Archive for August, 2011

[Catchy Titles Are Hard Work]

OK–I’m back from vacation, and despite it being cut short due to Hurricane Irene (a/k/a The Storm that Wasn’t for NYC), I had some great time to think about my story.  This is typical of my beach vacations, especially when I’m out there swimming…I can get inside my characters’ heads when there’s nothing else to think about besides being clobbered by the next wave that comes along.

But what I ended up spending time thinking about was a prompt from a literary magazine…  The prompt–“the body”–got me thinking about my main character and all of the important people in her life.

If I post a little of what the prompt word got me to write about, will anyone else join in?



This has been a heavy week of posting for me–I’ll be away all of next week.  I’m bringing my story along, but my beach time is often the best time for me to get my story worked out in my head.

In the meantime, and in keeping with my desire to get published, I’m looking at the following contests.  I would really love to know any/all opinions on these literary magazines.  Please note: My annotations are purely my opinions.  Feel free to comment and let me know why you agree or disagree with me, or if you have any other suggestions.  The next time I post contests, I’ll post those that look interesting–and not simply for me.

What I like about this contest: It’s about family!  That’s my main subject!  I feel as though I might actually have a shot at this one.

What I like about this contest: OK–I like that it’s a journal for moms.  I’m a mom!  A lot of my work deals with my main character and her mother who left her when she was 11.  I think I can maybe find something to work with here.

What I like about this contest:  I like the magazine…and it’s one from which I’ve received my most encouraging rejections.

What I like about this contest: The editors actually offer feedback. This is so rare, I’m tempted to submit.

What I like about this contest: Oh, I just like this magazine.  I don’t have many hopes for them publishing me, but I like it.

Finding my audience…

I’m still figuring out where I stand on the traditional publishing/e-publishing line, and I’m sure I’ll post on that once (or as soon as) I figure it out.

As far as what I need currently?  Publication.  I’m open to both online and paper journals.  While I don’t have nearly enough material for a book, I do have stories that I need to get out there.

See–I know this!  But rejection is still so hard.  These people I’ve helped create have  become family to me–for better or for worse.  When their stories are rejected, I feel as though I’ve done them a big disservice.  I’m never angry at the people who have turned down my entry…I’m mad that I didn’t find the right audience for my story.

I feel a little bit like Stuart Smalley here–“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”  But I believe in my writing enough to know that the right audience has got to be out there, and I know I have to keep on trying until I find it. (Lord, wouldn’t it be great if I had the time to check out every literary magazine in creation?)  In the next couple of days, I’m going to post a bunch of contests that have piqued my interest recently.  If anyone has any opinions, I’d love to hear them!

[Insert catchy title here]

Hello, and welcome!  Some may be surprised that I’ve begun a blog: I’ve previously been anti-blog, because I wasn’t sure that I really had anything to say.  But this is typical of the way my writing has evolved through the years.  After I left college at the age of 19 to try to write on my own, I wasn’t sure that I had anything important enough to say.  So I kept quiet.

I wrote and wrote during this time, filling notebooks and experimenting with character, voice, and style.  But I kept most of my writing hidden, unsure if I was good enough. I told myself I was gaining life experience as I worked in dead-end job after dead-end job: coffee jobs, movie jobs, bookstore jobs, MoMA design store jobs, more and more coffee and bookstore jobs.

Every now and again, I’d take a writing class.  Teacher after teacher loved my work and encouraged me to keep going. I finally decided that I didn’t want to keep working in jobs that made me miserable.  With the support of my soon-to-be husband, I went back to school at Harvard’s Extension School part-time, taking two writing classes.

I kicked ass in those classes, and both teachers wrote me recommendations for Emerson College, where I enrolled full-time.  And I fell in love with writing all over again, but the big difference was that this time I believed in myself.  I knew that I had people in my head whose stories only I could tell.

Please take a leap forward with me: I’ve been out of school for 10 years.  I’m now a freelance editor with an academic publisher, wife, mom to two, and we’ve set up house in Brooklyn.  I’ve led writing groups and I’ve joined writing groups.  I’ve published a short story.  I’ve let life get in the way of my writing a lot, and I’ve had lots of starts and stops.

So where does this blog figure in?  I’m now actively working on a novel, and I’m ready to talk about it–the highs, the lows, and everything in between.  I’ve realized that the world of publishing has changed a lot since I first became aware of it, and is still changing.  I’m going to use this blog as my sounding board, and as many of you know, I now have a LOT to say.