Advice to Emerging Writers

August 6, 2013 9:00 am | Tags: , | No Comments

Yesterday on The Missouri Review blog, I wrote an essay called “10 Things Emerging Writers Should Learn.” These types of lists, usually dressed up as general advice, are ubiquitous and easy to find online, but I hope that this is found to be a little playful, a bit fun, while also making some good, simple points about what an emerging writer should do, both as a writer and as a literary citizen. It may be a small distinct, but my first inclination was not to use the word Learn but the word Know.

Learn is better. Too often, we assume that simply because we know something, and that knowledge is so ingrained in how we behave on a daily basis, everyone else should know it, too. It’s far too easy to forget that there was a time when we didn’t know anything. We knew less than nothing. If we even knew we knew nothing, that would be something. But we didn’t. So! Learn, however, is a word that suggest process and progress, that all of these things take time, and that we are, always, striving to discover more about the fine art of storytelling. No one has ever mastered it. No one ever sits in front of the page and fails to struggle.

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Books By the Banks

October 23, 2012 1:13 pm | Tags: , , , , | No Comments

Last weekend, I was back in Cincinnati, my hometown, for two events. The first was a reading/hangout with old friends (I mean, people that go back to my elementary school days) and graduate students at the University of Cincinnati. The event was in the Sword Room of the MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine; I ended up skipping the reading part to chat up my friends, sign books, drink pints, and watch baseball. I’m pretty okay with that turn of events! ┬áThe second was on Saturday, at the wonderful Books By the Banks festival, held in downtown Cincinnati.

Which gave me an opportunity for a little writer-envy.


Avoiding the Slush Pile

September 19, 2012 3:29 pm | Tags: , , | No Comments

My post on avoiding the slush pile is up now at The Missouri Review‘s blog. I wrote it after reading a terrific blog post by Joe Hiland, the fiction editor of Indiana Review, about reading story types and how unlikely they are to make it past the slush pile at literary magazines.

One story type I particularly enjoy despite its badness is My Crazy Summer Abroad. This story type is about an undergraduate who goes to a foriegn country for the summer and, usually, broods on his own sadness or loneliness or otherness; or he falls madly in love with the beautiful, sexy, crazy girl either in his program or in the foreign land. These stories have painstaking details of walking through public gardens and museums, back streets and alleys, the unusual architecture, and despite the protagonist’s brooding, there is a certain amount of joy in these descriptions. Usually, these stories are far too commonplace to even consider for publication, but I do enjoy reading them. There is, if nothing else, energy, and I always gravitate toward energy in fiction.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @mpnye