Archive for October, 2012

single copy lit mags via NewPages

October 31, 2012

It may be a challenge to find a wide assortment of literary journals at your local bookseller these days—if you still have a local bookseller in your town. Thankfully, the fine folks at NewPages.com have developed an up-to-the-minute web store where readers can pick up single copies of journals—no subscription required!

A quick look at the current featured journals includes New Ohio Review, Cimarron Review, and Salamander. The complete listing includes national and international favorites as well as a few new kids on the block. It’s definitely worth a look if you’re looking to fill the gap between AWP’s incredible access to mags in the bookfair.

Flat fee shipping means it’s best to grab a few. Why pay $3 shipping for one mag when you can throw in a few more journals at no additional shipping cost?

Have a look at the offerings, let the NewPages.com folks know what you think, and spread the word. 

Visit the online shop here:

http://www.newpageswebstore.com/

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From the Archives: Ten Ideas for Keepin’ it Real

October 24, 2012

When Amye Archer took care of The Write Life posts back in the day, she invited fellow Wilkie Gale Martin to contribute something for this blog. Gale’s piece has as much relevance today as ever, so what better way to get tips on writing than from someone with personal experience and staying power….

Originally posted May 12, 2011

Preparing for writing success demands common sense and self care

by Gale Martin

You’ve just completed your novel, your memoir, or your chapbook. You’ve gotten strong feedback from your beta-reader(s) or an outside evaluator through the Wilkes University Creative Writing program where you’ve received unprecedented access to the almighty gatekeepers—agents and editors. Maybe you attended a conference and pitched your book to an agent who requested a complete manuscript. Nothing can stop you now. Surely, you’ll have a publishing contract in hand within months, right?

Maybe. Maybe not. According to Putting Your Passion into Print, more than 150,000 books are conventionally published every year. That’s an incredibly large number of publishing opportunities compared to the number of screenplays actually made into feature length films every year. There’s plenty of room for good books—yours included.

Statistics such as ‘less than five percent of popular booksellers total sales are bestsellers’ provide reason enough to be optimistic that you may one day join the ranks of published authors. That is, if you don’t expect too much success too soon. That’s the fastest route to burnout. Expecting to be the next overnight writing sensation might be the single greatest handicap to the writing career you so desperately seek. Prepare instead for a long slog. Commit yourself and your faculties to writerly habits and a lifestyle that can sustain you and your writing career.

Keep writing.  After I wrote my first novel in 2005, I was so proud of the fact that I’d completed a work of fiction, I used to carry it around with me wherever I went. After a few months, a pair of tired arms, and only one nibble from an agent, I realized that completing a novel was only the beginning of my writerly journey. I began writing flash fiction, short stories, and humorous essays while I began plotting my next novel. One of the writers I follow on Twitter who is also a literary agent never sold his first book—the one he was certain would sell. But sold plenty after that. So, keep writing. It’s never good to pin your hopes to one manuscript.

Not to mention that editors and agents want writers who are good for more than one book. One of the Wilkes’ faculty members Lenore Hart sold her latest book The Raven’s Bride before it was written. Her publisher was banking on Lenore’s reputation for producing another publishable novel.

Keep submitting other work elsewhere.  As long as you continue writing, you’ll not only be honing your craft, have work to submit to publications and contests. For most of us, rejections far outweigh acceptances. You have to submit a critical level of work before the odds start turning in your favor. Once they do, every acceptance is validation to stay the course and builds confidence which you’ll need for more rejections and the inevitable slog.

Set reasonable goals.  In recent craft classes at Wilkes, writer Lori A. May shared a framework for goal setting for a rich, focused writing career. Her model encourages writers to think in bigger chunks beyond the next story, the next month, the next acceptance. Set goals that will stretch you. But don’t doom yourself to failure either by comparing yourself to someone who’s achieved instant publishing success or setting irrational goals, such as, “Will have literary representation in one month.” Perhaps you won’t. I just interviewed a writer on my blog Scrivengale who has published four books but doesn’t have an agent. Make your goal instead, “Will query five agents every month.”

Volunteer to judge a contest. Reading others writers’ work with whom you’re not competing head to head, within your cohort or in the Wilkes program in general, can be eye-opening. It’s a productive way to learn from others’ mistakes and successes while being a good literary citizen.

Look for outlets to read your work. If none exist, create one. One of thegreat privileges published authors enjoy is the chance to read their work in public venues. In the Wilkes program, students are given several opportunities to do that. Once you’re out of the program, it’s one of the things you miss most.

At least I did because I love reading my work. Not seeing anything available in her hometown, one of the students in my cohort Ally Bishop went out and created an outlet for writers in Central Pennsylvania to read their work—published and unpublished—readings in which I’ve taken part. I know other Wilkes students are following Ally’s example, approaching galleries, book shops, and coffee shops about offering literary readings.

Get a writing group together. Writing is an insular life. If you don’t have an editor to give you pause to think about your narrative arc, to redirect your work, you would probably benefit from participating in a writing group. I said a writing group, not a shredding group. I’ve been in a shredding group—an utter waste of time and potentially devastating. If you can find a handful of other writers committed to careful reading and constructive criticism, it helps fill the gap left between working with a faculty mentor or a professional editor and writing in solitude.

Explore other avenues of sharing your work, like Scribd. I just learned about www.scribd.com, a social publishing site, where tens of millions of people share original writings and documents. One young woman who wrote a memoir but couldn’t obtain any interest from a conventional publisher, shared her memoir in segments on Scribd, obtaining three thousand readers per post. Few bloggers can attract that volume of readership. It may be worth your time investigating.

Write something for sheer enjoyment. I’m not sure where I heard about this online writing community at The Write Idea, an international group of poets and prose writers, but for three years now I have participated in a nine-round fiction contest with some of the most generous, talented writers I’ve ever met. It is sheer fun to receive the prompts, chat them up on the site, and see how everyone fares following each round of judging. This contest is something I do just for the love of writing and as such, the sustenance it offers me is invaluable.

Create something for sheer enjoyment. I read Jane Friedman’s blog There Are No Rules  regularly, which is how I learned about Scribd. In one of her columns, Jane also mentioned a site called About.me, which allows writers and other creatives the chance to create a free splash page, in lieu of a full-blown website. It was a great exercise trying to encapsulate my writing experience and persona into a splash page and lots of fun doing so.

Strive for a more balanced life. Shortly after I finished the Wilkes program, I needed a month to thaw out, having combined my studies with demanding full-time jobs. Then I looked around my very untidy house, threw myself into some cleaning projects, and planned an anniversary celebration. I also recommitted myself to regular church attendance and singing in the choir, which meant rehearsing one night a week away from my *sigh* laptop, which I was certain was attached to my fingers. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the level of life balance I enjoyed before I began writing creatively, but the writing schedule a master’s or MFA program demands wasn’t going to sustain my marriage or a life well-lived. I simply had to make some changes.

To outsiders, it may appear that I’ve ratcheted down my expectations for my publishing career, but that’s not an accurate assessment of my approach to my post-Wilkes writing. I’m merely steeling myself for a long slog but fully intending to appreciate any smaller success along the way.

Gale Martin

Gale Martin is a Wilkes alum. Since graduating, she has had several publications including the novels Grace, Unexpected and Don Juan in Hankey, PA.

Call for Proposals: Anthology for Instructors

October 17, 2012

Here’s an opportunity to share:

Call for Abstracts: ‘Creative Composition: Inspiration and Techniques for Writing Instruction’ —an essay anthology.

We seek essays that examine concrete approaches to teaching writing in several venues, across the spectrum.

Abstracts (250-500 words) for proposed essays must be received by Nov 30, 2012.

Notifications and invitations for full essays will be sent by Jan 4, 2013.

Invited essays (2,500-7,500 words) are due by March 1, 2013.

For more details and to see the Submission Guidelines please visit: http://creativecompositioncfp.blogspot.com/

CW program featured in Beacon

October 10, 2012

Last week, The Beacon’s A&E Editor Bill Thomas ran a feature story demonstrating the success of the Wilkes creative writing program, highlighting alum publications.

Taylor M. Polites is included in the list of interviewees discussing his runaway hit with The Rebel Wife; Jonathan Rocks shares his experience with screenwriting and optioning his film, Luke Whimsey; and Laurie Powers discusses her projects and why she came back for an MFA.

Read the full feature in The Beacon here: http://www.thewilkesbeacon.com/arts-entertainment/2012/10/02/creative-writing-grads-brings-visions-to-life/

Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction

October 5, 2012

The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction: Advice and Essential Exercises from Respected Writers, Editors, and Teachers
Edited by Dinty W. Moore
Rose Metal Press, 2012
ISBN 978-0-9846166-6-4
$15.95, 180 pages

Link to purchase

Writers of nonfiction will find this new craft guide, edited by Dinty W. Moore, a useful resource for approaching the personal essay. For flash nonfiction, and working with less than a thousand words, the challenge is to capture a whole world of a story in the most concise manner possible—while still providing the satisfaction readers expect.

The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction includes 26 essays from writers like Carol Guess, Judith Kitchen, and Lee Martin. The “thingy-ness” that makes flash nonfiction work is explored by Anne Panning while voice in the short form is discussed by a variety of authors in differing perspectives.

Each contributor begins with a craft discussion, and then a prompt follows for you to try your hand at the technique. Sample flash pieces are also shared to give an idea of how the author has him/herself approached the topic at hand.

As a resource for the graduate writer, The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction will push you beyond what you already know about structure and storytelling, and help you focus on the harder-to-define elements to take your writing to a new level.

raves for David Poyer’s latest work

October 3, 2012

David Poyer, Wilkes faculty member and ever-prolific writer, was recently featured on the blog “Our Stories by Paul Clancy: Columns in the Virginian-Pilot.”

In Happier than this Day and Time, Poyer introduces us to eight individuals rooted in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. In this “Oral History,” we are taken to another time, another place, where real life voices are revisited. Conversations stem from interviews conducted in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with folks who look back on their isolation in the Outer Banks.

Here’s what readers have to say:

“A major contribution to the preservation of the lore and heritage of the Outer Banks.” — David Stick

“The voices ring with authenticity.” — Paul Clancy, Norfolk Virginian-Pilot

“Many of us who came of age before WWII harbor an abiding belief that life back then was slower, simpler and infinitely richer in human connections. In this collection of eight personal narratives from old-time Outer Banks residents, David Poyer provides compelling evidence that this is indeed true.” – Joan La Blanc, amazon reader

Happier than this Day and Time is available from Northampton House and the Kindle edition is selling for a mere $3.99