Closing in on halfway through 2013, we figure it’s a good time to check in with y’all on how your writing is going this year, and whether or not you’re hitting those New Years resolutions.
Have some news to share with us? Care to brag about your project(s)? Want to link to your website so other WBNers can check out your work? Are you on Twitter? Do you have a Facebook fan page?
Let us know in the comments below. Sound those barbaric yawps.
The 2013 Texas Observer Short Story Contest is open for submissions, gang. This year’s guest judge is Dagoberto Gilb, and the winning writer receives $1,000 and publication in the annual Books Issue.
When asked what he looks for in good short fiction, Mr. Gilb says this:
“I want nothing but the wildest punk prose. Or the finest classical verse as prose. I like stories of those who never have stories written about them, or the under-the-rock scurrying of those who seem to have it all. I want the story to be treated as importantly as a novel or a poem, crafted as neurotically about details and punctuation as a jeweler with an eyepiece.”
Y’all write wild punk prose, yes? (And y’all are neurotic, yes?)
In the spirit of the CW network’s slogan “TV now! TV now!” we’re offering up a few videos today. So put down those damn books, you nerds, and tune in.
Our Chamber Four pals have some excellent new podcasts up. Find all episodes of “The Page Count” here.
Yes, both of those last two are audio. See how I lure you in with promises of visual entertainment and then pull the old switcheroo? (Is this the old switcheroo, or is this a newer version? I don’t have a handy definition of the original switcheroo.)
In case you missed it elsewhere, yesterday Fringe Magazine announced that we’re going to cease publishing in the near future. I know that many of you are dedicated readers, and some of you are even past contributors. Many thanks to all of you, whatever role you played.
And please do continue to visit the magazine, as we plan to go out in style with some of our finest fiction, poetry, [de]classified, and the rest. And editors, current and past, will be posting reflections on the Fringe blog, so don’t miss that.
The website will remain online indefinitely.
Also, a few of our editors are still taking final submissions. Visit our Submit page for details.
(The results are here in case you missed ‘em, but the winning writer has already claimed her prize. So if you didn’t claim a prize from us for the last Micro Fiction Challenge, well, then, you ain’t the winner, Mac.)
It’s been awhile since we last did a Great Beginnings post, and hundreds of you have bombarded me with furious emails demanding I bring it back.
The WriteByNight blog is nothing if not a democracy.
But I’ll entertain your wishes anyway. read more
We’ve been getting a whole lot of “Should I/Shouldn’t I” MFA questions of late. I don’t know how to explain that–it’s not even application season–but nonetheless, yesterday I did a bit of reading on the topic, and found two articles that are not helpful in any way.
This piece on The Awl, “What Writing Programs Ought to Teach You When They Teach You About Writing,” is brilliant, and tons o’ fun. In the first half, Jim Behrle takes a few amusing potshots at creative writing programs, and in the second half he discusses six topics that writing programs should cover instead of covering what they do *^*(*&^ cover.
Among these are: read more
When George Saunders was in Austin in late January I got the chance to sit down with him over brunch and ask him a whole lot of inane questions. I had reviewed his story collection Tenth of December for the Dallas Morning News, and my editor there asked for a follow-up piece in advance of Saunders’ Dallas reading, which happens this Friday. (Sold out.)
A short version of the interview appeared in this morning’s edition of the paper, and online under the title “George Saunders on inspiration and his Texas dance hall days.”
Now for you hardcore Saunders fans, the full transcript of the interview is up on the newspaper’s arts blog (at ~6,000 words). read more
We enjoyed in particular the stories from Keely, Martin Barkley, and Wendi, but as always, we can only choose one winner. And that winner is … new contestant Ashley Stevenson, for the following:
Cat Holic: “I’ll be Pope when I grow up.” Mother laughs, says, “To Catholics, women don’t count.” Cat says, “President, then.” Her mom replies, “Haha.”
Congratulations, Ashley, and thanks for the fun and biting story. Drop us a line to claim your prize, and we’ll see you soon. (And if you’re not an Austinite, write us anyway: we have plenty of prizes for out-of-towners.)
For the rest of you, keep your pencils sharpened for our next Micro Fiction Challenge with new prizes, coming your way soon.
The people have spoken: if I don’t read 80 books in 2013, I have to perform a public reading of Fifty Shades of Grey while dressed in a hot-pink onesie. Y’all are some sadistic bastards.
Starting today at Chamber Four you can read in-depth about my monthly progress in a new column, “Book Rush.”
Below is a Q&A with Andrew Tilin, followed by a brief bio.
Over on our Events page we’ve announced a couple of new writing workshops and seminars, including Setting the Stage and The Easy Way to Write a Nonfiction Book Based on Your Knowledge and Expertise.
Setting the Stage is a two-part seminar and workshop which will teach you how setting can advance plot, enhance characters, and enrich the fictional landscape. The first half, a seminar on April 18, will have you looking at short stories that reveal character, create metaphor, and advance and support a narrative, works of fiction that focus heavily on “place.” In the second meeting, an April 25 workshop, you will give and receive feedback on your and your peers’ new writing, incorporating the lessons you learned the week before. read more
This interview with Austin writer Neal Pollack is a must-read. In it, Pollack goes into depth about his income and sales figures as a writer, as well as his writing roots and self-publishing.
He also says this!
“Austin isn’t the capitol of Texas ‘douchebaggery’ like it is now, but it’s an up-and-coming place.”
Read to page 2 to find out why.
Obviously “catholic” can mean “of or pertaining to the Catholic church,” but did you know it has secular definitions, too? That it can mean “broad or wide-ranging in tastes, interests, or the like; having sympathies with all; broad-minded; liberal,” or “universal in extent; involving all; of interest to all”? For example, “She had catholic tastes, with an appreciation for film, music, arts and literature.”
Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to write a piece of flash fiction using the word catholic, in any of its forms and/or definitions. read more
It’s been quiet here lately on the WriteByNight blog, mostly because the WBN brain trust (“brain trust”) has been at, and then recovering from, AWP in Boston–where we had a table at the book fair … in row Z!
If you attended AWP and are already feeling nostalgic, or didn’t make the trip but are curious about it, you can read my daily conference wrap-ups over at Publishing Perspectives, where I get the chance to just vomit observations and cynicism. read more