Why Your Rejection Letter Means Nothing

Dan Burgess, editor-in-chief of literary magazine Firewords, shares an editor’s perspective on the loathed but unavoidable reality of rejection letters.

At a recent book fair, we were talking to several writers about their experiences of submitting to literary journals. It was surprising to hear that they had all given up trying after receiving rejections.

We were aghast and quickly reassured them that they shouldn’t take rejections personally. We know (first hand!) that rejections are hard to take, which is why we try to give personal feedback to every single submission we receive, even though it makes our job infinitely harder (we’ll go into our reasons for giving feedback in a later blog).

Continue Reading…

Taking Your Notebook for a Walk An A to K of Places to Write

What to do there and why it’s good for you

A guest post by Shaun Levin
The second half of the A to Z of Places to Write can be seen here.

I like taking notes. I believe in the importance of notebooks. If you don’t trust me, listen to Joan Didion. A notebook is like a dream diary but for when you’re out of bed. It doesn’t need a plan or a story or a novel that’s being worked on; just an openness to what’s out there, and a quiet faith that whatever gets written will find a place in the greater project that is your work. Below are a few more places to write, with suggestions of what to do there. Many of the suggested exercises would work in other places, too.

“The habit of note taking is obviously compulsive . . . Our culture’s need to pigeonhole everything is defeated in these notebooks. Spontaneity rules here. The writer incorporates chances and makes do with the unforeseen.”
Charles Simic

A is for Art Gallery

What to do there: Pick a painting to work with. Go for something figurative. Tell its story in detail as if you’re describing a scene. Stay within the frame. Focus on describing what you see before moving into “story”. When you’ve written for at least 20 minutes, allow yourself only one reference to what’s going on beyond the frame. Come back to describing what’s in the frame. For inspiration on ways to use your description in a story, read Don Delilo’s story ‘Baader-Meinhof’.

Why it’s good for you: Discipline. Playing with restrictions. Ekphrasis expands your repertoire.

A is also for: Aviary, Amusement Park, Airport,

B is for Beauty Salon

What to do there: Write about bodies and body language. Write about different parts of the body and how they are treated: nails, hair, body hair, the face. Notice how people touch each other and avoid touching. Write about what people do to their bodies and have done to them. Follow one person and record what they do. Later, rewrite this as a set of actions or instructions to an understudy. For an example of how it’s done, read Jamaica Kincaid’s story ‘Girl’.

Why it’s good for you: Observing body language. Experimenting with list stories. See also Joe Brainard’s book I Remember.

B is also for: Bus, Boat, Bookshop, Bakery, Barbers, Bank.

Continue Reading…

Opportunities for Writers June and July 2016

Each month we aim to provide a helpful round-up of writing competitions, fellowships, publication opportunities and more for writers at all stages of their careers. 

For new writers, or for anyone seeking a refresher, we highly recommend reading How to Submit Your Writing to Literary Magazines.

Deadlines and details do sometimes change, so please check the relevant websites (linked in bold) for all the latest details. For more opportunities and regular updates follow Aerogramme Writers’ Studio on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Broken City
is accepting submissions for a school-themed issued titled ‘Breakfast Clubbed’. Submissions of poetry, fiction, essays, comics, illustrations and photography will all be considered. Closes 1 June.

Gladstone’s Library Writers in Residence
Built in 1902, Gladstone’s Library is the UK’s only residential library. The Library’s Writers in Residence program began in 2011. Four residencies are offered each year with each writer staying at the Library for a month. The Writers in Residence are asked to keep a blog about their stay, as well as running a creative writing workshop. Residents receive full room and board, reimbursement for travel expenses and a small stipend of £100 per week. Applications close on 1 June.

Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for Veterans
is a creative writing contest for U.S. military veterans and active duty personnel and is hosted by The Iowa Review. Writing can be in any genre, about any subject matter and must be under 20 pages. First prize is $1000 and publication in the Spring 2017 issue of The Iowa Review and there is no entry fee. Entries close on 1 June.

Willow Springs Books
invites submissions for the 2016 Spokane Prize for Short Fiction. The winner receives US$2000 plus publication. Manuscripts should be no less than 98 pages (with no maximum page count) and include at least 3 short stories. Entries close 1 June.

Where The Stars Rise
is a new anthology of speculative fiction featuring original stories that celebrate Asian diversity, featuring an Asian main character, Asian setting and/or some amount of Asian elements, by authors with an Asian heritage/ancestry. Submissions close 1 June.

Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library
is accepting submissions for its fifth annual issue. The theme is Indiana. The journal accepts submissions of poetry, creative non-fiction, short fiction, original artwork, and/or photography related to the theme. The deadline is 1 June.

American Short Fiction Contest
is open to entries between 2000 and 6500 words. It offers a first prize of US$1000 prize and publication and all entries will be considered for publication. Closes 1 June.

NonBinary Review
is a quarterly interactive literary journal that joins many stories around each issue’s theme. The editors invite authors to explore each theme in any way that speaks to them including rewriting a familiar story from a new point of view, mashing genres together or writing a personal essay about some aspect of the selected theme. NonBinary review is currently accepting submissions for issue nine on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland close on 1 June.

Fourteen Hills
is edited by graduate students in the creative writing program at San Francisco State University. It is committed to presenting a diversity of experimental and progressive work by emerging and cross-genre writers. Submissions close 1 June.

10 Days to a Daily Habit
is a new Skillshare course taught by  novelist, essayist and bookseller Emily Gould. This self-paced creative writing challenge is aimed at helping you unlock your creativity and kickstart a daily writing habit. Enrol using the link above to access this course, and hundreds of others, for three months for just 99 cents.

Continue Reading…

Rattle Poetry Prize 2016

Rattle’s 11th annual poetry prize is currently accepting entries. The winner will receive US$10,000 and publication in the winter issue of the magazine. Ten finalists will each receive $200 and be in the running for a $2000 Reader’s Choice Award.

The competition is open to writers worldwide and all entries must be previously unpublished. Poems may be any length, any style, or any subject and there is no line limit.

Continue Reading…

A woman reads a tablet beside a fire pit on cold winter evening outside the Science Center at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts February 18, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENVIRONMENT) - RTR4Q65X

Young adult literature is booming – and the secret is in the communities of young book lovers forming online. Photo: Brian Snyder

A post by Marcella Purnama and Mark Davis, University of Melbourne

Before JK Rowling, critics and experts predicted that young adult (YA) literature would finally die, as sales continued to decline. In 1997, a mere 3,000 YA books were published. A decade later that number was 30,000.

The success of Harry Potter changed everything. YA is now embraced by teenagers and adults alike – a 2012 Bowker Market Research study in the US found that 55 per cent of people buying YA books are over 18.

We’re currently living in the second golden age of YA literature. But why is there a sudden demand for these coming-of-age books?

Apart from the undeniable quality of the books themselves, a generation of online readers are creating new ways to discuss, dissect and celebrate their favourite stories. And it’s driving sales in a big way.

Take John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars (2012). It reached #1 on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble bestseller lists six months before the book was published. It received thousands of five-star reviews, ranked by readers who hadn’t even held their copies.

Continue Reading…

The University of East Anglia’s School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing is offering a free, online course focused on screenwriting.

Starting on Monday 2 May, this course is for anyone new to scriptwriting and for more experienced writers who wish to raise their scriptwriting to a professional level: “It will establish a common vocabulary for approaching the screenplay and form the basis for upcoming courses in dramatic adaptation, the crime screenplay, and other genres and skills.”

The course is led by Michael Lengsfield. A graduate of Columbia University’s MFA program, Michael has written scripts for The Walt Disney Company, Harpo Entertainment and others, and his work has screened at the Sundance Film Festival.

Continue Reading…

Opportunities for Writers May and June 2016

Each month we aim to provide a helpful round-up of writing competitions, fellowships, publication opportunities and more for writers at all stages of their careers. 

For new writers, or for anyone seeking a refresher, we highly recommend reading How to Submit Your Writing to Literary Magazines.

Deadlines and details do sometimes change, so please check the relevant websites (linked in bold) for all the latest details. For more opportunities and regular updates follow Aerogramme Writers’ Studio on Facebook and Twitter.

The O. Henry Prize Stories
is an annual collection of the year’s twenty best stories published in American and Canadian magazines. Entries must be submitted by the magazine’s editors and should reach the series editor, Laura Furman, by 1 May. The 20 stories selected for the 2015 O. Henry Prize collection are available here.

Malahat Review’s Far Horizons Poetry Award
is currently accepting poetry from emerging writers worldwide. No more than 3 poems per submission (multiple submissions welcome). Entry fee comes with one-year subscription. A prize of $1000 will be awarded to one winner. The deadline is 1 May.

Prairie Schooner
was established in 1926. Its intention is to publish the best writing available, both from beginning and established writers. Submissions close 1 May.

10 Days to a Daily Habit
is a new Skillshare course taught by  novelist, essayist and bookseller Emily Gould. This self-paced creative writing challenge is aimed at helping you unlock your creativity and kickstart a daily writing habit. Enrol using the link above to access this course, and hundreds of others, for three months for just 99 cents.

David Nathan Meyerson Prize for Fiction
is only open to writers who have not yet published a book of fiction, either a novel or collection of stories. The winner receives US$1000 and publication in Southwest Review. Stories can be up to 8000 words in length and all entries will be considered for publication. The deadline for entries is 1 May.

Continue Reading…