How To Write Fiction

Funny enough, the same advice about querying magazines held true in 1892 as it does now.

From Atalanta Magazine, Volume 6, (published way back in 1982) introducing a fiction contest, the editor writes:

“A… class of would-be contributor is the utterly silly person who thinks that it would be great fun to have something in print, and imagines that this desirable result can be attained with no labour or previous study. On a certain summer’s afternoon, my co-editor and I were startled by hearing violent giggles outside the office door. Presently two blushing, rosy-faced girls entered. The spokeswoman said she didn’t know our magazine at all–she had never written anything before in her life, but she and her friend thought they would like to make an attempt, if we would give them something to do. Were we to suggest a subject, they did not mind in the least what they wrote about. I need scarcely say that the services of these accomplished ladies were not secured.”

The how-to guide also covers false modesty, recommendations from friends (they don’t always work), remembering editorial calendars (don’t write a poem about April and send it to the magazine in April), and the still-useful admonition: Don’t quit your day job.

Has nothing changed in over 100 years?