Yearly Archives: 2011

Publication Anxiety: 3 Stages

Pre-Publication
Your story has been accepted. Cool. If it was published next week that would be great, but it’s slower than beans out there which leaves plenty of time to ruminate. Someone is actually going to read what I write, weird. Who is going to read it, anybody? The worst part about this stage is rereading your story. I did this once, made revisions, sent it to the editor, and asked if he could print this much improved version. But of course I couldn’t stop. I sent two more rewrites, promising the last was the last. My roommate told me to leave the poor guy alone, and I finally did. Once your story is out in the universe, let it go.

Publication
You’ve received your contributor copies. As you skim through your story you see typos. Gasp! Or the table of contents reads your story is on page 21, but it’s really on page 22. Oh no! Or the editorial states your story was submitted as creative non-fiction, but it wasn’t. Ugh! Or, my favourite: your last sent version (The National Corvette Museum is in Bowling Green, Kentucky NOT Bowling Green, Ohio) didn’t make it to the printers. I did cry about that one. Do not dwell. Take heart that someone wants to publish your work and get back to the task at hand – writing.

Post-Publication
You’re writing a new story. You wonder if you will ever be published again? I don’t know if this ever stops. Occasionally, you pick one of your publications off the shelf to remind yourself that someone gets your writing. But this has trappings of the first stage because your writing has improved, right? You will see lines and think, god that was crap; or realize, wow all of my characters are named after dead pets. Stay focused on the craft and the writing you are doing now. This 3-stage cycle will repeat, I promise.

November Literary Links Roundup

The Guardian. How to write fiction: Andrew Miller on how to create characters

The Blood-Red Pencil. Top 25 Reasons your Submissions are Rejected

flash fiction chronicles. FLASH MARKETS

The Guardian. Why creative writing is better with a pen

Raymond Carver. Principles of a story

Editors’ Association of Canada. Definitions of editorial skills

the review review. What Editors Want; A Must-Read for Writers Submitting to Literary Journals

Open Book Ontario. Excerpt: Writer’s Companion -The Nuts & Bolts (Part One)

the Atlantic. When Does a Writer Become a Writer?

Full Stop. Women Who Write like Men and Men Who Write like Women

Near Deathmatch Experience

Time again for Broken Pencil’s annual literary brawl. I thought about submitting last year but instead followed the action from outside the ring. What a ride!

Eight stories go head-to-head online. Authors discuss, defend, and duel with other competitors and commenters from the outisde world.

I have the constitution a writer needs to handle rejection and criticism, but when the Deathmatch began it was a whole other kind of writerly abuse. Sure, some of it was tame and encouraging but by the third round the gloves came off. Beat downs between writers and commenters ramped up the competition. It got ugly, and I loved it.

The Deathmatch became a healthy addiction to stave off my winter blues. After work, I couldn’t wait to read what backinthesaddle or succincubus (regulars on the board) dished that day. Most writers handled the pressure of a seven day round, but a couple did go into hiding. Comments ranged from jabs at the craft to cheap shots at cheating.

Two weeks in,  and I was ready to join the arena with an alias of course. It took restraint at times not to throw a few punches of my own, but I focused on the stories, the writer’s life, etc. Even the most dreaded commenter gave me a virtual pat on the back.

When the dust settled and the ring closed, I suffered withdrawl as with any addiction. David Griffin Brown was the last writer standing with “Brink”. And when Broken Pencil #51 came out with the top four stories,  I saw they had also printed one of my comments. My alias was published in BP before I was.

If you want exposure, enjoy craft-swapping, love trash-talking, and have a thick skin, I dare you to submit. And if you can’t afford a SAD lamp get on the comment board.

Indie Writers Deathmatch V Submissions deadline is December 31st, 2011. Contest rules and regulations.

October Literary Links Roundup

Writing World.Com:  Five Fiction Mistakes that Spell Rejection.

HTML Giant: Inside an MFA program: Call & response #1.

Alternative Reel: Top 10 Drunk American Writers.

the Atlantic: A Visual History of Literary References of the ‘Simpsons’.

Neatorama: 8 Odd Facts About Charles Dickens.

99%: 7 Types of Creative Block (And What to Do About Them).

kottke.org: The history of the typewriter recited by Michael Winslow.

The Guardian: How to write fiction: Rachel Cusk on point of view. 

You Tube: Joanna Skibsrud on Short Fiction.

Fiction Factor: Editing Fiction.

September Literary Links Roundup

BuzzFeed. The Last Words of 25 Famous Dead Writers

The Millions. Post-40 Bloomer: “Late” According to Whom?

99%. 25 Insights on Becoming a Better Writer

The Guardian. Reading fiction ‘improves empathy’, study finds

kottke.org. Kurt Vonnegut explains the shapes of stories

50 Watts. Literary Pets

The Millions. Ten Things I’ve Learned over 12 Years of Sending Out Stories

zenhabits. Best Procrastination Tip Ever

The Guardian. The vanishing fascination of truly anonymous authors

The New York Times. Boys and Reading: Is There Any Hope?

Writing Paralysis

This slump has affected my fiction, blogging, editing, and even tweeting. I knew I was in trouble when I stopped reading a few months back. My top ten excuses:

1.  Grammar Boy – kissing on fire escapes and park benches is more fun than writing, right?
2.  Work hours increase – who has time to write?
3.  The Cats – they need mummy and will not be ignored.
4.  NFL – need to study to achieve success in my pool.
5.  Tired – nothing new, always been an insomniac.
6.  L-I-V-I-N – I’ll write about it later.
7.  School – focusing on my editing career.
8.  Writing in my head – pen to paper is the challenge.
9.  Wrong mood – not that I know what the right one is.
10. Low-Grade Anticipatory Stress Disorder – made this up but sounds about right.

Now that I’ve shared this crap with the blogosphere I’m hoping it will get me back on track. What excuses do you dispense when you’re not writing or doing what you’re passionate about?

August Literary Links Roundup

Flavorwire. The 30 Harshest Author-on-Author Insults In History

Slate. At Home with Philip Roth: the author confesses he never reads fiction

HTMLGiant. 22 Things I Learned from Submitting Writing

99%. Developing Your Creative Practice: Tips from Brian Eno

The Outlet. The Best & Depressed: Mentally Unfit to Lead (and Write)

American Book Review. 100 Best Last Lines from Novels

Writing Forward. How to Abuse and Neglect Punctuation Marks

The Atlantic Wire. Spoiler Alert: Readers Like Knowing  How Stories End

Flavorwire. Thus With A Kiss: 10 Spectacular Suicides in Literature

Guardian. Stephen King launches left wing radio show

“Orchestrated Disaster” in Front & Centre #25

Black Bile Press has published my story “Orchestrated Disaster” in its special edition Front & Centre #25

Editorial Feature: Two writers talking – Salvatore Difalco and Alexandra Leggat

Also fiction by:
Zsolt Alapi, David Burdett, Christine Catalano, David Rose, Daniel MacIsaac, Chelsea Novak, Jeremy Hanson-Finger, Stacey Madden and Zachery Alapi.

Reviews of books by:
Anne Perdue, Danila Botha, Chris Walter, Daniel Allen Cox, Mark Anthony Jarman, Dave Newman, Jerrod Edson and Salvatore Difalco.

Order a copy HERE.

July Literary Links Roundup

Los Angeles Times. Rethinking Hemingway 50 years after his death

Open Book Toronto. The Death of Penmanship (And Penwomanship Too)

Flavorwire. How to Drink Like Your Favourite Authors

Salon Books. Don’t Kill the Oxford Comma!

The Mammalian Daily. The most innovative fiction to hit the newstands

Nathan Bransford. Why You Are Receiving Rejections

The Chronicle. 50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice

Intelligent Life. When Novelists Sober Up

The New York Times. The Rise and Fall of Pseudonyms

Write to Done. How to Finish What You Start: A Five-Step Plan for Writers