Thursday, May 27, 2010

More on One Story's Literary Debutante Ball

Here are some links...
The night was really inspiring -- so many talented people, supporting such a great magazine.

As I said to more than one person, getting published in One Story isn't like getting published in other magazines. It's different. You definitely feel like you're part of a family, part of something unique and special.

Hopefully last week's benefit and other events will make sure One Story is around for many years to come.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Submitting Advice

Not from me but from Jeff Parker, who was recently interviewed at BookFox. He was asked how/where he decides to send stories, and if he had any advice for landing stories in journals.

Here's what he had to say:

"I don’t really strategize. Submitting stories for publication is roughly equivalent to buying scratch-off lottery tickets. Most of the time you get nothing. Sometimes you get five bucks. And every now and then you win the big money.

"People say send stories to journals that you like, but I don’t really understand the logic behind this. And by the way wouldn’t you, wouldn’t most writers, like any journal that wants to publish them? I would. I guess they are saying send to journals whose aesthetics hew to yours. That leads to weird ideas about writing though. Like, I write experimental so I’ll submit to Conjunctions. None of this business is really healthy. And my favorite journals -- Tin House, McSweeneys, N+1, Hobart, American Short Fiction, and others -- entertain different aesthetics.

"I’d say send any given story simultaneously to five big places and to five smaller/lesser-known places that seem like journals people actually read, and give it up to whoever gets back to you first. It’s always nice to get picked up by a big journal, but Aimee Bender taught me a long time ago that if you publish good work in small places, it sometimes has a better chance of going far. And most of my stories that have done something, been selected for an annual anthology or an award say, have all come from the smaller journals."

You can read the full interview here. He also has some interesting things to say about the differences between writing novels vs. short stories (something I'm currently grappling with).

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Wigleaf Top 50 and Million Writers Award

OK, I'm late on posting this, but Wigleaf recently announced its list of the top 50 very short fictions published online last year.

My story "Why We Came to Target at 9:58 on a Monday Night" (published in Freight Stories no. 4) made the long shortlist.

And voting continues for this year's Million Writers Award. You have until May 31.

My vote went to Roxane Gay's "This Program Contains Actual Surgical Procedures," which was published in Twelve Stories.

Damn, it's good. Damn, she's good. Good luck, Roxane.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

One Story Benefit

Back from New York...

On Friday night, I attended One Story's first benefit, the
One Story Literary Debutante Ball: A Celebration of Emerging Writers.

Hannah, Maribeth and the entire One Story staff put on an amazing event. One Story does so much to promote writers and the short story. It was an honor to be there.

Here's a bad photo:

And here's John Hodgman, who was the MC for the presentation of the literary debutantes:

And here's a half-eaten Brooklyn slice I had afterward:

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Books I've Been Reading for a Very, Very Long Time But Have Not Yet Finished

  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
  • The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
  • The Mercy Papers by Robin Romm
  • The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  • Big World by Mary Miller

  • Pank #4
  • Slice Magazine #4
  • The Writer's Notebook: Craft Essays from Tin House
  • Citizens Welles by Frank Brady

It's not that I'm not enjoying these books and journals. I am. Immensely. I want to finish each of them. But somehow… I start one. I stop. I start another. I stop. It’s bad. It’s not good.

This is me admitting there's a problem. The first step.

(Although somewhere in there, at some point, I did manage to start and finish Kevin Wilson's Tunneling to the Center of the Earth. So there's hope.)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

"Stalling" Review

Here's a nice review of my story "Stalling." It's part of the Fictionaut Faves series at the Fictionaut blog.

I've been thinking about this story a lot recently because my oldest son, Ethan (who's turning five this week), is asking about death just about every day.

He wants to know when he'll die. He wants to know when his mother will die. He wants to know when I'll die.

Unfortunately it's been a death-filled year: my aunt died in January, a coworker (in his early 30s) died unexpectedly in February, and most recently my mother-in-law passed away last month.

Plus Ethan's been watching too much Scooby-Doo (filled with ghosts, mummies, etc.).

So there are many, many questions, and lots of stumbling answers.

"Stalling" is autobiographical, but it was mostly speculative at the time I wrote it. Now I'm truly living it.