Tuesday, November 25, 2008

On being American...

In a literary tribute to Thanksgiving, NPR has been airing interviews with authors specializing in "immigrant" fiction and how their own experiences as people with multiple home countries have influenced their writing.

Pulitzer Prize winners Junot Diaz and Jhumpa Lahiri were featured yesterday and today; tomorrow the series ends with Irish author Joseph O'Neill.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Contests and more

Got a story kicking around that you've been meaning to submit? Of course you do.

Submit it to a mag (check out the Phoebe office for back journals if you're confused about where to start)

Submit it to a contest like Narrative Magazine's 2008 Fiction Contest or one of Glimmer Train's many monthly contests.

Don't know where to start? Sign up for the Creative Writing Opportunity listserv at Yahoo Groups and get a daily/weekly/monthly newsletter with current listings for contests, new journals needing submissons, and teaching positions. To sign up send an email to CRWROPPS-B-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

And let us know when you publish that story so we can brag about your fabulousness.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Brian Brodeur, Guest Blogger at The Writer's Center

According to my Facebook feed, Brian Brodeur is a guest blogger this week over at the Bethesda Writer's Center blog. He writes about his short-lived career as a plate spinner, sailing around the world in a hot dog, and where the wild things are. And he writes about his new book Other Latitudes. Here's an excerpt from his post:

When an interviewer recently asked if I’d thought the publication of my first book would change my life, I responded with one word: “No.” I then went on to express my gratitude for the trickling of e-mails I’d received from sympathetic strangers who wrote to tell me how much they’d enjoyed my book. How shocked I was that anyone had actually read it. Feeling a little guilty now for not being one-hundred percent honest, I’d like to revise my answer.

Brian Brodeur and Eric Pankey will be reading this Sunday at The Writer's Center. Details at the website. The reading starts at 2:00pm.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Two Online Pubs

1) Laura Ellen Scott has a new story up in the November issue of Storyglossia. The story is called "Felly Stories" and can be read here.

2) Scott Garson has a short short at the new online journal Sir! and it can be read by clicking here.

Good work everyone. This is a good week.

Congrats to Alyson Foster

Completion Fellow Alyson Foster just received an acceptance letter in the mail from the editors of the Iowa Review.

Her story will be printed in their winter issue a year from now. Look for it in December of '09.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fiction Magazine out now

The latest issue of Fiction Magazine is out, apparently, and in it is a new story by Ryan Effgen. You can check the site here for more information; also, I imagine Politics and Prose is carrying it. They tend to have a few good lit journals up front.

Folks, tell us about your pubs.

Upcoming Readings

Next week features readings from both permanent and visiting faculty. See you there!

Alan Cheuse reads from his new novel To Catch the Lightning Tuesday November 18 at 7pm, ground floor of the campus bookstore. (reception - food! - at 6:30pm)

Madeleine Thein, winner of the Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop Emerging Writer Award for fiction, and author of the story collection Simple Recipes and a novel Certainty


Rawi Hage, a native of Lebanon and author of two novels, DeNiro's Game and Cockroach.
BOTH reading in Research 1, Room 163, starting at 7:30 and preceded by a reception at 6:30.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Six Rules of Writing: Inspiring, Really

Thought this was interesting, and thought I'd share... I found it somewhat uplifting, particularly as we head into the last quarter of the semester.

The first five rules were penned by Robert A. Heinlein. The last rule was added to the list by Robert J. Sawyer, a Hugo and Nebula award winner (who also had one story rejected 18 times before it was finally accepted).

There are six rules of writing. If You take 100 people who say they want to write a book you will eliminate half of the group with each rule.
Rule #1: Sit down and start writing.
You've already done more than 50 people in your group can say. It sounds obvious, but half won't do it.

Rule #2: Finish the book.
My first book took me two and half months, but that put me ahead of 75 other people.

Rule #3: Quit tinkering with it. Once you've written it, you will go back through and make changes to the original. Refrain from rewriting except to editorial order. If your latest changes bring it back to what it was last week, you are done: quit fooling around with it and move on to rule 4. That was a tough one, but my wife helped me by editing for grammar and such. This one leaves you ahead of 87 - 88 people who say they want to write a book.

Rule #4: Send it out. It will never get published if you don't send it to a publisher.
These days it can be hard to find a publisher who will take an unsolicited manuscript. Look around on the web, they are out there. You might even want to think about finding a reputable literary agent. Once you send it to the publisher, you have left 94 - 95 in the original group of would-be writers behind.

Rule #5: Keep it on the market until it is sold.
If it is rejected today, it should be in the mail to another publisher tomorrow.

Remember, "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle (If you haven't at least heard of it, where have you been hiding?) was rejected 27 times before it was accepted and became a classic.

Rule #6: Start something else as soon as you put one manuscript in the mail.
Don't sit around waiting to start another book until the first one is sold. Very few writers make enough off of their first book to set themselves up for life. Once the first one sells, you will want to get more out there to pay the mortgage. Also, if you have something to write, the chances are good that you have more than one book in you.