Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Inspiration: Writing Contests

Change of plans.

I know I said I'd write about three publications agents and editors read - and how reading them can help you become a better writer today - but I'm not.

Instead, I want to point you to three articles in this month's edition of a publication I read as often as possible - Poets and Writers magazine. Of all the trade pubs geared toward writers, I consider Poets and Writers to be the best for the experienced writer (or editor) when it comes to unique, valuable perspectives and advice.

This issue was particularly hard to put down - I honestly recommend you go out and buy a hard copy and read it cover-to-cover. If you don't have time for that though (lord knows I didn't!), don't miss these three:

Agents and Editors: A Q&A With Four Young Literary Agents (online)

An excerpt:

"Aside from referrals, where are you finding writers?
I get most of my fiction through slush.
BARER: I found
The Heretic's Daughter in the slush pile. The author had never written a novel before. She had never been in a writing class or an MFA program. She came out of nowhere. She simply had this incredible story, which is that her grandmother, nine generations back, was hanged as a witch in Salem. Just because you have that great story doesn't mean that you can necessarily tell it well, but it was an incredible book."

The Case for Contests: Why Emerging Writers Should Submit (print only)

An excerpt:

"At a time when more and more structural barriers and layers of protection prevent obscure and emerging writers from having their work considered by major publishing houses, or published in glossy magazines, the literary competition is the unknown author's best friend."

Finding Beverly: One Writer's Unexpected Afterlife (print only)

"What motivates a writer to work on a single manuscript for sixteen years without seeking to publish it? Did it take nerves of steel or a lack of confidence to follow Beverly's course as a writer? Why do some writers treat their art as a public vocation and others reserve it for private pleasure? What is writing really for, anyway?"

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