Padgett Powell gives a little writing advice
This was just posted to Unsaid literary journal’s Facebook. Reposted here in case you don’t do the Facebook. (If you do do the Facebook, you should click on the link: “like” the post, “friend” the journal, &c.) There’s also an interview with Powell in the new issue of the New York Tyrant.
Keep in mind what writing should do:
1) Be alive.
2) Be surprising.
3) Obey tenets of economy, verve, etc.
4) Amount to something (usually, in terms of having “something at stake”).
5) Payoff (i.e., resolve).
Any three of five is worth spoiling paper for. It should be remembered also that:
6) Brave wild failure is applauded.
7) You should be less comfortable if you’re pretty sure of what you’re writing about.
8) You should ignore, at all times, all sense of authorial narrative obligations, and, certainly, your own preconceptions and ideas.
This is more preaching than could possibly be salubrious. So, some more: Obey only the logic of immediacy, from word to word. Or, obey only its obverse, the illogic of immediacy, or the logic of inimmediacy, as you prefer.
October 10th, 2010 / 3:14 pm
Immerse yourself in the energetic, innovative and potentially illegal world of mash-up media with RiP: A remix manifesto. Let web activist Brett Gaylor and musician Greg Gillis, better known as Girl Talk, serve as your digital tour guides on a probing investigation into how culture builds upon culture in the information age.
–Watch the entire documentary over at Unsaid!
Q & A #4
If you have questions about writing or publishing or whatever, leave them in the comments or e-mail them to roxane at roxanegay dot com and we will find you some answers.
If you withdraw a story, is it appropriate to immediately send another story to that lit. journal? What if you have multiple withdrawals from that publication? (And I’m talking the kind of place where you have to email them to withdraw your piece, not just pull it out yourself and they never even knew it was there.) Are they going to get pissed at some point? When does your good/bad luck become a reason to basically stop submitting to a journal?
Yes, they get pissed eventually. Numerous withdraws? I am already souring your name. What are you doing? If you are continually getting accepted by multiple journals, bless you. But why not stop the simultaneous submissions? You obviously know how to write a great story lit mags want. Cut the shotgun approach at this point.
I don’t submit enough to journals to withdraw, but I have withdrawn book ms from presses. I do ask if they’ll consider another ms in the future, unless I have a spare lying around (which I never do). Usually, they’re nice, but with one press in particular, I’ve pulled two or three ms from them (one just a week or two after I submitted it). That’s just embarrassing. With journals though, I don’t think it’s a big deal.
I don’t think it’s bad to immediately send another story to take the place of a withdrawal. It doesn’t bother me when I read submissions for NOÖ. I just mark the previous story ‘withdrawn’ and the new story goes at the end of the queue. As a writer, I tend not to send an immediate replacement. I don’t often have a story to replace another story, so it takes me a long time to figure out what to send to that editor if I had to withdraw another story that I thought was perfect for him or her.
Multiple withdrawals gets annoying. To go on a tiny tangent, I get irritated when people withdraw stories the same day or the same week. I realize that cannot be helped at times, but it is aggravating. When you find yourself in the position where you’re always withdrawing stories, it’s time to stop simultaneously submitting or at least submitting to no more than two or three markets for each story. To really answer your question, I don’t mind a writer immediately sending another submission immediately after they withdraw a piece but if it happened four or five times in a very short time span, I would start to get testy about it.
February 18th, 2010 / 2:36 am
You can now purchase Unsaid 4 online. It’s seriously a monolith: a 500 pp. issue I go back to and back to like a textbook.