Q&A With WriteByNight Co-founder David Duhr
WriteByNight co-founder David Duhr is Fiction Editor for the Texas Observer and Managing Editor at Fringe Magazine. He contributes regularly to the Dallas Morning News, Publishing Perspectives, the Observer and others.
Where are you from?
Milwaukee. Which, as I learned from Alice Cooper in Wayne’s World, is Algonquin for “The good land.” It also means “I wish there were a tiny bit more culture here, and hey, how about some sunshine, and maybe the Brewers could win a World Series once in my lifetime, actually forget it, I’m outta here” in Potawatomi.
Where did you study?
If we’re talking about accredited colleges/universities, that would be the University of Denver, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Emerson College in Boston. But I learned very little about writing inside any of those classrooms.
How did you get your start as a writer?
I wrote about 1,000 baseball stories as a youngster. They were very straightforward, as if I were writing the play-by-play for Bob Uecker. I’d be like, “And now Yount steps up to the plate. He takes a practice cut or two, then takes his stance. The pitch. It’s a ball! Ball one to Yount. The next pitch. A strike. The count is now one-and-one.” And so on, until usually the Brewers won on a grand slam in the bottom of the 9th. Hit by whom, you might wonder? Perhaps a fresh-faced rookie sensation named David Duhr? Um, nope. I was not part of these narratives. It was usually just a real Brewer. Robin Yount, Cecil Cooper, Paul Molitor. Sometimes a dark horse like Ernie Riles. Duhr stayed off the page. I was a realist before I even knew what the word meant.
If you’re talking professionally, my first writing paycheck came from either Gulf Coast or the Iowa Review. Which came after being paid in contributor copies for magazines like Pleiades. Which came after writing free book reviews for some online venues, just for poops & giggles.
What is your favorite thing about educating writers at WBN?
I love it when a new writer discovers something on his/her own after we’ve worked on a particular issue for a while. I enjoy seeing that triumphant smile. I also enjoy when a more seasoned writer and I get done talking about the nuts & bolts, and can just sit back and talk about the act itself.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
The act itself.
What is your favorite word, and why?
What’s the last movie you saw that was based on a book and how was it?
The 2011 remake of Jane Eyre. It was like watching a loved one die
Any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?
1) Help each other out. So many writers seem to view this profession as a grudge match to the death, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I got my start because of friends who passed my name along to other friends. “I know you’re looking for new writers; here’s a new writer.” Return the favor.
2) And also, duck!