarketList Replacement

Duotrope, a website for finding places to send stories and novels, recently decided to move access to their core functionality behind a paywall. The reasons for this are explained on their site.

To replace the loss of Duotrope for the casual user, Diabolical Plots (who have a good write-up on the situation) have decided to introduce a new marketlist/submission system, which they call the Submission Grinder.

I have played around with this new tool and though it is in early stages, it is functional, with a submission tracking system in place and many writing markets available. Of course it will only continue to grow with use, and requires more writers to start using it for the submission data to be relevant. So if you are looking for place to search for new markets for your writing (and/or want an online submission tracker), check it out.

Former lead designer at BioWare (Dragon Age: Origins, Neverwinter Nights). Creator of Raiders of the Serpent Sea.


  • Mordi_peshkess

    Seems like a useful tool. Do you see yourself continuing to use it?

    I hope that the decision to move their core functionality to a paid form wouldn’t deter too many up and coming writers.

    Anyways, keep up the good work.

  • Brent Knowles

    I’ll use the Submission Grinder, though I’m starting to ramp down on writing stories (focusing more on novels) so I don’t have as much need for tools like these anymore.

    I think Duotrope will probably reverse their decision to charge $, or they’ll fold. New writers, who need tools like these the most, are not making any money and can’t pay for these services. That’s always been the problem with marketlists, whether in book form, or digital. Once a writer is¬†successful¬†enough to pay for them, they don’t need them anymore!

  • Mordi Peshkess

    Classic Catch 22. No matter what happens you must fly the plane, right?! 

    I personally think that the internet has changed the game. You literally have unlimited access to millions of people around the world with hardly any investment, I know some agents back in the old days would have killed for the kind exposure the internet provides you. 

    I think it’s really cool that guys like you and Drew are doing this websites because it lets you have direct line to your fans instead of having it filtered through¬†various¬†outlets. I think it also gives you an¬†experience¬†to have a little bit more¬†control¬†over the¬†business¬†side of creative writing.¬†

    However, do you sometimes feel that having to deal with business side of you writing takes away time from your actual writing? 

  • Brent Knowles

    Right now the time cost of maintaining this website and whatnot is relatively light for me; I don’t feel it has much impact on my writing time. Plus many of the discussions I have had here feed into the writing I do for the Lazy Designer books.

    That said, I can definitely see how, in the future, with a larger audience, my time could really be eaten up but I’ll worry about that ‘problem’ later.

    Probably the biggest time sink I have right now is a different aspect of the business side of things. I lose hours a week sending stories and novels to markets. Right now I have about 40 stories in circulation and when some come back as rejections, I have to find new potential markets for them. Additionally many markets have different formatting requirements and file formats and whatnot, so time is lost reformatting as well. 

    This is actually one of the main reasons why I have decided to write fewer stories (focusing¬†more on novels). Novels take longer to write, which means I’ll have fewer of them circulating, which means I won’t spend as much time submitting them places as I would if I were writing stories.

  • Mordi Peshkess

    That’s pretty cool how you use the¬†discussion¬†here to feed directly into your writing. ¬†I know you’ve been in the gaming industry for a long time but it’s pretty cool how a fan can come along and give you an outside perspective. ¬†keeps the mind fresh because I bet one of the biggest problem with making games is the¬†tunnel¬†vision you get after a while.¬†

    I also think it’s kinda cool that you’re writing them because as far as I know there are almost no¬†literature¬†on this subject so for up and coming game designers these books can serve as a really good¬†guidelines.¬†

    I wish I could write as I have so many ideas and stories I want to tell but I have shitty spelling and really bad grammar. English is not my first language. 

    Maybe some day I’ll work out the courage needed.¬†

  • Brent Knowles

    I have fairly weak spelling and grammar too :)

    I do a lot of editing on my work, I’ve even coded a few specialized writing tools to help me with it.

    I usually do several rounds of editing before editors see it. My initial writing time is fast but the edits I do after the first draft can take significant time, to compensate for the initial sloppiness in the writing.

    And in case you haven’t read his work yet, I’ll toss a link to Tom Crosshill’s (http://www.tomcrosshill.com/) writing website. I met Tom at the Writers of the Future workshop and he’s a fantastic writer. The reason I bring him up is that English isn’t his original language either and to be frank, I’m rather envious of his ¬†writing skill!!

  • Mordi Peshkess

    Thanks for the link. I will check him out.

    How do you¬†approach¬†your writing? Do you just sit and pretty much write what’s in you head at the moment then arrange it or do you first make bullet points for what you wanna achieve.¬†

  • Brent Knowles

    I used to just write whatever popped into my head but I do plan a fair bit now (less so with short stories).

    With the novels, I usually start thinking about the plot/characters well in advance of writing and slowly build it up, while working on other projects.

    I’ve found that this leads to less revision time. The first novel I wrote ended up completely rewritten several times. On the ¬†most recent novel, my revision time was spent on improving dialog and phrasing, not on adding/removing chapters and characters and such.

    I don’t plan every little detail… and the stories do deviate from the plan, but I find it definitely helps anchor what I want to do, so that I’m not wasting time going off in an illogical direction.

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